5 Tips For Perfect Barre Chords

In this post, Mark The Guitar Guy shows you 5 barre chord tips that will help you master the guitar neck.

Barre chords are a great way to move around the guitar neck, but they can be difficult to master. If you’re new to them, you may have found it hard maintaining pressure across the back of the chord shape with your first finger. If you’re an experienced player who never got the proper technique down, you may find they hurt your hand, and you may even avoid them altogether.

In the video below, I show you five tips for perfect barre chords. The video is aimed at beginners, but even if you think you know everything about bar chords, this makes a handy refresher to make sure you play them the right way and with the least amount of strain to your hands.

5 Tips For Perfect Barre Chords

1. Learn the Main Note Positions on the Top 2 Strings

Learning the main note positions on the top 2 strings will enable you to quickly find the position of the barre chord you want. When I say the main notes, I mean E F G A B C D on the top string (E string) and the next string down (A string.) Don’t worry about learning sharps and flats, because once you know the main notes really well, you can find all the sharps and flats relative to the main notes by moving up or down a fret. So for example, F# (F sharp) is one fret up from F, and Fb (F flat) is one fret down from F. This works for all notes except when moving between E and F, and B and C because there is no E sharp, F flat, B sharp, or C flat in the musical alphabet.

2. Low Thumb Position on the Neck

Lowering your thumb on the back of the guitar neck allows you to stretch out your fingers for maximum fret coverage. By contrast, when you place your thumb high on the back of the neck, your hand becomes scrunched up and your fingers can’t reach as far. Make sure you keep that thumb position down low.

3. High Fret Position

Many guitarists think the best place to put their fingers is in the middle of the fret, but that’s wrong. The best place is right up against the fret. This ensures you get the best sound from the chord and that there’s no fret buzz that occurs when you don’t put enough pressure each string.

4. Hook the Barre Finger

Instead of placing your finger flat on the fret with the padded side down like many guitarists do, curve your finger and place the side of it on the fret. This will give your barre finger a lot more strength and stability so you will be able to hold barre chords for longer and with less hand strain.

5. Place the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Fingers on First

When we learn open chords we normally start by putting the 1st finger on 1st. With barre chords it’s the opposite. Start by getting your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers into place, and then place your 1st finger. The reason is that when you place your first finger first, it makes it more difficult to put your other fingers in a high position, which leads to fret buzz. Changing the order around eliminates this problem.

So there you have it! 5 tips for perfect barre chords. Did you like this lesson? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments

  1. pedro travers

    Who really needs the barre chord?

  2. seth

    This lesson was the most help I’ve ever found for barre chords… and it helped me more than I can tell you… Awesome, thank you.

  3. Scott

    Thanks Mark .
    For me an awesome tip was the slight hook with the barring finger. Wow what a difference that made . It was an epiphanous moment when you mentioned that the barring finger needs only to be focussed on the first fifth and sixth strings. The hook allowed me to apply a lot more pressure on those strings which made the chord cleaner sounding.

  4. Sandi

    Thanks Mark, very informative lesson. I have Essential Tremor so forming, changing and playing chords is somewhat challenging and frustrating. So every tip I can get helps. Keep up the good work.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *