How Do You Strengthen Your Hands For Bar Chords?

How do you strengthen your hands for bar chords

I remember how difficult it was to play a bar chord. When I first started playing guitar. So I decided to write out a couple of great ideas. To help you learn how to strengthen your hands for bar chords.

So how do you strengthen your hands for bar chords? Here are some ways How you strengthen your hands for bar chords? 1. Practice Making the Bar all over the fingerboard. 2. Practice making the bar chords. 3. Practice Transitioning between chords. 4. Learn fretting hand technique.

Bar Chord Strengthening Exercise’s

1. Lesson one – Starting on the first string. Which is the thinnest string. You can start on any fret, and I recommend try all over the neck. As the string tension will be different up and down the neck. For now let’s start on the third fret.

Place your finger on the first string, third fret. Remember you want to use fretting hand technique. We want to pick the string, and let the string ring out nice.

If you don’t know fretting hand technique. Take a look at this lesson on 10 things every beginner guitar player needs to know.


2. Step 2 using your first finger place it on strings 1 and 2. The E and B string. We want to get them both to ring out. If it doesn’t sound good.

Maybe one rings out, and the other string doesn’t. Then see what the problem is, and correct the problem. Then try it again.

Some bar chords are just two strings. Like the F chord. There are several ways to play the F chord to see the F chord that barres the first two strings look at 5 Way’s to play the F chord.

Here is a tip; Play on the side of your finger. Where there is more bone, and less flesh.

3. We are now going to cover strings E, B, and G. Which are the first three strings. (1,2,3). Cover those three strings with your first finger. Next pick each string one at a time. Make sure all the strings ring out.

Listen to the Sound of Each String

If one string is not ringing out proper, take a look at the position of your finger. This usually is more of a problem when you are barring more strings.

4. Now add the D string. Which is the fourth string. If it sounds good, add the A and the E string to the mix. The fifth and sixth strings. This is where you might hear a buzzing noise when picking the string.

Pick the strings one at a time. If one doesn’t sound good diagnose the problem. Find out if you are playing on the bone part of your finger? Are you playing behind the fret? Maybe you Are not placing enough tension on the strings.

Check this fretting hand technique video for a deep dive into fretting the guitar.

So next practice sweep picking. Where you are going to strum down on all the strings. One time, slowly. After that release your finger. If it sounds good; Great!

Next move up a fret. Go to the fourth fret. Strum down and then release. Next keep moving up to the next fret. Strum, and release on the 5th and 6th frets. Don’t forget to release.


Now you want to go back to the 3rd fret, and start from there. Work your way back up to the 6th fret. This exercise will strengthen your first finger and hand.

To help with barre chords. Here’s a tip,you want to press with your thumb at the same time as you are pushing the strings down.

Perform this exercise 10 min a day for about a week while you practice. Then graduate to adding two fingers to the barre. We are still on the third fret. Where you are going to place your first finger, just like before.

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Making the minor Bar Chord Shape

Now we are going to add your third finger to the 5th string. At the 5th fret. Then under that finger on the fourth fret add your pinkie. Make sure you are playing on the tips of your fingers.

G minor Barre Chord
G minor Chord Diagram

Try playing that chord one string at a time. You are really going to need to use fretting hand technique to make this chord sound good.

I’m not going to lie, this chord is going to be hard to play. Here’s a tip use your remaining finger. Which is your second finger. Place it over on the first finger. Then use it to push against your first finger.

So now you are pushing on the strings with twice the amount of force. This will defiantly help hold the strings down.

Practice Up & Down the Neck

Now it’s like what you practiced before. Press all the strings down. Then play the strings and release. Move to each fret. Play the chord and release. If you get to a fret that sounds bad.

Meaning all the strings are not ringing out. Stop! Find out why, make the adjustment. Then continue to the next fret. Once you get to the 6th fret, start back at the third fret again.

Your hand will tire quickly. So don’t over do it. It’s like going to the gym. You don’t start lifting 500 lbs the first day.

Work your way up. Your working muscles, and ligaments that are not “in shape” for playing guitar. So you want to go slow. Also if you have any pain Stop! Don’t hurt yourself.

Once you master that exercise you will have mastered one of the minor chord shapes.

To get an inside look on barre chord shapes click the link. After you have learned the different shapes try this exercise.

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Barre Chord Exercise 2

Make the Shape of the minor barre chord with your fretting hand. Look at the example in these chord charts:

So How do you strengthen your hands for bar chords
minor & Major Bar chords

Strum down on the chord, and then release the chord. Remove your hand away from the neck of the guitar. Then place it back on the guitar in the same position.

After your fingers are set up. Strum down to play the chord. If something doesn’t sound right; Buzzing or muted strings. Find out why, and correct the problem. Then continue by removing your hand off the fretboard. Re-position your hand once again.

Next move to a major barre chord shape. Like this minor barre chord shape. Perform the same actions. Place your hand in position.

Then remove your hand completely off the fretboard. Place your hand again in position for the minor barre chord shape. Strum down to make sure the strings are raining out.

Next try this Major barre chord shape. Hand in position, strum, and then remove your hand.

Make sure you lower your hand away from the neck of the guitar. Again place it back in position of the G Major barre chord. Don’t forget to strum down.

Do this exercise about 5 min a day. This will make sure you know your barre chord shapes. Also This will keep your hand in shape. If you want more tips on how to gain hand strength, you might want to read why are barre chords so hard to play.


Barre Chord Exercise Number 3

Exercise #3 is similar to the first exercise. What you want to do is take a barre chord shape, and work it up the neck of the guitar.

So take the E Major barre chord shape, like the one in the chord chart below. Start on the first fret. Get your fingers in position. Strum, and then move up a fret. Strum and move up a fret. Do this until you reach the 12th fret.

How do you strengthen your hands for bar chords

Next take the minor barre chord shape. Do the same thing start on the second fret. Set up your fingers in position strum, and then move up a fret. Do this with all the chord shapes listed. Doing this will make sure your getting a clean sound.

All the strings are ringing out nice. Also you will notice that your fingers have to move around. You will need to move them to fit into the smaller frets. As you go up the neck of the guitar the frets get smaller.


Barre Chord Exercise 4

Take the minor barre chord shape, and the Major barre chord shape. Shown in the chord diagrams below. Start on the 5th fret with your first finger.

How do you strengthen your hands for bar chords

Now practice transitioning between the two chords. To Transition is to move from one chord to the next.

Once your hand is set up for the A minor bar chord, strum down slowly. Then switch to the D Major shape. Strum again. Practice going back, and forth between the two chords.

Remember if the notes in the chord are not all sounding out properly. Find the cause, and correct it prior to moving on.

You are giving your hand a work out. Also gaining muscle memory. The more you practice going from one chord to the next then it will become second nature. You are training your hands to do what you want them to do.

Now take the Am chord, and go from that chord to the D Major chord. Next go from the Dm chord, and move to the D Major chord.

Try to do two different exercises every other day. The odd days do the other exercises. 


Related Questions

Barre Chord PDF

The barre chord PDF is free. There are the four different shapes of the barre chord. To see how barre chords work in accordance with the fretboard. Take a look at What are the Major barre chords.

Enjoy this Free Barre Chord PDF.

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