Are you struggling to get your barre chords to sound clear?
To feel less frustrated with the sound of your barre chords, keep reading to find out how to improve the sound of your barre chords.
Barre Chords Are Fun…But…
As a guitar player, barre chords can be a lot of fun and they’re great for playing through the songs you love, to be able to sit down and play guitar with other people, and they also make you feel and sound like a real musician… but they come with some challenges.
You may find that your barre chords don’t ring out clearly, or maybe when you play them you get pain in your wrist, arms, shoulders.
This can feel very frustrating and it can also put you off wanting them to practice them because you just can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I know understand how you feel will all the challenges with bare chords, and every person I’ve ever seen who’s learnt barre chords has gone through the same struggles. What I’ve found is that there are some common challenges that people face, let’s look at some of them.
You May Be Starting With The Wrong Chord…
One of the first challenges I see is that often people are learning the hardest barre chord first. Typically, when people learn barre chords, we start with the F major chord:
It makes sense to start learning this chord because it’s used a lot in songs, but it’s one of the biggest reasons why you may be struggling with your barre chords.
Why is tricky to do? The reason why is because you’re playing this chord as close as you can be to the ‘nut’ of the guitar.
So the strings are at the highest tension and least flexible. So you need more strength to press down the strings.
Which is why it often causes people a lot of wrist pain.
Why Are My Strings Buzzing?
The other challenge that you may be facing is that your strings aren’t ringing out clearly and you’re getting a buzzing sound. This is very normal with barre chords as they do require a bit more strength than your normal open chords.
To strengthen up your fingers so that you can get more clarity with your barre chords, place down your first finger across all 6 strings, press down the strings and then slide your finger up toward the 12th fret and then back toward the 1st fret.
Do this for 5-20 seconds, 3-4 times a day and you will find that you will start gain some more strength in the finger that causes the most amount of problems with strings buzzing.
How Do I Make Barre Chords Feel Easier?
To begin with, what I want you to do is to shift the barre chord up to the 7th fret on the guitar. You will find that the strings will be easier to push down which will reduce some of the pain that is caused by playing the barre chord down on the 1st fret.
Once you feel comfortable playing the barre chord at the 7th fret, you can now shift the bare chord 1 fret back to fret 6. Eventually you will be able to play this barre chord down at the 1st fret and have it sound clear and pain free.
Using Barre Chords In Songs
When you’re practicing your barre chords, I still want you to move the barre chord higher up on the guitar. Now I know what you might thinking “If I move the shape it will be the wrong chord and so it won’t sound like the song anymore!”.
I agree, for right now we’re just doing a training exercise and I’ve found that when you practice in this way, you’ll be able to make your chords sound like the song way sooner than if you power through and struggle.
If you’re chords are Am, C, F, G. Still play Am, C, G as your open chords, but then move the ‘F’ chord higher up on the guitar to where you were practicing it (e.g. on fret 6)
Make Your Chords Changes Easier
Up until now, we’ve looked at how to improve the sound of your barre chords in isolation. To get better at changing between barre chords and open chords, what I would like you to do is to take the barre chord shape that you’ve been practicing and then pick just 1 other open chord. We’re going to practice it by:
- Playing the open chord
- Playing the barre chord
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for 5 minutes
If you’re noticing that some of your fingers are struggling to move to the correct strings still, do the following:
- Keep changing between your two chords, every 10 repetitions switch your focus between each one of your fingers one by one (e.g. just try to get your 1st finger to go to the right place
Now that you have these tips to practice, your barre chords will still take some work. All you have to do is just a little bit each day and as long as you work on them consistently, the results will come.
At Guitar Tuition East London based in East village, Stratford, London, you will get training from teachers who understand what all the challenges are and how you should work on them, so you can finally conquer barre chords.