I f****** hate barres! When will the pain stop?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Desmond007, Jan 2, 2018.


  1. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Yeah, that effin F bar chord was not my friend when I started playing guitar. I forgot when it stopped hurting, and if it was before or after the 6-month mark. The guitar I learned to play on was a steel string acoustic my roommate bought at the swap meet for $30. Don't remember how heavy gauge the strings were but I do remember they were pretty high off the fretboard.

    An electric guitar with light strings and fairly low action is nice to have when you're starting out - kinder to the hands, so you can focus more on learning to play instead of fighting the instrument all the time.
     
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  2. Desmond007

    Desmond007 Member

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    No pain. I just keep on playing.
    I almost feel like crying like a little schoolgirl.
     
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  3. ninjaaron

    ninjaaron Member

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    Post clips of you crying, plz.
     
  4. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Missed this bit:

    "Guitar is a tele copy with a modern c neck. The strings has always (9's) been a bit hard to play"

    Glad there's no pain, at least. You'll probably have the barre down well before the 6-month mark. The guitar I had my first lessons on was a steel string acoustic, higher action (typical of acoustic vs. electric), and probably typical acoustic guitar gauge (at least 13s). I guess it was an advantage not knowing that electrics are generally less demanding on the hands.
     
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  5. T92780

    T92780 Gold Supporting Member

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    Sounds like strength, if underside of index finger, and or, finger tips don't hurt, just wrist, etc. Keep in mind, everyone battled with barre chords early on, as well, building callus on finger tips.

    • Guitar player most often doesn't need to barre chord, just hold down triad (I think that's what it's called) = hold down only D, G and B strings as example when playing F, G, A, etc barre chords.
    • Let bass player do his/her job if playing with one.... see above.
    • When not playing with bass player, I get it, sounds better/fuller and in certain songs is required, but not as many as transcribed. I rarely see pro guitarist clamp down on full blown F barre chord as example, but often wrap thumb over neck to grab low E string, but some player hands have forever issues with wrap around, even with varying neck carves. See below for wrap technique.
    This player shows it close up:


    Careful to not hurt yourself, go slow and steady.
     
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  6. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    The best thing I read here is JonR saying to put your thumb behind your index finger (the barre finger). Mine goes dead center on the back of neck right behind ithe barre, and that is where all my strength comes from, not my arm or wrist.

    I also saw a Joe Bonamassa video where he said "who plays barre chords anymore?" He was kidding but I have noticed a lot of players are not using them so much. They use power chords, or their thumb on top, or just barre the high E & B. You often don't need that many notes to make a nice sounding chord. Robben Ford plays nothing but chords I don't even recognize, and they sound great! He often does not even have the root note in his chords. He plays a D7 like this (no D in it)

    |--5--
    |--x--
    |--5--
    |--4--
    |--x--
    |--5--

    I have seen Clapton going with this lately (G Major)

    |--3--
    |--3--
    |--4--
    |--5--
    |--5--
    |--x--

    To deaden the strings that are X above, just let your fretting hand fingers touch them lightly.
     
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  7. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    How often do you change your strings? First port of call. You caint change jest one or two at a time if’n ya breaks one! intonation and timbre will always be off if you do that. You gotta change the whole set. When I was gigging a lot (ie: 1 to 8 times per month, 90min-2.5 hr rehearsals 3 times per week), I would change all 3 guitars every Thursday. It gets expensive and time consuming. When I was doing that, replacing broken strings with singles is acceptable. After about 3 hrs of rehearsal, it might be time for new strings.

    There is no need for full on masocism. Have guitars that are varying difficulties of set up. To barre comfortably to start, you might need a guitar that plays like butter. Increase your practice time on the easy guitar and then move on to a slightly higher set up when you are bending the strings off the fretboard. I like the sound of a higher setup, and I am sure a lot of others do, too. Get acoustic steel string into your practice regimen. Dent your tips, it will. Eventually strength will come.

    I was gonna say the same thing, you might think it is your index giving you probs; strengthen middle, ring and pinky and slide up and down the neck. You work on weaknesses and the obvious technique will follow.

    Practice time 30 min per day? Bump that up and stop counting the seconds; you want to savour it and not toil.

