Motivation & Inspiration Club #5 With Lieven | Why bother with barres?

Hi guys,

This is going to be a fun one!
Barre? fun?

Yes, I’m going to convince you why learning barre chords is absolutely worth it
It’s a high investment very high return endeavour :wink:

  • I’ll let you in on some tricks that only barre grips can unlock.
  • The other way around, barre chord shapes inspire me for lead lines and help me navigate the fretboard.
  • Link with power chords
  • One shape → access to many chord flavours
  • I’ll show you some practicing tips that might help to optimize your grips

Barre chords are a crucial part of my style and I couldn’t imagine playing without.

Sunday Feb. 4th 2024
Enroll on the Clubs page:

** Unanswered Q&A questions from the session will be answered by Monday Feb 5th 23:00 CET


That sounds super interesting, Lieven. I’m already looking forward to this session :smiley:.

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Very much looking forward to this one as I’m determined to finally master barre chords this year!!

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Linking them with power chords you say??? Well now that is something I should have thought of, but didn’t!!! Lol.

Boy am I glad I have been practicing the barre since Justin suggested I should. Before I always thought I’ll get to it. Not realizing just how much time it takes to get down.

Sounds fun! I’ll be there!

Rock on!

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Yep, barre chords are definitely worth the effort and high reward

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I had another commitment for Sunday that just got cancelled due to an expected storm, so I’m excited to be able to make this session!

Great lesson, thanks very much

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Excellent and very helpful lesson :grinning: :+1:

I guess I know all chords now - at least I can work out their positions on the fretboard.

I’m very motivated to practice barre chords a lot more now.
Maybe I’ll finally end up liking them one day :wink:

:musical_note: … “Hello F-chord, my new friend” :grin:

Thanks a lot, Lieven & Richard!

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I’m sure you will; my relation with them sure is very warm and I can’t go without!

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Thought provoking session Lieven.

Only ever played Hotel C with the Bm and F# barre chords and never fingerstyle. So I had a noodle while you were chatting and played just an open D and Em (fingers 3 n 4) and the rest in barres while plucking away. Opened up a world on possibilities ! Thank you. :sunglasses:

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Thanks everybody for joining, hopefully I could inspire some new ideas to work barre chords into your playing. Perhaps I gave you a some extra good reasons to bravely push on in your practice :wink:

**** The slides for the session and the answers to the remaining Q&A questions will be provided by Monday Feb 5th 23:00 CET**


Excellent, exactly what I meant in “use them in songs you already know by replacing them”.

It is good practice and you don’t need to focus too much on the song itself as you’re already familiar with its strucure. Fingerpicking them is great to check your accuracy and applied force on each string.


Great lesson, thanks! Really enjoying these clubs - definitely helps with the motivation.

My question in the Q&A lesson was actually not about playing E-shape barres on the 6th string using the thumb, a la Jimi Hendrix, but in fact about using the possibility of using the thumb to play the root note on the A string, for A-shape barres, with the third finger doing the rest, like normal.

I am convinced I have seen this in live videos of “That Look You Give That Guy” by Eels, where the intro (and whole song, pretty much) is a progression of [capo 5] C, C/B, Bb, A, Dm, Dm/C, G.

Switching to a first finger/third finger A-shape barre for the B flat feels awkward, so I had a look at him playing live, and thought he played it with the thumb over all the way on the A string to hit the B flat root note, so that’s how I learned how to play it! Now I’m not so sure he hits it at all when playing solo like in the link below - and on the record, I think perhaps it’s the bass guitar that picks up the bass notes of the chord progression.

My own journey with barre chords is still very much in progress. I find that to play the E-shape minors, my index finger has to move up a couple of mm to get the minor note. I also like Justin’s tip of using the free’d up second finger to add extra pressure on the first finger.

In a classic case of trying to run before I can walk, I learned of the existence of the C-shape barre from the lesson on “Under the Bridge” but I wouldn’t say it’s a shape I’m confident to use!

@EdHales He seems to be using his thumb over to mute the E and A strings only. He is not fretting any root notes on the 5th string with thumb.
That would be very uncommon.

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Unanswered questions from the live session Q&A.

My issue is when I’m going from a barre to a riff them back to a barre … any suggestions?

I can’t figure out how to barre with my first finger. What angle should the finger be at and where should I actually be touching the strings?

What are the best fingers to use for A Barre please? I always struggle.

Could you put a sheet with all the maj, min, 7th, m7, sus variations in the download section?

Hi Lieven, I never had any issues with motivation so far :blush:, thanks god, but could need the encouragement to work a LOT more on barre chords than I’m currently doing. Together with Richard’s triad session it opens up a lot of the “secrets” or better knowledge of the fretboard and your session yesterday gave me the kick to work more on the implementation of those shapes into my song repertoire. Apart from Justin’s lesson of moving the F up and down the neck, E shape barres are only covered in the last module of Grade 3 (or did I miss something?), but everyone seems to start much earlier, even with the A shapes, which are part of the intermediate lessons. Not sure, when to start, but I reckon, the earlier, the better :thinking: :slightly_smiling_face:?
Thanks again for the session yesterday, you guys are really inspiring and motivating :green_heart:!

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Definately missed grade 2 mod 9. Not sure how…

This is where I first put F into the practice schedule, some glad I did. Took months before I could even put it into a song!!!

Now a year later I am just starting A shapes. But not too concerned as there is lots left to consolidate yet and I don’t want to put too much on the burners!!

Rock on!


I think the problem is that people shy away from F until they absolutely can’t avoid it and then get frustrated because most people won’t be able to play it in just a few days of practice. My advice to anyone would be to practice it before you need it, maybe just a minute each day. Don’t bother with the hacks and shortcuts, just learn it properly from the outset. It’s taken me months to get to the point of having a passable F, I still have more practice to get it fast and accurate but I’m glad that I took it on rather than avoiding it.


This was my mindset as well, and like you, it was the same for me. Actually sounds like we are in about the same boat!!! :+1:. But such a great feeling when it falls into place!

Do not avoid it, is definately in our best interest, in my opinion.

Rock on!

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@LievenDV Thanks for the barres webinar, which was useful but made me realise that there is so much I don’t know. At this point in time (Grade 2, moving to Grade 3) I’m (just about) OK with E shaped barres and have l looked at the A shape, but only for a specific song. I certainly haven’t looked at C, D or G shaped barres!

The main issue for me is changed between open and barre chords and also between E and A shaped barres. Still lots of work to do on this.

The other issue is remembering where to put your fingers for a certain barre, whether it’s E or A shaped and what fingers to put down/lift off.