I Hate Barre Chords!

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LVR
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby LVR » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:55 am

Brian, it's possible that you also have some nerve compromise, but if it is really impossible to get even an easy barre down, there's got to be something wrong with the guitar itself. Do you have access to another (known to be good) instrument even for a few minutes? You may be blaming yourself for something that's not caused by your weakness.
(p.s. - Good research and b.s. call on the Fleming/Churchill story.)
The basic thing about playing the guitar is the pleasure you get from it. There's nothing wrong with pleasure is there?
Julian Bream

brianvds

Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby brianvds » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:37 am

LVR wrote:Brian, it's possible that you also have some nerve compromise, but if it is really impossible to get even an easy barre down, there's got to be something wrong with the guitar itself. Do you have access to another (known to be good) instrument even for a few minutes? You may be blaming yourself for something that's not caused by your weakness.


I'll have to look into this. I do know someone with a fairly good instrument: when I visit them again I'll try it out and see.

(p.s. - Good research and b.s. call on the Fleming/Churchill story.)


Actually hardly required any research at all. It is one of those stories that make my internal myth alarm bells go off in a big way, and for them my first stop is always snopes.com. ;-)

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rojarosguitar
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby rojarosguitar » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:56 am

I always have hard time with barré chords on my straight fingerboard guitar. On the guitar which has a curved fingerboard ... no problem.

But I'm sure there are a lot of technical advices one could applay on a stright FB, too.

best wishes
Robert
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

brianvds

Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby brianvds » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:51 am

Update: I have now tried out one other guitar and get the same problem that I mentioned before: my index finger isn't strong enough to even form a barre chord, let alone holding it down. It was, however, a cheap guitar and the action looked quite high to me, so I am not sure my inability to do barre chords on it necessarily means anything. Will have to go try out a few more...

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Sobers
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby Sobers » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:09 pm

Friend, Just play the exercises I mentioned ........ the problem will be gone in 5 days.

brianvds

Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby brianvds » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:39 pm

Rather weirdly, when I tried the same guitar a day later, I suddenly found it much easier to play at least some barre chords. Seems like my disabilities come and go... ;-)

Patrick delBosque

Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby Patrick delBosque » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:45 pm

Somewhere in this thread there was an oblique reference to not forgetting your LH elbow.
That is something I've learned about my own physiology and barre chords. It doesn't help as much for lower position barres, but for the VII barres in Romance or Leyenda, it helps to lift your LH elbow towards the headstock. That automatically helps to rotate the side of your 1st finger (where there are no pesky creases) against the fret and applies a little bit more of the force of gravity to holding the string against the fret. You can also try tilting your finger more diagonally across the strings. For example if it's the 2nd string that is "plunking" tilt your finger so that that string is pressed closer to, or directly above the fret and the 6th string (which hardly ever "plunks") is amply covered by the tip of the finger. My tendency in the beginning was to clench my elbow towards my side, and squeeze with all the force of my LH thumb---didn't work more than a few times before I would get a cramp in my hand.
It also added to the overall tension in my arm, because my bicep and forearm muscles were also being brought into play in that position.
Patrick

djdoucement

Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby djdoucement » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:42 pm

All my life I have struggled with barre chords, and it's often made me quite sad about playing a piece of music I love, especially in something like Romance--the awful buzzing sound, for one, and the ridiculous pressure I have to exert to get even a not-bad sound. I wonder if there's some kind of prosthetic one could apply to the side of the index finger?

glassynails
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby glassynails » Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:20 pm

I have absolutely no problems with barre chords, they're easy in my opinion. The only time I ever had trouble was a barre F chord on a cheap steel string guitar for my first and only guitar lesson I ever had at a local guitar store. I remember back then I was sort of a lazy kid and hadn't practiced the chord in a short fingerstyle piece that the teacher had given me the prior week.

