bar chords

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by ats, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. ats

    ats Oldie

    I have a problem in playing bar chords ..... after playing 3 or 4 bar chords in succesion .... my left thumb begins to ache terribly ...... i cannot understand is this because of the strings being too tight or something wrong with my finger........ i can play basic chords easily ... but i can't play an entire song if that song has bar chords
    ........... will somebody plzz help me :confused:

  2. prash_rocks

    prash_rocks Over the Hills & Far Away

    Well, that's a phase everyone MUST go through... It's to make your fingers stronger which are by nature much weaker for the amount of pressure needed to play the barres. Also, the left fingers are the lesser used ones for a usual right-handed person and that only worsens the situation.

    You might even somehow be able to play the 6th string root chords (F, Fm etc) more easily than the 5th string root ones (Bb, Bm etc)... that too is normal cuz the latter does indeed involve a lot more strength.

    The only way is to push through this stage - this is what makes the difference between those who stop at the simple chords (which are really very few) thus limiting their further progress with the instrument, and those who are on their way to become genuine guitar players. The moment you'll begin to want to play some of your more favourite songs which are also musically complex, you'll run into these chords that can never be done unless your fingers have been strengthened.

    It helps to have a low action on your guitar while learning these (although I learned on the world's most horribly set guitar). And it helps to persist through the pain. I know no other way.

    I think it also helps to listen to what the musician-philosopher Jamie Andreas of has to say about barre chords:

    Here are a lot more informative essays, most of which were referred to in the above ones:
  3. scot_hacker

    scot_hacker New Member

    Just make sure you're not supporting the thumb entirely on its joint or on the tip. Make use of the complete part of the thumb from the joint to the tip to grip the base of the fretboard. Use the thumb to help the index finger to press down on the strings to barre them.

    I'm sure you're already doing all that. The problem is, it pains. Okay, go to a doctor ;)

    It'll be alright with time.
  4. sagepack

    sagepack New Member

    I had problems with barre cords also. I also have some advice.

    - Dont use your thumb to hold your index finger. Instead, use it as support pressed against the neck so your index finger can get stiffer.
    - Try different positions with your index finger. Often, players put their finger to high up, so try lowering it so it just touches but still manages to press the 6th string. Also, when your learning, try using the different sides of your index finger instead of "face-on"
    - Dont get discouraged. Practice near the body of the guitar at first and work your way to the end, as at the latter, strings are often harder to press down.
  5. scot_hacker

    scot_hacker New Member

    Hmm that's what I meant. Don't bring the thumb above the fretboard but support it entirely below the fretboard to enable the index finger to comfortably stay over the strings. Keep the whole thumb below the fretboard as far as possible and don't curl it around the fretboard and play as if you're holding on to your life ;)

    Comfortable playing, wonderful playing...


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