How to Play Guitar Chords? Beginners Can Start with Barre Chords
Aug 3 2015
Barre chords constitute some of the guitar’s finest capabilities. Formed by laying a single finger across the instrument’s fret board, barre chords utilize 90-degree angles across the neck. Playing this style grants the guitarist freedom with a chord’s grouping (NXS Web) while making them accessible with simple sliding techniques. Barre chords are fundamental music components, and they’re relatively easy to master when practicing finger strength and placement.
Simple Setup for Barre Chords
While any guitar setups can be used to practice barre chords, several “tweaks” will ready an instrument for ease of use. Barre chords do take practice to learn, but they’re relatively easy to memorize. To ready yourself for play, find a guitar relative to your skill and strength. Finger dexterity is important for pulling off barre chords, and excess fretboard-to-string distance may make barre chords difficult to master.
Jam Play features several tips used to simplify the learning process. Purchasing a light gage string set assists finger maneuverability, especially on acoustic guitars. Richer tones are emitted from lighter strings, even for weak-handed individuals. From bends to barre chords, lighter strings are great for practice.
Playing a Barre Chord
When you’re ready, place your index finger across all six strings, ready to play. Make sure it’s bent slightly, as a rigid finger distorts sound and complicates barre chords (About Guitar). Next, roll the index finger back up, slowly, making its thumb-most side contact the strings. Apply pressure, and strum to sound each string.
Then, add these fingers to the following strings and frets:
- Third finger to fifth string, seventh fret.
- Fourth finger (pinky) to fourth string, seventh fret.
- Middle finger to third string, sixth fret.
Once these fingers have been placed, play every string, one at a time, to make each note ring. Correct any misplaced notes. This chord is called A major, and it corresponds to the note played across the sixth string.
Other chords follow a similar pattern. For example, a major chord rooted on the guitar’s fifth string utilizes the first finger to barre its fifth fret, across strings one to five. Added fingers are coordinated similar to the A major chord.
Barre Chord Tips For Beginners
When playing barre chords, remember to tilt the index finger. Many beginning musicians keep the index finger flat, stifling a rich noise. Tilt your index finger towards the guitar’s lower frets and nut, utilizing your arm’s stronger muscles.
Additionally, be sure to keep your thumb aligned correctly. Barre chords require consistent thumb placement for a “clamping” motion. Be sure to keep your thumb towards the guitar’s middle neck, wrist arched. In general, musicians must hone their finger and arm strengths before playing barre chords. Exercise might not be for you, but it’s worth it to create exemplary barre chords.
To build strength, press down upon the neck’s strings, and hold the position as long as possible. This will cement correct positioning while increasing your strength and muscle memory. While the ability to play barre chords won’t arise overnight, it will certainly ferment over time—becoming a twitch reaction to complex, memorable songs. Again, remember to keep your index finger fluid, reactive and quick to create concise and strong movements.