He sort of chastised me for not being able to "play even a simple barre F chord" and that he "really didn't enjoy teaching me cause I didn't put any effort into anything" and also basically told me that I sucked at guitar in other words, but that's beside the point. Well, it was because I was a beginner (yes a little lazy in those days) and also because my guitar was a piece of ****. Last lesson I ever had.

To this day, especially on a classical guitar, I haven't had any issues with barre chords. Like I said though, I did struggle with them in my formative first year or maybe more, but today 20+ years later, I don't even think of them anymore. The reason I struggled was mostly due to an inadequate guitar. I noticed right off how easy barre chords were when I bought my first $300 (at that time) solid spruce Yamaha guitar. Man what a nice guitar that was, I wished they had had it in a classical guitar!
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sbrodhead
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby sbrodhead » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:46 am

You may have a poorly setup fretboard on your guitar. I struggled with barring for years on a guitar that had a dead flat fretboard with shallow frets.

In the 70's it was thought that shallow frets made you play scales faster. Brands like Ramirez and the Japanese Ramirez clone, Hernandis,did this.

But instead, the shallow frets makes it very very hard to play bar cords cleanly.

I have noticed that the less expensive Cordoba guitars are hard to play for the same reason. (I think it is done on purpose so you will buy their better models.)

This post discusses the problem of shallow frets: viewtopic.php?t=44631

Salvador
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby Salvador » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:14 pm

I know this is an old thread but i like to comment. I also don't have problems with bar chords since i was a beginner. Even playing Cavatina i have no issues. Yes in the beginning it's difficult but the more i practice it, it becomes smooth and i can adjust eventually. Sometimes the guitar is the problem.

laukejas
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby laukejas » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:51 pm

Hi. I am not sure if this was mentioned before (searched but didn't find), but for me, utilizing the weight of the hand is the key. Only works in correct classical posture, of course. I train Barre without thumb. Arm weight only. If I can't do it without thumb, then I'm doing it incorrectly. I train for the hardest Barre's that way. Even extreme cases, such as: F on 6th string with index finger, and Barre with pinky (!) on the 5th fret on 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings. I train until I can do it without thumb, and then use it only slightly, for stabilization (so that the fingers doesn't slide down). Very easy once you get it right. Watch out for the straightness of the wrist, though. Must be as straight as you can make it without compromising posture.

TL/DR: don't use thumb for pressure. Weight is all you need.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby rojarosguitar » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:25 pm

I always did and still do hate them, too. But with time I grew more familiar with them and also technically ore able to play them, and at least the don't present the horror for me they did long time ago. I also think, full barrés are rarely musically satisfying, but there is plenty of partial barrés to be played in any good music.
Just tell yourself never mind and do them whatever you feel about them.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Kevin L Benbow
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby Kevin L Benbow » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:01 pm

Barre chords make or break you. First, when you feel strain in your first finger, take a break and play an easier piece then return to the barre. Second, if you are squeezing between first finger and thumb you will probably injure yourself at some point. Instead, think of your left elbow as a counter weight and allow it to pull your finger across the strings using gravity. It should feel as though the arm is hanging from the neck. There should be very little pressure on the thumb.
Note: This mind not for rent

gardnep
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Re: I Hate Barre Chords!

Postby gardnep » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:21 am

Barre chords are difficult to master. Using weight of the arm helps as per pumping nylon. I am only starting and have had a go at a few pieces that need the bar. Forget cradling the neck between thumb and forefinger, a bad habit I learnt from the 70's. I find moving the left thumb to the side and squeezing the side of the fret board is helpful. I think most people forget that all hands are different. One size does not fit all. Our fingers vary in length and bend in vastly different directions. I have short fingers and my teacher looks like he got his from a giant squid. He gave me some easy chords for Etude in em and Romanza but I looked at your scores and found the bars. So I'm trying to learn them so I don't have to unlearn bad habits but speed of change drops to zilch each time. I don't think I've got 20 years left to learn them. Ps don't believe everything you read on the net. Phil.


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