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A better way to master guitar chords?
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The dreaded Bar Chords

Edward Staib

The dreaded Bar Chords

I've been playing for about three years and play at my church. I have been struggling with the Bm bar chord-(bar chords in general) which is used frequently in the songs we play. I have weakness in my hands from Carpal Tunnel so it seems like more practice does nothing to help. Does anyone know of a way to play bar chords that doesn't cause extreme pain? A fellow musician in our group suggests playing partial chords. But I wanted see if anyone here as any suggestions. Thanks.

Posted 1 year ago by Edward Staib - 9 replies

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First of all, how is the action ? If you can easyly put a quarter between first fret and strings, it may be too high, so you have to clamp too hard and this physical stress causes pain. Another thing is that may may put too much pressure or too much longer than necessary : try loosening between each beat to alleviate the tension.
If the action is ok, well, remember that your muscles need regular practice to get accustomed.

Reply posted 10 months ago by Marc Mony

Scott Ritchie

As a beginner guitar player at age 51, I also suffered hand pain when I reached the Barre Chord Section of the course I am studying. The lesson section was broken down into two parts. The first part was all about 6th String Barre Chords and the second was about 5th String Barre Chords. Due to the pain I was having I was getting extremely frustrated (which makes for bad practices etc etc) and finally had to just step back and take a break. I learned the "take a break" advice from Steve Krenz on his live U-Stream Channel. I know taking a break will not help the original question in this thread but I may help others who find themselves struggling with a new concept. The last thing you want to do is become so frustrated with trying to learn and master a new and more challenging concept, in your path to becoming a guitar player, that you end up putting the instrument away and not picking it back up again. I set a 10 day break period and when I returned I had lost the frustration and was intent on learning and mastering the challenge of nailing the Barre Chords without suffering. I wish you success and hope you find a method that works for you.


Reply posted 11 months ago by Scott Ritchie

Have you tried alternate tunings? You would need is one finger gently placed on one of the strings. Or bar with the one finger that will not accumulate too much pain. I play bar chords till the cows come home, but I never, under any circumstances, continue playing with pain. I stop when fatigue sets in, but never play in pain. That is a no-no… If you talk to some old guitar players who played through the pain, you will stop. I also use YOGA BALLS! Best ever for hand fatigue. In less than two minutes, I am back up there bro.
Cheers Mate

Reply posted 11 months ago by Jim Lair

Jeremy Taylor

When I first started playing, I used my pinky to play both the second and third notes of the bar chord. Instead of using three fingers, I just used my first finger and my pinky. #acoustic

Reply posted 1 year ago by Jeremy Taylor

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