Why Are Barre Chords So Hard To Play?

why are barre chords so hard to play

If you want to know why are barre chords so hard to play. Then you have come to the right website.

Why are Barre chords so hard to play? When you are a new guitar player your hands are not strong. This is normal because you are not used to moving your fingers. As you do when you play guitar. This is the main reason why barre chords are so hard to play.

To find out more on why barre chords are so hard to play, and to get 10 tips to make playing them easier. Then stick around. Read on for all the secrets that will get you playing barre chords in no time. With ease!

Tip Number one – Gain Hand Strength With Barre Chord Exercises

Like I said every guitar player starts out with the same strengths or weaknesses. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just the facts. The only way to over come this fact, of having weak hands. Is to strengthen them.

The more you perform different actions on the guitar. Your hands will become more nimble. You will gain strength, and muscle memory.

So what are some of the exercises you can do to strengthen your hands?

There are a variety of exercise. Some of them you don’t even have to use your guitar. Say your at work, you may not be able to practice your guitar there. Here are some good exercises to strengthen your hands.

  • The first one is a Squeeze ball, great for all occasions.
  • Hand Grip is another tool you may have seen used at Gyms
  • Finger stretching exercises always help
  • But a favorite of mine is the Sala Fnt Guitar hand exerciser, Specifically designed for guitar players in mind. There is a spring loaded grip for each finger. Click the link to see the picture of the Sala Fnt on Amazon.

Those are all hand exercises that can be done while your watching TV, Walking, or on break at work. The Sala fits nice into a pocket to take any where and everywhere.

But then there are also exercises that you can do at home. Theses exercises you can do while using your guitar. Click this link for guitar technique and finger strengthening.

Tip Number 2 – Fretting Hand Technique

When you make a chord on your guitar. You probably look at the chord chart, and just follow the dots. But without thinking about it you may be placing your fingers, and hands in positions that ultimately make playing the chord more difficult than it needs to be.

This is a basic principle that when applied will make playing barre chords easier than you could imagine. Of course it will still take some time, and practice to get the hang of positioning your hand properly on the fretboard.

Fretting hand technique is something that is learned first. Then becomes second nature to you when playing your guitar.

In the beginning it will seem like a lot of things to remember. But with practice, and doing these basic fundamentals. Then you don’t even think about it. Your muscle memory kicks in, and your playing 100% better. Here is a link to get an inside look at fretting hand techniques 10 things every guitar player needs to know.

Tip Number 3 – Thumb Position

When playing a chord especially a barre chord. One of the biggest mistakes is to have your thumb over the top of the guitar.

When you make a barre chord it is imperative to keep your thumb down low. When looking at the neck of the guitar, and your hand is in position. You should not be able to see your thumb at all.

10 things every beginner guitar player needs to know
Thumb Position

With your thumb down low your hand, and wrist automatically is in a lower position. This leaves room between your hand, and the guitar. Allowing you to play the chord without touching other strings.

Keeping your thumb low on the back of the guitar neck. This will make playing barre chords that much easier. Give it a try!


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Tip Number 4 – Barre Chord Technique

Like fretting hand technique Barre chord technique is a taught skill. What I mean is you need to learn it. Then with practice, and with perseverance you get good. Then it’s like riding a bike, you don’t forget how.

Starting out playing barre chords you will find that it is hard almost impossible to get all the strings to ring out. Today you are going to learn barre chord techniques. So that you will no longer have this problem when you play a barre chord.

Lets use the G barre chord as an example. To set your fingers up in position. You want to place your fingers with your first finger across all the strings. Then your second finger is on the third string. With your third finger on the fifth string, and below it is your fourth finger on the fourth string.

Why are barre chords so hard to play
G Major Bar Chord

See the example of the G barre chord above. To make playing this easier. There are a couple of barre chord techniques you need to know, and should start implementing.

  1. Bend your first finger
  2. Play on the side of your finger
  3. Play with your finger above the 6th string
  4. Play on the tips of your fingers (other 3 fingers)
  5. Play with your knuckle bent (other 3 fingers)
  6. Keep your thumb down low

These are barre chord techniques. But to get a eye-opening experience of how to implement these techniques look at 5 ways how to play the F barre chord.

Tip Number 5 – Short Finger Nails Will Improve Your Guitar Playing!

This tip seems obvious, but there are some people that just don’t know. That is not meant to be an insult. See when you are playing the guitar, and fretting the strings. You need to be able to hold the strings down.

So that they rest against the fret wire. If you have long finger nails then your nails impede your ability to hold the string firm against the fret.

Your nails need to be short on your fretting hand. Unlike your other hand that you are holding the pick in. It may be beneficial for those fingers to have longer nails.

Reason being that if you are hybrid picking. Where you use a pick, and your fingers. Then having a longer nail makes it easier to pick the strings.Also when you are playing finger style.

