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Thread: Songs without Barre chords

  1. #1
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    Songs without Barre chords

    Hi I'm looking for songs, new or old, that can be played without barre chords.

    I also would like some songs with D minor and no Barre chords.

    Any suggestions would be welcomed, thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Pink Floyd: "Wish You Were Here", "Breathe in the Air"
    Jimi Hendrix: "Hey Joe" (great exercise for the 5 open major chords, C-G-D-A-E)

    Lots of stuff by Neil Young and Bob Dylan - off top of my head:
    "Helpless"
    "Blowin' in the wind" (in G or D)
    "Mr Tambourine Man" (in D)
    ... must be dozens more, I'l get back to you...

    good idea for thread, btw!

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    Crazy Train by Ozzy possibly?

  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fleaaaaaa
    Hi I'm looking for songs, new or old, that can be played without barre chords. I also would like some songs with D minor and no Barre chords. Any suggestions would be welcomed, thanks.
    We have over 200 songs in our gig book, I was tempted to post the index, but, thought best not to. You can play every one of them with out a barre - of course you would have to play a modified F and B, which I do anyway.

    I think you must be having problems making the barre and are looking for ways around it. There is always more than one way to make any chord. There is life with out the barre. Don't let that slow you down.

    If you are having trouble, just take a few moments and figure out another way. That F chord - don't sound the 1st string E - because that is what is giving you problems - and you get a Fmaj7 chord, couple of years from now you will be into jazz and learning how to make a Fmaj7 chord....... nothing wrong in using it now.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 09-16-2009 at 12:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    If you are having trouble, just take a few moments and figure out another way. That F chord - don't sound the 1st string E - because that is what is giving you problems - and you get a Fmaj7 chord, couple of years from now you will be into jazz and learning how to make a Fmaj7 chord....... nothing wrong in using it now.
    Well, there might well be. If you are playing a blues in C, you definitely don't want an Fmaj7 as IV chord!
    Fmaj7 is a very nice chord, but it's not a replacement for F - it's a special chord in its own right.

    If the OP wants an easier F (avoiding that nasty 6-string barre), I'd suggest the following:

    -x-- mute with index
    -1-- index
    -2-- middle
    -3-- pinky
    -3-- ring
    -x-- mute with thumb

    OR

    (5)- optional note: index barre (or mute with index)
    -6-- middle
    -5-- index (tip)
    -7-- ring
    -8-- pinky
    -x-- mute with thumb

  6. #6
    Registered User bluesking's Avatar
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    If you are accurate enough with your right hand strumming then this shape is real easy on the left hand (and sounds nice too). Although it requires a barre across two strings this is much easier than a bar across all 6!
    Code:
    1
    1
    2
    3
    x
    x
    But really, are barre chords that hard that we should suggest avoiding them altogether?

    Personally I would be more inclined to use moveable power chords for everything. Yes they sound very rocky, but at least they exercise your hands and mind for barre chords in the future. I guess its down to what kind of music you like, but still, if you happen to like Fusion or Speed Metal you probably can't just say "well, if you find it too hard, just play every other note..."
    Last edited by bluesking; 09-16-2009 at 02:37 PM.
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  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking
    If you are accurate enough with your right hand strumming then this shape is real easy on the left hand (and sounds nice too). Although it requires a barre across two strings this is much easier than a bar across all 6!
    Code:
    1
    1
    2
    3
    x
    x
    A lot of beginners still have difficulty holding down those top 2 strings with the index.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking
    But really, are barre chords that hard that we should suggest avoiding them altogether?
    I don't think anyone's suggesting that. As I see it, this is a thread for beginners, to compile a list of easy songs to play, while developing flexibility and strength.
    As a teacher, I'm always confronted with beginners who get frustrated when every song they find seems to have at least one chord they stumble on. I'm always looking for songs without barre chords for that reason: to give beginners a sense of achievement by being able to strum through a whole song (and the more the merrier) without struggling to finger a barre. What's wrong with that? (Barre chords ARE damned hard for beginners.)

    Of course we all learn to get those barre shapes (and other movable shapes) in time. But there's a hell of a lot you can do in the meantime (a lot of great songs) just using the basic open cowboy chords, getting used to changing those smoothly. (That's challenge enough for most beginners.)

    So how about some more song suggestions?

  8. #8
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    all songs can be played without bar chords.

    maybe not exactly the way the recording is, but still.

    to me, there were 3 steps in my evolution of song playing.

    the first step was learning just to play the chords in the open section area, or sometimes bar chords as well, but basically just to get the right chords down.

    then i started thinking that was amateurish, and i moved on to earing out songs to be able to play them exactly like the recordings.

    and then the third step i'm at now, is to forget how they played it on the recording, i only care again about what the framework of the chords are, just like at step one again, except i diddle around in that and play it my own way.

    you only need to play bar chords for some songs if you're at step 2.

    but if i were you, if i understand correctly, you wish to avoid bar chords because you find them difficult.

    well i find this is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing, because bar chords are sweet.

    if i were you, i'd find a simple song like smoke on the water, or wild thing, or something like that, and play those using ONLY bar chords. that way you'll get better at them.

    they are super hard at first, but then they get easier, but only after you go through the super tough stage and conquer it. but once you do, they become gold.

    I actually much prefer playing away from the nut, i don't much like open chords, and only use them when necessary, or i really like them if they allow you to play interesting chords you couldn't otherwise play.

    but like i said, if you really absolutely wish to avoid them, you can play any song that way, as long as you're at step 1 or 3. but getting to step 3 requires you pass through step 2, so i'd recommend accepting the challenge and killing those bar chords.

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Without Barre chords

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    As a teacher, I'm always confronted with beginners who get frustrated when every song they find seems to have at least one chord they stumble on. I'm always looking for songs without barre chords for that reason: to give beginners a sense of achievement by being able to strum through a whole song (and the more the merrier) without struggling to finger a barre. What's wrong with that? (Barre chords ARE damned hard for beginners.)

    Of course we all learn to get those barre shapes (and other movable shapes) in time. But there's a hell of a lot you can do in the meantime (a lot of great songs) just using the basic open cowboy chords, getting used to changing those smoothly. (That's challenge enough for most beginners.)

    So how about some more song suggestions?
    I can actually play Barre chords, but I too am teaching and looking for a list of easy songs that you can play without them thanks, any more sugestions?

  11. #11
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    I usually use "Children of the Sea" by Sabbath to to get new guitarists used to the open D minor and early barre chord work.

    I use "Nigh Moves" by Seger to teach them the open F and left-hand muting.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  12. #12
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    Hi! I'm new to this forum and to learning how to play the guitar. I am happy that I joined today while this thread was still on the first page. I have small hands (5'3") and for me I have never met a barre chord that I liked or that I could play.
    I will keep trying though, but for now, I'm so happy this thread was created. Thank you.

  13. #13
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Here's another one for the list: Hotel California.

    The original key is B minor, which needs several bar chords. But if you play with capo at 7th fret (as one of the original guitars did), you get these shapes:

    VERSE
    |Em - - - |B7 - - - |D - - - |A - - - |
    |C - - - |G - - - |Am - - - |B7 - - - |

    CHORUS
    |C - - - |G - - - |B7 - - - |Em - - - |
    |C - - - |G - - - |Am - - - |B7 - - - |

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