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So as a test, see if you can get a clear sounding barre without your thumb. I hope the above technique tips made barre chords easier and more comfortable to play. The next step is simple: practice. It simply takes some time to make your hand do this. The trick is regular practice so your hand and fingers get used to playing barre chords and build a little strength and calluses.
Now, while keeping your ring, middle and pinky fingers in place, slap the low E string with your index finger four times and play the chord again pick the strings one by one. Next, slap the higher strings E, B and G with your index finger. Play the chord once more, again picking the strings one by one. Next, slide down your chord one fret and repeat the process until you get to the first fret or your fingers get sore.
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For many people, this helps their barre chords to sound cleaner! Most of this article is all focused on your index finger: getting that barre right. But of course your other fingers matter too! It might take some practice to get them in the right position and to get the shapes in your muscle memory. Next, play the chord once to see if it sounds right. If so, press the chord into the fretboard as hard as you can for 20 seconds.
After the 20 seconds, let go and give your hand a rest.
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After that, repeat the process once or twice. That makes it more effective than playing the chord, letting it go, playing the chord, letting it go etc. If you like, you can repeat this process with the open A minor chord! I hate it when you practice something without any noticeable results Barre all the six strings with your index finger at the fifth fret. Check the strings one by one to see how many sound clean and which are muted.
Now move up a fret and check your score again. Repeat this process until you get to the 10th fret. Then start at the 5th fret again, but now move down a fret. With practice, you should notice your score improving and 4, 5, and eventually 6 of the strings to sound clean! The technique tips and exercises above should help you in your quest to learn barre chords or to get them to sound better! It takes some practice, but once you've mastered them, the pay-off is huge:.
So how exactly does this work? The short answer is you need to learn the most important barre chord shapes as well as how to move these shapes across the fretboard to play chords it any key. In this section I'll show you the 11 most important shapes and how to best remember them. But first, let's take a quick look at how moving around these barre chord shapes works. Feel free to skip it if you already know.
To understand barre chord shapes, we need to start by taking a look at an open chord. Take this E open chord:. Notice any similarities? If you look closely, the shape is exactly the same. So, a barre chord is nothing but an open chord moved to other parts of the guitar neck. So how do you know whether a chord is a G, a B or C? You can find the answer by looking at the lowest note in the chord. In the case of our open E chord, the lowest note is the open E string. When you move this open E chord shape to other parts of the neck, you can still find the root of the chord on the low E string, but now you're fretting it with your index finger.
Here's our G barre chord again, where the red dot indicates the root note:. The same logic applies to an A major barre chord. We play the lowest note the root note on the open A string:. A simple way to remember the barre chord shapes with the root on the low E string is to start with a major barre chord and remove one or two fingers. So let's start with our major barre chord shape:.
This major shape can be played in two different ways. The first option is to use your middle, ring and pinky:. However, some people find it a little awkward to fit all their fingers in the same fret. So instead, you can try placing a second barre with your ring finger:. Even without that note, your chord is still complete. Geeky music theory warning: It even sounds a little better to me, because the third of the chord is now the top note, instead of the fifth.
The power of learning these shapes and knowing how to use them is pretty awesome. This is an incredibly useful skill for when you want to play a song a band mate brings to rehearsal or look up the chords online to a song and quickly want to check it out.
What I noticed with my in-person students though, is that the information you need to do this doesn't easily stick. Other times, it just took too long to remember to be really useful. It worked well and so I turned it into an online course: Guitar Chord Bootcamp.
You might have seen guitarists with their thumb hanging across the fretboard. Most famously: Jimi Hendrix. Notice how his thumb is slung across the fretboard. This has two major advantages:. Instead of barring your index finger across all six strings, you wrap your thumb around the guitar neck and play play the note on the low E string with your thumb. You can then use your other four fingers to fret the rest of the chords.
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To see and hear these chords in action, check out this video of the chorus of The Wind Cries Mary. The chords played are G and Bb.
Also note the little embellishment the pinky plays. I hope this article has helped you in your quest to master barre chords. It will take some time to get them right, but the pay-off is huge! As we've seen, barre chords allow you to play the most important chord types in any key just by moving around a couple of shapes. If you want to learn exactly how, you might want to check out my course Guitar Chord Bootcamp.
The course will take you through a step-by-step plan to learn how to read and play chords. This is a really cool skill to have because you'll be able to learn new songs much faster, whether it's a song a friend brings to rehearsal or an awesome new song you've just discovered online. You can take the first couple of lessons for free, which will show you the basics of playing chords in any key! You can check it out by enrolling here:.
If you run into any problems playing barre chords and can't find the solution in this article, let me know! Just leave a comment or send me a note at just at stringkick. I want to make this guide as complete as possible, so I'd love to hear from you! Hi Olivio, definitely! Take a close look at the 'two tips' section, where I explain in which order to learn barre chords.
Also, be sure to check out technique tip 8 about using arm strength.
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For classical guitar, this will make things much easier. Great article on barre chords! I think this will help me. I was nearly there with techniques, but just need to improve to be able to use them to play.