Conquering The Barre Chord
Your first guitar is going to have a story. What's yours going to be?
You've heard of the "tipping point" right?
That point where things start to tip over a top and roll down?
Well learning barre chords are a tipping point in their own right. I can't promise it will be the tipping point in your quest to learn guitar fast - but I can say with certainty that things will begin to roll on quicker after you learn them.
Why so regarded?
Well because barre chords are a staple in the guitar playing recipe book. They're mixed in the recipe to make almost any song you've ever heard.
The barre chord is to guitars as salt is to cooking. Always there. Often unnoticed.
But barre chords are another thing too: the dip. The dip is the point in your beginning guitar career when things can get tough. When you may be tempted to get discouraged or, worse, quit. It's important to know that barre chords are tough - but you can get through them!
Passing The Barre
Alright, alright -- so what's a barre chord? And how can you conquer it?
A barre chord is a chord in which you "bar" or "barre" a whole fret with your pointer finger. This acts sort of like a capo, making it so your pointer is playing the spots that your other fingers aren't.
It's easier than it sounds. You just have to lay your point finger over all six strings and keep it there (or onto a new fret when you change).
Of course, there's a good way to barre the fret. This will help you change chords easier, and not kill your finger as it continues to play these bad boys over and over.
You'll want to lay your finger on the fret with the bony side. Don't use the fleshy front of your finger, as much as you'll be tempted to. Eventually, your guitar will start to blister that fleshy part to shreds and then your finger will hate your guitar and, well, you don't want that.
So, set the bony part flat on the fret you're barre-ing. Your other fingers will form a set position then. This position is NOT to be forgotten -- as it will serve as the base for barre chords from here to infinity.
The rest of your fingers will form a set of stairs, essentially. So you have middle finger, ring finger and pinky left (after your pointer is barre-ing).
[Insert Example of a barre chord chart - A barre chord]
The middle finger goes on top, it plays the highest string/lowest note of the chord. The ring finger goes just below it, and the pinky below that. It's going to be your fingers that make the different sounds for each barre chord. Remember this - but also remember that the individual fingers come as a packaged chord. Play them together. Mend the separate notes into one chord. Strum.
I'll be the first to admit that it's not easy to understand on paper. I could spend all day writing words for you to play -- but you'd get a whole lot farther watching our video on Barre chords. It really breaks down the perfect hand position for you to master the method.
The truth is, few guitarists look back on their barre-learning experiences fondly. It's definitely one of the harder parts to master when learning guitar. We're here to help.
Your first tip is not to settle. Barre chords are these strange creatures that can sometimes sound right when you're not playing them completely right. Just a fluke of the technique, I suppose.
But just because you've gotten the chords to sound right, or close to right, don't settle and not learn it the right way. Remember, you're going to be playing THOUSANDS or more barre chords in your guitar life. You'll want to know the proper way as soon as possible.
It's easy to want to move on. Get to the rest of the chords in the pattern, song or exercise. But don't. Get the barre chord right. Watch the video again - get it to be like that!
The hard truth is that you're going to want to spend dedicated time devoted especially to barre chords. That's what makes StringNinja so effective. We tell you those exact times to work on barre chords. We show you how to keep improving. StringNinja dedicates full chunks of certain days toward barre chords - and you'll be happy you followed through with it. It's the easiest way to master what can be a very difficult thing to learn.
Barre-ing And Where It Can Get You
Training in the methods explained in all these resources we've given will have you playing barre chords fast. And once you can play barre chords you'll be on your way to learning guitar as quickly as possible - playing songs quickly, more importantly.
Once you put on your master's hat for barre chords, you'll want to move on to learning how to change chords properly, so that you can start jamming with all your heart.
Make sure you check out the videos we gave you. You can also check out more training tactics with our Ebook on Learning Guitar fast. Barre chords are a great first step (actually a bit after the first one - maybe great third step), but you'll want the whole arsenal of weapons before you start rocking!