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zollybosherzollybosher Frets: 0
edited January 21 in Technique
How long did it take you to master barring?

As you maybe aware I am starting to play at a more “ advanced” age than most and am getting there, albeit I have am now taking lessons, which by the way have been invaluable in getting me past the obstacle I had.

Now it’s come to the dreaded F Major and barring. I KNOW it’s possible but is it a question of perseverance? I am using  spring grips to improve my hand strength. Alas it’s a very slow process. I can barr 2 strings and even 5, but not 6. The moment I have barred and try to add another finger it goes Pear shaped. 

So I would be interested to hear from others, is there a trick involved? 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 3513
    One trick is to start learning barres further up the fret board where it’s easier. For example C, which is the E shape barred at the 8th fret. Once you’ve got the technique right, which is partly finger placement and partly wrist angle, then you can move down to F.
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  • Mark1960Mark1960 Frets: 294
    I find that my raising the angle of the neck as the guitar hangs on your shoulder makes bar chords easier.
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  • KilgoreKilgore Frets: 3283
    Personally I have found spring grips to be of little if any value at all. Barring is about technique rather than strength.

    Are you angling your index finger so that the firmer side  is barring rather than the soft fleshy underside?

    As has been said try barring chords further up the neck, G at 3rd fret and A at fifth fret. Practise moving between the two, when you can do this comfortably go back to F.

    When I started playing, I consciously avoided playing songs with F because I found it difficult, but all it took was perseverance. 

    When you crack it, you will be surprised how little pressure you have to apply to barre effectively. 
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  • I grew up playing punk so started off on power chords then slowly starting adding the major/minor 3rd intervals for the full barre chords.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 5305
    As  @Kilgore ; says finger prob isnt a factor...id also check your thumb position, you;ll find it a lot easier with the thump on the middle of the back of the neck so your hand is at the right angle.
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  • The height of the wrist and thumb positions are crucial too. If the wrist is too high and the thumb over too much it'll restrict the ability to keep the fingers up right.
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  • Thanks for the comments, this is where it gets confusing for me at least. Are you barring with the inside of your finger- the boney part or the flesh of your finger pads? 

    I am not familiar with chords that can be played by barring in different frets higher up the neck. is there some kind of chart I can view? I can barr all strings up to the 3rd fret then it’s difficult. 

    My thumb is in the middle of the neck and my hand is pulled down a little. I think I will have to go with the flow so to speak
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 710


    I am not familiar with chords that can be played by barring in different frets higher up the neck. is there some kind of chart I can view? I can barr all strings up to the 3rd fret then it’s difficult. 



    When you are playing F barr chord you are actually playing an E shape with a barr at the first (It's like putting a capo on the first fret to take the whole guitar up a semitone).  When you play an E shape this way it's now an F.

    If you take this whole shape and just move up another fret (barr on the 2nd fret) you are now playing F#.  Up another fret (barr on 3rd) and it's G, and so on.  When you get to the 8th fret then you have C.

    You can also do this with E7, Em etc and you can do the same thing with the A shapes.  Barr on 1st, A shape = Bb
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  • clarkefanclarkefan Frets: 719
    I'd suggest working on barring say the Cmaj chord at the 8th fret, same shape but easier, and gradually work down the fretboard to the Fmaj at the 1st fret.  Thumb on the back of the neck as has been said, and tuck your elbow in.

    Don't rush this, it'll become a chore rather than a joy.  Go at your own pace and it'll come :)
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 5731
    It’s not about finger strength - it’s about technique. You need to push your hand quite a bit further under the neck than for non-barre chords. Your barre finger and the back of your hand should just about form a straight line. Hope that helps.
    In my hand I hold a piece of perforated paper
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  • I used my thumb on the low E for the first few years, by the time I’d got round to doing proper full barres my technique and strength had developed and I found it easier. Probably not the recommended method! 
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 176
    Try playing just the barre initially, moving up and down the beck. ensuring that all notes are clearly fretted. Once you've mastered this, try playing barred chords which require one additional finger, eg Bb, and progress to two then three additional fingers. As others have said, it requires technique and perseverance. A number of players find it challenging when starting to play barre chords, but it's worth the effort. 
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  • Phil_CPhil_C Frets: 76
    I grew up playing punk so started off on power chords then slowly starting adding the major/minor 3rd intervals for the full barre chords.
    That's a good method imo.
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  • zollybosherzollybosher Frets: 0
    edited January 22
    Musicwolf said:


    I am not familiar with chords that can be played by barring in different frets higher up the neck. is there some kind of chart I can view? I can barr all strings up to the 3rd fret then it’s difficult. 



    When you are playing F barr chord you are actually playing an E shape with a barr at the first (It's like putting a capo on the first fret to take the whole guitar up a semitone).  When you play an E shape this way it's now an F.

    If you take this whole shape and just move up another fret (barr on the 2nd fret) you are now playing F#.  Up another fret (barr on 3rd) and it's G, and so on.  When you get to the 8th fret then you have C.

    You can also do this with E7, Em etc and you can do the same thing with the A shapes.  Barr on 1st, A shape = Bb
    Now that makes sense - Thanks . I am off to try my hand ( no pun ) at finger picking 
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 6087
    Mark1960 said:
    I find that my raising the angle of the neck as the guitar hangs on your shoulder makes bar chords easier.
    This is very true......it makes a huge difference
    On a higher level it also makes Legato playing a whole lot easier
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  • Kilgore said:
    Barring is about technique rather than strength.

    Are you angling your index finger so that the firmer side  is barring rather than the soft fleshy underside?

    When you crack it, you will be surprised how little pressure you have to apply to barre effectively. 
    Mark1960 said:
    I find that my raising the angle of the neck as the guitar hangs on your shoulder makes bar chords easier.
    These are the keys ... raising the angle of the guitar (classical position) allows your elbow to approach (maybe even touch) the body of the guitar which causes your index finger to roll anti-clockwise so that you fret the barre with the (bonier) outside of the finger.

    A great test for your barring technique is to completely remove your left hand thumb from the neck.  You'll then need to get the pressure on by pulling the barre chord "into" the neck with your left arm (at the same time stopping the guitar from turning with your right arm).  Good practice is working out how you can get all the notes ringing true in this fashion.

    When other sites and teachers leave you frustrated: https://www.taplature.com/ 100% Unique, 100% Effective, 100% Free!
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