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So I’ve been really busy with exams coming up but I wrote this article for EzineArticles a couple days ago and I think its a VERY good quick guide to barre chords so I’m sharing it here before they publish it!
Barre chords are probably the hardest part of learning to play the guitar and, often, require months of frustrating practice to get right. Though irritating to learn, a great sense of accomplishment comes from the mastery of this particularly challenging roadblock on the way to becoming a virtuoso guitarist. Most popular songs make heavy use of barre chords making it well worth the time to learn to use them properly – and there are quite a few helpful tips below that can make this just a little bit easier.
The most common annoyance, faced by beginners, is that irrepressible “buzzing” that resounds whenever they try to play barre chords for the first time – and quite some time after – depending on a number of factors. This is, almost invariably, caused by poor fretting – more specifically – inadequate pressure on one or more of the strings. Often, the “high E” string is the culprit here but – regardless of the problem string – a few factors come into play.
Firstly, the fingers in your left hand might not have developed the requisite strength to properly fret barre chords. A great deal of pressure must be exerted by the barring finger – usually the index finger – often across 5 or 6 strings. This is no mean feat for a beginner who has yet to develop the muscles of his/her fretting hand. This strength will come over time (with persistent practice) but some ways to make this practice a bit easier – and less painful on your ears and those of people who have to hear you – are as follows.
(1) Thumb Position – As you fret barre chords, try to position your thumb directly along the back of the neck – pointing towards the nut. Your thumb should be in the middle of the neck (just behind the D and G strings). This will give you maximum leverage with which to apply pressure with your index finger – while making your fretting hand more stable – allowing your other fingers to fall into place better.
(2) Index Finger Position – Try rolling your index finger a little onto its side (towards the nut) when fretting a barre chord. This will let you apply pressure with the bony surface on the side of your index finger rather than the fleshier surface of the palm side you might instinctively use. A firm surface allows for more even distribution of pressure – key in eliminating annoying buzzing.
(3) Lastly, a quick way to pick up errors in your barre chord fingering is to pick each of the strings (while continuing to hold the barre) and see if they all ring out clearly. If any strings do not ring as they should (i.e. buzz, etc.), check your fingering and make changes until you get all the strings to ring out properly. Once you achieve this, try to make a note of how it feels and practice it as much as possible until it becomes set into your muscle memory.
With persistence, and daily practice, barre chords will eventually become easy and a great sense of accomplishment will follow! Soon, your fingers (particularly the index) will develop greater finger strength – as well as callouses – making fretting barre chords a lot easier and painless.
And that’s it…I hope you guys like it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog via email/feed using the options in the sidebar so you’ll get my latest tips!