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Barre chords are hard to get the hang of. Even though you are a semi-experienced guitar player, who has been practicing for months, you will find that barre chords are a whole new can of worms. They take strong fingers/hands, laser precision, and extensive knowledge to master the skill. 

If you have been practicing barre chords with no luck, don’t give up. Everything is challenging when you first learn it. It’s part of the fun, right? And I’m going to give you the tips and tricks to make sure conquering barre chords is as easy as possible. 


Capos benefit by helping your understanding— which will help you with execution. 

Think of a capo like your finger. An Em chord with a capo on the first fret is making an F sound. An Am shape with a capo on the second fret is really a Bm. In fact, many songs use capos to avoid playing barre chords. This may seem rudimentary but understanding this will have you well on your way. Explore this free video lesson to improve your use of capos. 


Let’s get one thing straight though, barre chords do take strong fingers. Merely doing finger/hand workouts is not going to help you play barre chords. For example, you have probably seen grip exercisers in music stores with the promise that they will significantly help you, but they won’t. The only way to practice barre chords is by playing them. 

Muscle memory is so important when playing guitar. If you just work out your hands– while they may be stronger– you have really made no progress with barre chords. But playing them will increase both strength and muscle memory, so get there and stay. Don’t fall into the trap. Just because you can’t hold a barre chord now doesn’t mean that you need to start taking your hand to the gym. Just keep playing them and you will be nailing them in no time! Learn from this free video lesson, Barre Chords: The Mindset & The Principles of Success


Now that we got the mindset out of the way, we can talk about the best way to execute a barre chord. 

First tip: Don’t play a barre chord with a flat finger. The inside of your hand is soft and cushiony so it will take much longer to be able to play one. Instead, use the side of your finger. It’s much harder which cuts down the amount of strength you need to use.

Second tip: Use your strumming arm to push the guitar towards your body. This way your hand isn’t doing all the heavy lifting. 

Third tip: Lower your thumb to the middle of the neck. Naturally, your thumb will be at the top of the guitar neck when playing basic chords (G, A, D, etc.). But playing a barre chord like that is nearly impossible. Lower it to the middle to make them as easy as possible. 

Remember to keep at it! Everyone struggles with barre chords. You’re not alone. Once you get it, nothing can stop you.

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