Bar Chords are HARD!
Hey there, I see a lot of challenges when people are first starting to play guitar but there are a few who come back over and over and one of the big ones is Bar Chords Are Hard! I've heard that so many times. I can relate. I can remember when I was first learning to play guitar. I thought "Boy, I don’t know if I'll ever be able to actually play it smooth." But you know, now I don’t give it a second thought. I have many videos that I've created kinda on different aspects on how to play bar chords and prepare for them. But in this video, I wanna talk about something that I think comes before all of these exercises.
I think a lot of people have, deep down inside, the idea that maybe they'll never be able to do it. Maybe they're somehow not talented enough for it. Somehow they'll never have what it takes to actually get to that place that they see other people do.
I wanna start off by telling you that I know if you stick with it long enough you can do it because I've seen it over and over and over. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone I've seen that just start with it long enough couldn't do it including people who have had lessons and even people who have not had lessons. Now the thing to do is to have an organized approach but I've seen people who are not terribly organized still be able to play bar chords. They are just were really persistent. If you are not that persistent personality, I would suggest more of an organized systematic approach.
Now here's the thing, I also see over and over people kind of assuming they should be able to pick a bar chords fairly quickly and then when they I find out they can't, they're disappointed and then that’s when self-talk starts come into play. The thing is, you know, if you just go to a bar chord and because its first time that you've needed it and start trying to play it, you really had a disadvantage. It’s much harder than any of the other chords that you've been playing up to that point all the open type chords and its more difficult than even like this power chords.
A full bar chord takes a certain amount of strength and finesse. It’s not just strength but it takes getting your finger in kinda just the right place. And then for most people, it just doesn’t come all of a sudden. It comes through persistent practice.
Now what would I recommend for most people is to (2:23) about it in a systematic manner instead of going "I'm gonna learn this bar chord and then apply it to a song” Start working on your bar chords before you actually need it for a song or for a specific technique. Start practicing it in pieces. There are many ways to go about this and there's no absolute one right way that I know of any way but here's to give you an example. Here's kinda how I would go about with a student.
When they're just learning their first open chords. I'd start having practice an exercise kinda like this - just going up the neck and playing a bar and hearing one of the sound and pulsing down in the string. You strengthen your finger and getting used to what it takes to press down all those strings.
Now from there, I'd probably go to having them do some form of the bar chord without the bar maybe with just one finger, kinda like that where I just put my right finger on the base note and then maybe start adding the two together. I just started off with bar chords by the way more up in the neck because unfortunately the F chord is the one most we will need first but its hardest ones because its down here next to the knot and pressing the strings right there takes more tension than a little more technique than doing it up and here. So I can practice some bar chords up and here and then move back down to the F chord. That’s just an idea.
Now I created a course that’s part of my Real Guitar Success membership program and that’s a step by step doing just what I just described like video after video starting with basic exercises and moving up. But I wanna tell you, you don’t need that to do this. Really, you can do it on your own. You just have to be persistent and you have to be willing to kinda sit in a place of – you know “I can’t do this at first.” Break it down smaller. Hold yourself back from trying to get to the full bar chords and using it. If you feel like you’re getting really frustrated go back a step, backing a little bit more. And I want to reiterate, you really can do this. Just go about it in a more strategic way, in a long-term. Think of it long term but be open to the possibility that one day, you’ll just have a breakthrough and it seems to come together. Step by step and if you start working just go with it. And most importantly, don’t just give up after trying it a few times. Really, take your time. Keep coming back at it.
I'm gonna put some links to some exercises in the description here. If I forget, please remind me in the comments and leave me some comments. Let me know how do you like this or if you like to see some other videos on similar topics. I look forward to seeing you again. I’m Tomas Michaud from Real Guitar Success. Thanks for spending this time with me.
For members of Real Guitar Success, I’ve created a step-by-step plan to go from newbie to never shying away from a song with bar chords again.
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When he's not making guitar instruction videos or creating more music to record (currently 7 CDs including Beauty and Fire) he's riding his bike along the beach with his dog Marco Polo or traveling to interesting places with his lovely wife Pui.