    Good luck :)
     
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  8. Desmond007

    Desmond007 Member

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    What about fx Jumping Jack Flash? In that song i use barres, and let all six string ring througj. Just gives that extra something. If Keith plays it this way, i dunno. Oh yeah, we play it in A. Not open tuning
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Do you wear the uniform too? Pics please! :D
     
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  10. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Exactly
    As I said, I used to think that until I checked what my right arm was doing. I lifted it off the guitar, and I could feel my thumb pressure increase a little as I did so, to make up for it.
    I can hold a barre easily with thumb alone, but I instinctively use the weight/pressure of my right arm on the guitar too, as backup.
     
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  11. Desmond007

    Desmond007 Member

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    It's almost rocket science what we're doing :D
     
  12. Desmond007

    Desmond007 Member

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    I think my fingers are too short to play like that with the thump
     
  13. T92780

    T92780 Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok, go try 7.25 radius with soft V neck and vintage size frets. I think this your cure, if not partially. Spec should be easy to find on a Fender at Guitar Center or similar store.
     
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  14. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Please PM that to JonR - I'd rather not see a pic, thanks
     
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  15. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    You don't have to play chords with a thumb. I didn't use the thumb to fret anything for my first several years of playing.

    You also don't have to play chords with a full barre all the time. A lot of Steve Cropper rhythm guitar parts are just 3 strings for example.
     
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  16. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    I was playing this afternoon and I took note of a couple things re barreing

    I typically have my thumb around 90° ; essentially pointing parallel with the neck. If I try to have my thumb directly behind index, it is immediately uncomfortable. I remember reading a Segovia technique book in the school library when I was 12 and the 90° thing is talked about in that book.

    My middle finger is backing up my index when middle finger is not in use. It doesn't have to be, yet I am sure it is a habit that helps limit fatigue.

    And the guitar I was playing today is really easy to play, 24.5 scale
    (Heartfield RR8)
     
  17. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 Silver Supporting Member

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    Came on to post this. You are using groups of muscles in a way that you have not previously. Like anything involving muscles, there is a learning curve - both mentally and physically. I used to scoff of the idea of "muscle memory" but it is absolutely true. If you keep at it, and do so diligently, you will come to the point where you will be able to finger the barres with minimal effort. It will become a matter of familiarity, of having developed the needed muscle groups, and the technique of knowing just how much pressure is needed to produce a musical result (hint: it's almost certainly less than you think, and likely less than you are currently applying).

    I wish I could give you more encouragement. Stay at it.
     
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  18. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I suspect your memory is playing tricks!
    Segovia certainly didn't play that way - watch his barres here:

    It's a bad habit, IMO, and you really shouldn't have to do that at all. Assuming your guitar is well set up, using the middle finger to back up the index is a sure sign your position is wrong.
    I mean, if it works for you it's fine! - but it's inefficient in terms of strength.

    Jamie Andreas demonstrates the combination of left arm weight, right arm bracing, and thumb action and position here:

    More on the classical technique here (which I doubt would contradict anything Segovia would have said):


    Notice thumb position in all of them.
     
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  19. Desmond007

    Desmond007 Member

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    And if i would like a neck that is as flat and thin as possible? D type neck?
    Strat, 50's or 60's specs, maple neck and fretboard.

    Hmmm...or maybe grind down my current modern C shape, til it gets thinner...cheap guitar anyways.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  20. ctreitzell

    ctreitzell Member

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    You correct...the diagram in my mind’s eye is right hand technique! My bad...nevertheless, that was comfortable position for me yesterday. I definitely felt pain with my thumb directly behind my index. I was sitting.

    Middle finger? well, I don’t spend much time thinking about technique when I am playing. I been playing guitar since 1980 and the only time I had any guitar related pain was playing an Epiphone 12 string. Over time I developed some discomfort across the back of my hand and wrist. That guitar was never going to be easy for anyone to play, so I gave it back to the friend who gave it to me in the first place. I did play quite a few gigs with it.

    I have fairly small hands and I often play with my thumb parallel to the bottom of the fretboard or not touching the guitar at all, especially when high up the fretboard or doing a big stretch...obviously not when barring
     

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