This one is pretty simple. Just nudge your finger up and down until it feels comfortable. Pay attention to the creases in your fingers and remember that it’s okay if the tip of your finger overlaps the edge of the fretboard.
Arched Finger vs Flat Finger
If you press down on all the strings with a flat finger, you end up putting a lot of extra, unnecessary pressure down onto the fretboard – some of the strings are already being played by other fingers.
If we arch the barre finger, we can focus pressure where it is needed, which requires much, much less strength.
Neutral Wrist vs Bent Wrist
You must try your best to keep your wrist as neutral as possible. While it may be tempting to bend your guitar towards you to help you see the fretboard better this is awful for your wrist, especially when playing barre chords. Just looking at the picture of the bent wrist makes my tendons tingle!
Rather than letting your hand do all the work, it’s a good idea to spread the tension equally across the entire arm and back, all the way to your core. It might take a while to get used to it, but this will make the biggest improvement in your barre chord technique.
- Sit up straight
- Activate your shoulder by pulling back slightly
- Let gravity carry your elbow downwards
- Grip the chord
This distributes the tension evenly along your entire arm and shoulder, saving your hand and wrist a lot of strain.
Remember not to overdo it and take your time with these things. Work on them, 1 at a time, and after a while your barre chords will sound clean and you’ll be able to play for extended periods of time.
Here are some songs you can practice along to that feature 1 or 2 barre chords:
- Let It Be – The Beatles
- Ho Hey – The Lumineers
- Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden
- Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
- Angie – The Rolling Stones
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles
- No Woman, No Cry – Bob Marley
- Hey Good Lookin’ – Hank Williams
- Let Her Go – Passenger
- Demons – Imagine Dragons
- Stay With Me – Sam Smith
- Safe and Sound – Capital Cities
- Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men