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bar -chord help

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Deskjet 08 Jun 03 - 11:30 AM
Clinton Hammond 08 Jun 03 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 08 Jun 03 - 11:47 AM
Allan C. 08 Jun 03 - 12:06 PM
Jeri 08 Jun 03 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Les B. 08 Jun 03 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Guest folkie 08 Jun 03 - 04:44 PM
GUEST 08 Jun 03 - 04:48 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 08 Jun 03 - 05:13 PM
Ed. 08 Jun 03 - 05:22 PM
Don Firth 08 Jun 03 - 07:08 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Jun 03 - 07:45 PM
Little Robyn 08 Jun 03 - 08:07 PM
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Subject: bar -chord help
From: Deskjet
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 11:30 AM

3/4 way through a song and my thumb is wanting to separate from my hand at it's base,concentration on song is lost due to pain. How can I improve my technique here? All suggestions will be appreciated, and then tried.


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 11:41 AM

This might sound a little too pithy, but I found that the best exercise to develop hand strength for playing bar chords was simply playing bar chords... Started with working the full F bar into songs in C for instance... When I had that down, then I'd add another bar chord into the mix... Now I can play just about any song just in bar chords (Not that I imagine I'd want to)

The same hand exercises that are mentioned in any other similar thread here won't hurt either.. as you develop strength, you also want to make sure you're maintaining (Or even better, improving) flexibility...

But when it HURTS, stop! That's what pain is... your bodies way of telling you to stop!


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 11:47 AM

A matter that requires some planning. Can you press the string nearer to the the fretwire? Which 'side' of the fret is better?

Perhaps the Guitar neck is too fat?


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 12:06 PM

All the above sounds like good info to me. I will and that you might want to check to see where your elbow is while you are fingering the chords. Often a change in its position will make chording easier.


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 12:35 PM

Clinton, pithy or not, I think you're right.
I was slightly competent at barres with my index finger, but I stopped playing for a while, and when I started again, my barres were crap. Apparently the ONLY way those muscles get strong enough is by actually doing the barres. My middle finger is just rotten at it, so I guess that's next.

Is your thumb directly under your finger on the neck?
It seems like it's possible to compensate for a wimpy barre finger by overcompensating with the thumb. If the finger was stronger, perhaps you could hold it straighter, and it probably wouldn't take much work to do the barre chord.

I don't know much about playing guitar, but I've had enough problems which are either fresh in my memory or I'm still working on them.


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 01:23 PM

All good advice above, especially Clinton's. You'll find it easier, however, to play barre chords from the G on up the neck - F at the first fret is a killer !

You might want to examine how/why you need to play barre chords. If you're playing chords that you just need to brush or strum with fingers, or a pick, or what the jazzy/swingy crowd calls "sock" chords, then you can have a slightly deadened note here & there when the forefinger is getting weak. If you're fingerpicking, and every note has to be clean and crisp, then it's a different ballgame.

For fingerpicking, I've learned how to cheat by playing partial barres or substitute chords so that the notes don't get lost as a dull thud, thud !

I heard one old guy at a fiddler's jam rant and rave about how people wanted to "turn guitars into drums with those *^%&*! barre chords, and not play open chords where you can hear the notes ring!".


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: GUEST,Guest folkie
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 04:44 PM

This is the barre system that I have taught to many students:

1. While learning, adopt a classical or semi classical position with the neck well above the horizontal, and the face of the guitar vertical.

2. Get in close to the guitar with your elbow underneath the neck.

- these two points minimise the amount of bend in the wrist reducing the chance of carpal tunnel problems -

3. Don't rest the guitar neck on the palm of your left hand or the base of the first finger - there should be a little "tunnel" between the neck and the V of the finger and thumb.

4. While learning a shape, place your 2, 3, 4 fingers before you put down your barre - then straighten your finger and lay it across the neck without pressing down at all - there is no point tiring your fingers holding a barre before you play the chord - then press and play.

5. Les.B's right - the strings are easier from frets 3 - 7 so practise the shapes around fret 5.

6. Muscle development does help, but the best development is in playing barres; concentrate on the muscle between the thumb and forefinger (this is underused in most people).

7. Play (say) a twelve bar as practice with open E, A fret 5 and B fret 7 to give a brief rest while building the skill.


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 04:48 PM

The fiddler has a point. A good bass line helps the fiddler imeasurably which can be played on the bass notes of the guitar.

An unsolicited tip..(wondering whether I should be doing this)..to change barre chords quickly, place the barre finger down first and the the finger that's closest to the thickest bass string next followed by the others consecutively.

Ie: Using the E chord position, start with the barre, then the ring finger, then, the middle and finally the first. In this manner, it pins your wrist into position and eventually enables you to move all fingers simultaneously and quickly.

Frank


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 05:13 PM

If you have large enough hands, thumbing the bass string(s) is, for some, a comfortable alternative to making a full barre with the index finger. It ain't "proper" but it's "good enuff fer folk music". It works with some chord shapes but not others. It's easy to play a common G fingered 355433 either way, but I doubt anyone can play a G7 fingered 353433 any way but with a full index finger barre.

Personally, I sorta let the chord that's coming next dictate how I'll play a certain chord. If I'm doing a progression like E9, A, D9, G (like in Sweet Georgia Brown) I'll thumb the A & G chords because I use my thumb to mute the 6th string on 9th chords anyway. It also sometimes depends on the guitar I'm using. I may play a "proper" barre chord on an electric guitar with easy action, but use my thumb on a stiffer acoustic.      

And, I agree with Les B. Absolute clarity is not all that important for rhythm work. It's when the fingerpicks come out that the dud strings start showing themselves.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Ed.
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 05:22 PM

I'd pretty much agree with Clinton, but I'm not sure about:

...when it HURTS, stop! That's what pain is... your bodies way of telling you to stop!

I'm assuming that Clinton means when it REALLY hurts. If so the advice is good. Giving up because it's slightly uncomfortable, isn't good advice.

I can't remember who said it, but whoever said that if you play so long that your fingers start to bleed, you're probably on to something may have a point.


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 07:08 PM

First of all, Guest folkie's point #3, above. Then (perhaps counter-intuitively), keep your thumb opposite your second finger rather than your first, and let your first finger roll a bit counter-clockwise rather than trying to lay it flat across the fingerboard. This gives you a sort of "shear-effect" when you play a barre chord. More effect for the effort.

Works for me.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 07:45 PM

" I'm assuming that Clinton means when it REALLY hurts."

Given the totally subjective nature of pain perception and tolerance, I wouldn't presume to judge someone else's assessment of their own pain...


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Subject: RE: bar -chord help
From: Little Robyn
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 08:07 PM

I agree with Clinton and Guest Folkie, but one way of strengthening that finger is to change to an open tuning and then you play only bar chords - just for fun. That way you don't have to think about the other fingers until you've sorted out your bar finger! A few days of that and you should be able to go back to the ordinary tuning and find it easier.


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