So I’m having an issue playing a particular barre chord and I’m hoping to get some feedback/ideas on what I can do to get this chord down better.
The chord is the Bb7. For some context, I have been learning I Want You/She’s so Heavy by the Beatles. The intro includes a series of arpeggiated chords, including Bb7. Because of the way this intro is played, the switch to the Bb7 is very fast and all the notes need to ring out cleanly, since you are playing them all individually.
The issue I am having is I frequently end up muting the G string while playing this chord and I’m not sure why. If I just play the chord separately from the song and really mess with it, I can get the full chord to ring out, but I really have to put a lot of pressure on my barre finger in order to do it and it is uncomfortable. I have tried messing around with the positioning of my third and 4th fingers and that doesn’t seem to help. I play a lot of songs with barre chords in general with both E and A shapes and I’m pretty used to them, so this one is a puzzle to me. I don’t believe it is an action issue with my guitar. I have three and the one I am using has the lowest action of the bunch and it is typically pretty easy to play barre chords on it, including F. Maybe I need to mess a bit more with my thumb positioning?
Chord diagram here for reference:
If it would be helpful, maybe I can post me playing it so you can see what I mean. Thank you in advance to anyone who has any ideas! I know I’ll get it if I keep working on it, but it’s definitely been frustrating not being able to play it consistently. It’s the only chord in that intro that has been giving me trouble.
My first guess is that the G string is falling under the joint of your first finger, thus getting less pressure and not fretting properly. This is a common problem with barre chords in general, but maybe you were lucky enough to avoid it when learning them.
Pressing harder is usually NOT the answer for problems like this…refining your technique usually works much better.
Have you experimented with moving your 1st finger around so the G string rings? This could mean varying where you lay it across the neck, laying it more on it’s side, or curving or straightening it…or some combination of all three.
Also, the chord is in the first fret, and if the nut is cut high, this could also lead to problems. Capoing the first fret, and playing the chord in the second fret would be a good test for this.
Thank you so much! I’m guessing that you are right about it falling under the joint of my first finger and not getting enough pressure.
I am going to experiment with the positioning of the barre and see how I can get it to ring out. You are right that I shouldn’t have to put that kind of pressure on it. I definitely don’t want to injure myself.
It’s just so strange that it has never been an issue before. I think it probably has to do with how the pressure adjusts when doing this particular shape with my third and 4th finger.
Thanks again for your help! I’ll give your suggestions a try.
I posted above without actually trying that chord. Had never tried it before, but when I did, I ran into the same problem you did…the G string was muted.
I could actually feel the G string vibrating under my first finger…under the 1st distal joint (closest to the tip).
By slightly increasing the pressure from the first joint only, I was able to make that string ring. It felt like I was straightening the finger a bit at the tip, so I could apply more force to that string only.
I would have to practice that chord for a few days before I could use it in a song, but it would come with time.
Have you tried rolling your index finger over so your using more of the side of the finger?
Try practicing a few frets up the neck, farther away from the nut until you can get each note to ring out when picking out the notes.
Thank you for trying it! Yeah, it’s a weird one for sure. I’ll see if I can mimic what you did to see if it helps me. My Dad, who has been playing guitar for most of his life had some trouble with this chord too.
Thank you for the suggestion! I have been messing a bit with the positioning of the barre finger, but I think I will probably just have to keep at it until I find a way to get it consistently ringing out. I know I’ll get it at some point, I’m very persistent
Thefe are some anchor finger opportunities you can use in the intro.
Start with Dm using 4th finger.
4th finger is an anchor until the final chord after Bb7.
For the next chord keep everything in place and just place your 3rd on fret 3 of the D string.
Then, remove 3rd finger, lift 2nd finger to fret 2 of the D string and extend 1st finger flat across three top strings.
Do the little bass walk down frets 3, 2 1 of the A string. As you play the first two of these, you use that time to extend your 1st finger barre to reach across five strings ready for the Bb7 chord. The root of that chord is the last of the three notes walking down the A string and simultaneously the start of the next chord. Your 4th finger is an anchor and hasn’t moved so is ready for the Bb7. You have your 1st finger barre also. You just need to get the 2nd finger down on fret 2 of the D string.
@Richard_close2u Thank you so much! I have been using 4th finger as an anchor for the first three chords, but once I do the bass walk down I think I kind of lose my fingering. By doing it the way you suggested, I think it will help me a lot!
I always end up needing to have a short pause before doing the Bb7 and it has been a little frustrating because up until that point, I can play the other chords at the correct speed. Having to rearrange my fingers for the Bb7 always seems to trip me up. I’m working on it though, and I know I’ll get it with time and practice. I think that by minimizing the finger movement to get into position the way you suggest will help a lot with that. Thanks again!!
Damn that’s a great song!! Can’t wait to hear you play this, Jennifer!!!
Yeah that’s a tough barre right up next to the nut, brutal on your index finger!
I can’t really offer advice on technique other than when I struggle with playing a section of a song, I tend to watch a lot of others playing covers to see how they do it. Often I see folks have come up with ingenious hacks for difficult parts or I can analyse their technique to figure out where I am going wrong. You’re probably already doing this, but just in case
Good luck with getting this sorted. Please, please post AVOYP once altogether!!
Thanks for the suggestion Jeff! I’ve been trying to watch what few lessons on the song I can find on YouTube. Not a ton of people teach it, which is a shame because it’s an amazing song! I think maybe trying to find some people playing it live would be good.
@Richard_close2u I don’t mean to revive this thread from the dead, but I just wanted to say a big thank you to you for the advice you game me here. Using the anchor fingers method you mentioned for some reason made everything click and I am now finally able to play through the intro!
I had been struggling with this one for a while and although I had not given up, it was definitely frustrating me. Once I started playing it through with the anchor finger, I was able to play all the chords cleanly! It felt really good to have a breakthrough with this after struggling with it for a while. Thank you so much again for your help!!