There are even finger nails that are used when playing finger style. To prevent wear on your nails. See more about your finger nails in this article will my fingers get ugly if I learn the guitar?

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Tip #6 Barre chord Technique -first finger position

When you are playing a barre chord. Your first finger is sprawled out across all the strings. Sometimes! Technically a barre chord could be two strings. Some chords the “barre” covers 3 strings. But for the purpose of this conversation. I’m discussing a typical 6th string root chord.

When placing your finger across the strings there are a couple of techniques and tips. The first tip is you want your finger to be a little bent. if it is flat across the strings. You will not get enough leverage to push down on the strings.

Another reason you don’t want your finger strait on the finger board is: The bottom of your finger (opposite side of finger nail). This part of your finger is fat.

There is a lot of meat on that part of your finger. This being said. When you push down on the strings there is to much cushion on your finger. This prevents the strings from being forced against the fret. With enough tension for the strings to ring out.

What you need to do is place your bone part of your finger against the strings. This is a much harder surface, and the strings will ring out with much less force.

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Tip #7 Pushing With Your Thumb

For such a tiny finger, your thumb plays a big part in playing a barre chord. We have already discussed where your thumb is positioned on the guitar neck. But this is a Big tip. That is everybody knows they need to push the strings down.

But did you know to use your thumb to push? When your fingers are all in position for playing the barre chord. When you push the strings down. At the same time use your thumb to press against the back of the guitar neck.

This will give you more leverage. Allowing all the strings to ring out.

When playing an electric guitar you don’t have to press down as hard on the fingerboard. Take a look at the Top 5 Budget Electric Guitars. This might help your playing.

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Tip #8 Playing a A Shape Barre Chord

On this type of barre chord. You are placing one finger on the fifth string, and with your third finger barring three strings. See this type of barre chord shown below.

Why Are Barre Chords So Hard To Play

The chord diagram shown is of the B Major chord. Your first finger is on the 5th string. At the second fret. Then your third finger is used to barre across strings four, three and two.

Here’s a tip to play this barre chord. Hyper extend your third finger backwards. Doing this allows an even amount of Pressure on all three strings. Making them sound great!

Don’t forget to play on the tip of your first finger. The B Major is just one type of this chord. Performing both of these techniques properly will allow you to play this form of the barre chord with little effort.

Related Article: What is the Cage system on guitar.

Tip #9 Leaving Room Between Fingers & Fingerboard

Even though you are playing a barre chord, and there is a “Bar” involved. The rest of your fingers do not need to be flat on the strings. The best way to prevent this is to keep your thumb in the proper position.

This creates a gap between your hand, and the fingerboard. Which in tern gives your fingers the proper amount of space to play the notes correctly.

Get an inside look at How Do You Strengthen Your Hands For Bar Chords?

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Tip #10 Keep your elbow in Close to Your Body

You will see that when you are playing chords that some chords are impossible to make when your elbow is out. Out, meaning not close to your body.

The way your hand, wrist and elbow are connected. You are limited to where your hand can be positioned to play a chord. Take a C chord for example just place your fingers on the guitar to make the C chord.

Keep your fingers lightly on the strings. Then move your elbow in and out. See what happens to your fingers.

This is true with a lot of chords. So to make it easier to play the chords keep your elbow in close to your side.

Related Article: 10 Tips for Learning Guitar Chords.

Practicing Barre Chord Technique

Now that you have all these techniques its up to you. First you need to go slow. This is true with all things in guitar. Break it down. So take the techniques and implement them one at a time.

You can even use this post as a reference guide. Maybe in the beginning it will seem like a lot to remember. But if you start to do these basic techniques you will find that playing barre chords are not as hard as you thought.

Taking these tips, and from the beginning doing them. Before you get bad habits. You will be playing barre chords before you know it.

If you want to know more about barre chords. Check out whats the secret to barre chords.

Related Questions

Barre chord Exercise PDF

Barre chords are not really that difficult. after your hands get stronger, and you learn all the techniques to play the barre chord. Once you get your hands in shape try these exercises to keep them in shape. Barre chord Exercise PDF.

Are Barre Chords Easier On Electric Guitar?

In the sense that an electric guitar resonates a lot easier than an acoustic. Maybe you could say that a barre chord is easier to play on an electric. What I mean is the electric guitar uses pickups, and amplification to be heard. So you do not have to hold the strings down with as much force.

Like on an acoustic guitar the strings are much harder to hold down. In order to be heard. I would say that is the only difference. You still need to have all the same techniques.

Know the same chords, and the finger positioning for the chords. So to me it is better to learn on the acoustic first. Unless you are only ever going to play an electric guitar. Here’s 5 Reasons You Should Learn Acoustic Guitar Before Electric.

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