If you like fiction, this email may be for you.
…And if you want some tips on playing barre chords, it will also be for you.
First up though, if you read my email on Friday, you will have heard the story of Jack.
Here’s a quick recap…
After many attempts at trying to learn the guitar, Jack finally became a successful guitarist… but barre chords were a painful struggle.
…Yet the shady ‘Gatekeeper’ showed him terrible ways to play barre chords which led to painful fingers and awful habits… And then Jack ended up in the sinister Acoustic Asylum.
You can fully recap Jack’s story HERE, but we pick up Jack’s story from this point…
Will Jack finally master barre chords? Is he doomed to suffer with the curse of bad technique forever? And can he escape the Acoustic Asylum?
Jack’s existence inside the Acoustic Asylum quickly became a symphony of suffering.
The Gatekeeper’s malevolence showed no mercy. He revelled in Jack’s every failed attempt at mastering the enigmatic barre chords.
…But on one fateful night, as the Gatekeeper had slithered away through the Asylum’s corridors like an oppressive fog, a glimmer of hope emerged in Jack’s darkest hour.
Jack lay on his cot, his battered fingers resting on the guitar beside him.
He stared at the cracked ceiling and there was a subtle scratching on the cell of his door, followed by the faint sound of something dropping to the floor.
Jack’s pulse quickened and he picked up a match, struck it against the stone floor, and a flame flickered to life.
The dim illumination revealed some ancient musical scribings, notes, and messages on the damp, dreary stone of his cell.
These messages, left behind by previous inmates, offered a lifeline, a series of clues on how to conquer the riddle of barre chords.
Here’s what they said:
- Remove your iron grip: Stop pressing so hard with your barre chords. Instead, precisely place your fingers in the ideal position, adjust, and then add just a little pressure. The need to forge one’s fingers into unyielding iron is silly.
- The magic of one – The second message held the secret of simplicity. Do not try to master multiple barre chord shapes at once. Doing so leads to a long and painful path. Instead, focus on one shape and master it.
- 5 seconds, no more – Don’t sit there squeezing the barre chord shape with your fretting hand for more than 5 seconds. Try the barre chord and then remove all pressure and try again. Rest your weary hands.
- The ‘missing’ finger aka ‘Bindex’ chords – Every day, spend time practising open chords such as C and Am without using your index finger. This will help your other fingers become more dextrous for when you attempt barres.
- Pluck don’t strum – Listen to the guitar, for it breathes. Its soul shall guide you to the heart of the chord. Stop strumming your barres and instead pluck each note in the chord, as you will not easily hear which are the dead notes if you strum.
- ‘Reverse’ barres – This message spoke of how you should set up your barre chords in reverse. In other words, when you fret the shape, put the non-barre fingers on first and the barre finger itself last (rarely do people do this, but it helps).
- Patience in perseverance: The final message pleaded for patience, a sense of urgency beneath its words. It beseeched, “Do not falter, do not give in. Keep trying and one day, the chords shall yield.”
Jack absorbed these cryptic teachings and hope ignited within him like a smouldering ember. Armed with newfound knowledge, he put these insights into practice.
Day by day, he toiled tirelessly, honing his technique with each try.
Time became an abstract concept as he delved deeper into the mysteries of the barre chords. The Asylum’s walls, once oppressive, now reverberated with the determined echoes of his fingers on the strings.
He picked up his guitar and began to play and he felt a peculiar sensation, a subtle vibration that seemed to emanate from his guitar.
As he continued to play, he noticed the iron bars on his cell window trembling ever so slightly in response to the music.
It was as if the chords themselves held the power to move the very world around him.
He played with a passion and skill he had never known before, each note causing the iron bars to vibrate and groan.
With a final, triumphant chord, Jack watched in awe as the bars on his cell made an almighty crack and gave way, creating just enough space for him to slip through.
He descended from the window into the night with the icy air swirling around him.
But freedom was still a distant dream, for he now faced the treacherous task of escaping the guarded outside grounds of the Asylum.
Jack puffed up his chest as knew he was now on the path to barre chord mastery…
…Yet the road ahead to find his way home was still before him and the next chapter of his journey awaited…
A quest to reunite with his beloved wife and escape the clutches of the Acoustic Asylum for good.
Well, I hope you enjoyed Jack’s story.
It’s a bit of fun.
…And who doesn’t enjoy being creative?
Do feel free to let me know your thoughts on this.
One day, I may delve deeper into Jack’s story, but for the time being, I’ll be writing more ‘normal’ emails, haha.
I do hope you enjoyed that though and that the tips were helpful.
Sometimes it’s good to share advice in different ways – it sticks better that way, I find.
…And storytelling is a fun, proven way to help information ‘stick’.
Anyway, if that whet your appetite for barre chords and how to play them with proper technique, don’t forget…
Until tomorrow night my barre chords course is on sale and you can check it out below:
Have a great day…
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.