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Thread: trouble with Fm barre chord

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Question trouble with Fm barre chord

    I've been playing for about 5 months, going through the Guitar For Dummies book. I got to the E-based F barre chord. After a few days, I finally got it (surprising since the book says it's a very difficult chord for beginners).

    But now I'm on the E-based F minor chord; the same as F major barre chord but with the second finger lifted. My problem is that the third (G) string doesn't ring properly because it's not pushed down enough by the barring index finger.

    My fingers are about average length, but skinny.

    Should I just press down harder and squeeze with my thumb to help increase pressure? Or should I try moving my index finger to slightly differeent positions?

    Thanks in advance.
    Patrick

  2. #2
    Mode Rator Zatz's Avatar
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    Patrick,

    I guess the problem is that G string gets placed between your forefinger joints and hence is pressed down not so firmly as the rest of the strings. The outer side of this finger is a bit more straight and you could twist your left wrist slightly clockwise to enable better grip.
    This is easier to do using fore-, ring and little finger just to start off:

    |-1-|---|---|
    |-1-|---|---|
    |-1-|---|---|
    |-1-|---|-4-|
    |-1-|---|-3-|
    |-1-|---|---|

    Anyways, don't worry about it - it just takes time, sometimes there's no logic in it, just practice.

    Ultra mega best regards,
    Zatz.

  3. #3
    Registered User metallibeast's Avatar
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    What's up?

    I've seen some people put their middle finger on top of their index finger to help play this kind of chords. After a while, when your index finger gains more strength, you probably won't need to use your middle finger anymore.

    Good luck

    -Beast

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies. After a few days, I'm starting to get it. It's one of those things that, if you keep at it, you eventually get it, even though you don't know how.

    New problem: I'm now trying to do E-based 7th barre chords. They're like regular E-based barre chords, except you now lift the pinkie finger. Same problem...but I'll keep at it and see if I can get it...
    Patrick

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by Zatz
    Patrick,
    ...you could twist your left wrist slightly clockwise...
    Or counterclockwise, depending on how you look at it.
    Also, always keep in mind that as you're starting out, your tendency will probably be to think that you're not strong enough. While that is often the case, when starting out you tend to not realize how much a slight adjustment in technique will change the quality of the fretting (like rotating your hand, for instance). Play around with shifting angles and stuff like that.

    Also, for the first 2 years I always played with my thumb wrapped around the neck, and it was hell getting used to placing my thumb on the back of the neck, to provide greater mobility. My point being that it's good that you be concious of technique right out of the gate as it will save you time and suffering in the future.

  6. #6
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    Beginner's (understandably) usually start out with cheap guitars. One thing that differentiates between good and bad instruments is the ease of playing the guitar affords (while still maintaining other qualities such as tone and minimal buzz). Some poorly made steel-string accoustics are incredibly difficult to fret well around the first position.

    One experiment you might want to try is to go to a guitar shop and play some of the higher price guitars (for some reason the higher quality guitars cost more ) to see if you can notice a difference. You also might want to consider asking someone who builds or fixes guitars to evaluate your guitar to verify that it is set up correctly. (Amazing how many guitars have too high/low action, high/low frets, etc. and other stuff that can be adjusted/fixed quite easily.)

    At any rate, the 3rd string on certain full barre chords is often troublesome even for good players. Sometimes you can work-around problems like this. For example, sometimes but not always it sounds just as good or better just to play only the lower four strings, fretting just the 1st and 2nd.

    Also, sometimes just resting for a day (play something else), then coming back to it will work wonders. You can also try capoing at a higher fret, where it is easier to fret, then gradually going down as your hand gets stronger.
    Complaxity is the first refuge of the scoundrel

  7. #7
    Central Scrutinizer
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    Just a suggestion, in case you haven't tried it, but have you tried playing it higher up the neck like as a Bm bar chord at the 7th fret.
    That way you don't gotta strech your hand as far. Also you might wanna try the smaller 4 string version first to help you with barring.

    The smaller version would be first finger across the first three strings at the first fret and 3rd finger at 3rd fret on the 4th string. I personally lay my first finger across all four strings at the first fret the drop my 3rd finger at the 3rd fret 4th string.
    Again you might wanna try this first higher up the neck at like the 7th fret or so.
    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the correct one." William of Occam

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies. I'm now learning A-based barre chords (major, minor, dominant 7th, minor 7th, major 7th). I've found that it takes experimentation with arm, hand and finger positions, and building up left hand strength. Yes; I noticed that how far up or down on the neck also makes a difference. I think I'm slowly starting to get it...
    Patrick

  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    One thing most beginners don't usually get, is that just because you can voice all six strings with barre chords doesn't mean that you should. In general as you play more and more you will find your self using narrower voicings for chords.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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