Playing barre chords before actually learning them

Hi there!

This summer I started working on covers together with a singer. It’s been great, but I face the following issue: a lot of the songs that I wish to play include barre chords (especially Bm).

I pretty much understand how these barre chord grips work and I already play the F chord relatively confidently.
I wonder, however, whether it is ok to start practicing other barre chords without having attended a lesson referring to them and explaining them in detail.
Is it possible to develop a wrong technique / do more harm than good and therefore it’s better to wait more before I play them or should I give it a go and cover the songs I love?


You know what, I don’t know if there’s any downsides, so why not? That’s what I did.

F is just an E shaped barre chord, and Bm is an Am shaped one, just remember to mute your 6th string like a power chord.

I tend to follow the “give it a go, if it’s wrong re-learn it later” philosophy personally. Others might feel differently. So do what you want :smiley:.

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Hi Helen,
Otherwise you will look for a lesson in which the F chord is explained with the right technique You already do it so much time to learn it perfectly it will not cost you, check the barree minor with the Roots on the 5th string and you are good to continue playing with what you already do…i taught myself that when i played with friends 32(oops) years ago,and i still have to be careful not to let my index finger stick out too much over the neck up,…and some other things that I did briefly, but so wrong that I haven’t unlearned them completely after more than 2 years…

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Hi Jk,

Noooooo :speak_no_evil: :see_no_evil:
I was typing when you answered, but learned the wrong way, and certainly the barree I know from experience can really give you a lot of head (finger) worries … we are not going to throw the whole " practice perfect" overboard… :joy: :wink:

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I knew someone would disagree :rofl:.

But Jk,… this is completely opposite of one of the 2 mantras of Justinuitar … there are even t-shirts and cups from … I hear it and read it literally daily …“practice perfectly”… …and certainly something like the barree which is/will be a super big thing for every guitarist…

10 counting penalty and a song you have to sing in front of the group… :blush:

As @roger_holland says practice perfectly… if you need to learn the Am barre chord shape in advance of it in the course then look up the lesson for the Am barre chord shape and learn it correctly in advance.


Thank you all for your advice, despite it being contradictory😂

I normally like to stick to the order of the lessons, but this time is maybe best to skip and visit a barre chord lesson to make sure I practice not only what I love but also perfectly.

Anyone know which lesson will help me?

Objection, your Honour!
Jumping ahead and exploring not only ok, it should be encouraged :smiley:
I had just started learning barre chords when I had a lesson with Justin and asked him whether my finger sticking over the top was a problem and he said not to worry about it. He only was interested whether all the strings that were supposed to, were ringing out clearly and ones which weren’t were muted. (Mind you I think I’ve also heard him say on a video that it shouldn’t stick out, but we all contradict ourselves at different times :rofl:)
Count yourself fortunate that you’re not one of the army struggling with this problem :wink:


Thanks a lot!

Hi Brian,
I don’t quite understand you … I also mean that she just needs to look it up, so skip/exploring some steps and go to the barree …(but definitely do this in a good way so check out those lessons Helen)… and regarding Justin’s advice to you, he must have given up hope, you’re old aren’t you… :joy:… and how my finger stuck out I can’t even do that anymore that was so bad and caused my wrist to be at a totally wrong angle with large (really large) problems…
But maybe I’m missing something from your comment now and I should have read better :blush:

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The finger sticking over the top with an E barre chord is OK, not really with an A/Am one. Although some songs have it.

Just want to clarify though. I’m not an advocate for learning things wrong. I’m an advocating for learning, giving it a go and being OK with mistakes.

I think there’s a lot of “varied opinions” on what practice perfectly means. Justin goes into what it does or doesn’t mean in this lesson: Neuroplasticity to Learn Guitar Faster | There was a big discussion about that one but I’m not sure everyone watched the video.

Et tu, Brute? :roll_eyes:
Too many people don’t appreciate the value of exploring and discovering things by themselves, and are afraid of learning the ‘wrong way’. I’m just saying: jump ahead. Experiment.
By all means, it’s worth going through the course methodically (or so I’m told :laughing:), as you will pick up things you didn’t know and more useful techniques.
My F barre technique is pretty woeful, with my index curved like a ‘C’ :roll_eyes:
When it becomes the weakest link in my playing, I will probably need to address that, but I have too little time with all this forum scribbling…

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Okay, so I understood you … but I don’t understand why you say it that way apparently…
I did go through the course completely from A to Z so quickly that of course I can never do even half well in that short time…but with things like the barre it was clear to me if I want to enjoy many more years of fun and really want to become good I really have to learn those kinds of techniques perfectly, because I’m (also :woozy_face:)not the youngest anymore and don’t want to even have to unlearn something for weeks or worse months (or 2.5 years like the barre)… Helen plays already with other musicians, so she already does discovering fun things on her own anyway,…but here she asks for advice on an important technical point…and then “we” may not say… ‘just try something and if you teach yourself wrong you just do it again’…there are just short lessons to be found here… so that goes against everything I have learned about this ‘learn perfectly’ from Richard and Justin in particular and many more people …Sooo

I actually don’t understand at all why I have to explain this so long and extensively … are you trying to see where my breaking point is together with JK ,and are you laughing now like crazy :grimacing: :sweat_smile:

You have a breaking point?
Game on! :laughing:
and yes, I’m laughing like crazy.
If Helen hasn’t learned yet that the hierarchy of which advice to listen to is (generally):

  1. Justin
  2. Teachers
  3. People who can actually play
  4. Us bottom-feeders

… then I have performed a useful service.
You’re welcome :smiley:

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:rofl: I think I’m more in camp Brian here.

Honestly I like to give people some credit to figure stuff out themselves.

Helen did say she’s good at F and understands how barre chords work… which was the position I was in when trying to learn them. If you know power chords too it’s pretty straightforward. There are SO many ways to learn guitar.

And if you’re calling yourself old @roger_holland you’ll make me start to question my own age, I’m in my 40s too :astonished:.

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No idea and not found for the last 48 years…butrrrr… :face_with_peeking_eye:

Hopefully Helen follows the teachers (and therefore my :face_with_raised_eyebrow:) advice well,
and ignores this above of a runaway viking out of control today without royal guidance…

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That can go in many directions and screaming for a simple short lesson when she’s almost there…
And under 45 is young … above that is debatable, but I’m going next week into my 50th year of life…Now I feel empathy for Brian whom I congratulated last year (or early this year??) on his 59th birthday (i thought)…I had to know, but probably he will report it himself or someone else rat him out… …although I know where to look…but running out of time here :sweat_smile:

Read this very quietly and carefully…and then think…Yes I’m going to look at Justin’s lessons ,…He is his own accuser… :joy:
enough now … you’re already out and I wish you a lot of playing and guitar fun … and reading pleasure of course