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How to Play Bar Chords

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

When you are learning to play guitar, you get to a point after you have learned several chords that you run into a barre chord. For those who don’t know what it is, a barre chord is formed by pushing down multiple strings at once.

It is usually more difficult than other types of chords because it takes more strength to push down several stings with one finger. So here are some tips to get stronger fingers and practice these chords.

#1 Correct Thumb & Wrist Position

When I was in high school, my friends and I formed a band and it fell upon me to play the guitar. One of the songs required barre chords and I had never played them before. After every band practice, my wrist would feel sore from my incorrect hand positioning. I was bending my wrist at almost a 90 degree angle. As I practiced, I learned to do these chords without hurting my wrist every time.

Don’t make the same mistake I did! The best way to do it is to place your thumb directly behind the neck, and keep your wrist relaxed.

#2 Correct Arm Position

This is a very simple way to improve. Keep your elbow close to your body, and your shoulder relaxed. Many people bring their elbow away from their body to compensate for incorrect wrist and thumb placement. Just keep your elbow close to your body.

#3 Correct Finger Placement

When you place your barre finger on the frets, you want to make sure it covers all the strings you need to barre. Sometimes it isn’t enough to simply cover the strings with your finger.

Sometimes strings that get caught in the creases of your finger don’t sound out as well. One way around this is to slightly tilt your finger towards the nut of the guitar. The side of your finger is much bonier and tough. Making those pesky chords a bit more doable.

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