I have been trying to play barre chords in general for a long, long time. Take F or G as an an example, I I stretch to the 6th th string and it rings ok. I place my 2nd , 3rd 4th fine . I try to use my index to put pressure on 1st and 2nd but one or both are dead. Suggestions please ?
The few tips I can give you are:
- build up your hand strength by playing lots of open chords and Power chords.
- lay your index finger down at an angle, so the strings are being pressed by the edge of the finger more than the flat part of the finger.
- Lots of pressure is not needed. Proper finger placement is what you should focus on.
- Practice, practice, practice. It took me a 2 years to get my form correct and consistent.
Watch this, from Justin. THE best barre chord technique video on the internet. Period.
Best of luck.
Could be your acoustic guitar - be it strings or nut height. Barre chords are much harder on mediums than extra lights in my beginner experience. Even vs lights, which I currently have on my yamaha fg700 at the moment.
If you’re sure you’ve got your technique down then what also helped to strengthen my grip was to use my phone only with my fretting hand. I was able to do an F Barre after a week.
The distance from your strings to the fret board is called the action. if your action is too high, this can make barre chords much harder. One simple test is to put a capo on one of the frets fairly close to your nut and see if the barre chords are easier. Another option is to have a friend who’s experienced with your sort of guitar, acoustic or electric, to have a look at it and comment on the action. Usually a high action can be fixed with a visit to a guitar tech fairly inexpensively. Sometimes it’s not fixable and a different guitar is in order. My very first guitar was a cheap yamaha old steel string acoustic. Its action was too high and it was unfixable. Barre chords were nigh on impossible for a beginner.
Yes, high action at that first fret caused by a nut that’s too high is what I was saying.
And also the string gauge I find to be a big difference, having just restrung my guitar from Mediums - > Extra Lights - > Lights.
Then again this is just my beginner’s perspective.
Too high a nut slot is common on guitars that have not been setup by a luthier. A high slot(s) can make barring more difficult than it needs to be. Definitely check out the b and high e string heights at the nut. Capo 3rd fret and gently press at 2nd fret. There should be a hairs thickness between first fret and string at high e and b. A little more for the others.
If that is ok. The next thing is to try repositioning your finger. It should be very slightly rolled too, using the harder edge of your index finger, not the soft bottom. Move your finger up and down, curve it slightly, whatever works. We all have different anatomy’s so what works for one person may be different to another person.
Interestingly I had no trouble with barres after adjusting nut height but still struggled with the easy F chord, the bottom two strings. So preferred to barre instead. Practicing yesterday I used the easy F and Lo and behold all string rang cleanly. Not doing anything different. Maybe calluses on index finger?
So just keep practicing. If the guitar is right, the playing will come good.
Did you mean the high-e string? It was strings 1 & 2 that Steven said were sounding dead.
Yes I meant the High/thin e string, (string 1). Have no idea why I wrote low instead of high, as I’m aware of the difference, but at my age these brain fades are becoming all too frequent😂. Thanks Chris, Now fixed in original post.
Hi All and thanks for your suggestions.
I have not managed a consistent full F yet but I am spending more time on the basics, checking each string rings as cleanly as possible and also moving the barre to different frets.
I’m sure there is some progress.