Do you strive for clean, buzz-free barre chords?
Well, here’s a lesson on barre chords that will start to put an end to the buzzy B chords and the fuzzy F chords that you may be experiencing.
This lesson includes solid tips to make your barre chords cleaner, meaner, and just plain better.
Watch until the end as I think one of the tips will surprise you… and it doesn’t even involve your fretting hand.
Originally published on September 12, 2017, this article was republished on September 15, 2022.
Press Smarter, Not Harder
Many guitar players approach barre chords with a flat index finger, using the meaty part, or the pad, of the index finger.
This actually makes it harder to get a clean sound!
To fret more effectively, rotate your index finger and use the outside, bonier part to press down the strings.
This gives you a much harder fretting surface as well as better contact with the strings, ultimately allowing you to achieve clear notes with less pressure.
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Use Your Picking Arm for Cleaner Barre Chords
As any one who has played a few barre chords will tell you, they require a decent amount of grip strength – this can quickly tire out your hands and forearms!
If you’re someone who struggles with this, try this work around:
Instead of making your fretting hand do all the work, use your picking hand and arm to push the guitar closer to you, while pushing the fretboard outwards. At the place where your picking hand wraps around the guitar, pull your arm tight so that the guitar neck gets pushed forward.
Thiswill give you a really solid feel on your fretting hand and way better contact with the fretboard, resulting in a much cleaner execution of the barre chord.
Partial Chords Are Just as Effective as Full Chords
While most barre chords involve all six strings of the guitar, you don’t necessarily have to use all of them.
If you’re finding it a bit too difficult to play a full barre chord, there’s nothing wrong with trimming it down into a chord that’s a bit more manageable.
This isn’t cheating – it’s totally acceptable and I fully endorse it!
Use the Barre Chord Shape to Play Any Chord on the Guitar
You might be thinking – why do I even have to learn barre chords if they’re so difficult?
That’s a valid question. And the answer is because with one barre chord shape you can play any chord on the guitar neck.
That type of versatility is just too important not to be learned!
By learning how to play one closed-off barre chord shape, you suddenly have access to every single chord on the guitar – that’s pretty powerful.
Practice using the barre chords instead of open chords in any song you’re playing – just to build up strength and get more comfortable with the shape!
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