Let’s indulge in a little tale today….

One that weaves its threads through the world of barre chords.


It’s a story that stems from the dark heart of the Gatekeeper.

Who, you might ask, is this ‘Gatekeeper?’

If you’ve listened to the Acoustic Asylum podcast, you will be no stranger to his name.


He’s a twisted soul, one who once embarked on a journey to master the guitar, only to stumble and fail—a failure that festered, leaving him bitter and vengeful.

Now, he roams the shadowy corridors of the Acoustic Asylum, locking away unsuspecting souls who dare to try to learn guitar, deriving perverse satisfaction from their guitar-playing torment…


Well, this story is not about the Gatekeeper but about Jack and his struggles…


After decades of wanting to learn guitar, Jack had finally done it.

He could play to a decent standard and loved the guitar.

Now, he was ready to tackle barre chords on his beautiful new Martin acoustic he’d treated himself to. He took the next step on his journey…

…But after weeks of struggling, no matter what he did, Jack’s barre chords sounded as dead as a dormouse.


“Ah, the dreaded barre chord,” a whispering voice muttered from over Jacks shoulder.

“But fear not, dear guitarist, for I can help you.” The Gatekeeper spoke those words which were dripping with a sinister glee.

Desperate for help, Jack listened closely.

With skeletal fingers like a vice, the Gatekeeper adjusted Jack’s grip on the guitar.

The grip tightened, mercilessly so, as Jack’s veins felt like they were filled with ice, his arms burning with anguish.


“You must press harder… harder… HARDER!” snarled the Gatekeeper, a wicked glint in his eyes.

Jack, desperate for guidance, nodded, his eyes transfixed by the pale, ghostly hands of the Gatekeeper.

As he plucked and strummed each chord, it slowly dawned on Jack that his twisted tutor was not helping him, but his advice was making barre chords an ever-elusive, agonizing challenge.

The realisation churned Jack’s stomach, for he was spiralling down a perilous path. The more he practised in this relentless manner, the deeper the habits would entrench, and the more perilous his journey would become.


Jack opened his eyes and realised he was no longer practising at home…

…But he was now in a dark and eerie room where time seemed to stretch and his desperation grew.

Outside, a blood-red moon hung low, casting a grotesque shadow over the accursed Acoustic Asylum.


The Gatekeeper’s malicious laughter reverberated through the derelict walls, a symphony of despair as Jack’s barre chords grew increasingly distorted and infuriatingly elusive.

The Gatekeeper had become his malevolent tormentor, the architect of his barre chord ruin.

And within those accursed walls, Jack’s musical soul was on the cusp of forever being ensnared in the treacherous web of darkness spun by the Gatekeeper.


Can Jack escape? Is he doomed? Is his fate sealed?

To be continued…


Now, I know this little bit of fiction is a bit of fun…

…But it does paint a picture of how many people feel down when it comes to learning barre chords. And sadly, the Gatekeeper’s advice is not all too uncommon in the world of guitar.

You see, there are plenty of well-meaning folks, both experts and amateurs, who’ll offer similar counsel where they speak of only power and not technique.

They want to help, no doubt about it, but you’ve got to tread with caution when it comes to barre chords.


It’s all about using a well-set-up, suitable guitar, AND proper technique – plain and simple.

Without both, you’re sailing into treacherous waters.

Always remember that.


I’ll share some specific tips with you to help you practise, improve, and fix your barre chords.

…But let me know if you liked this story.

I’ll either share the tips in a ‘normal’ way or as part of Jack’s story, so let me know if you enjoyed it.

…And if you did, maybe we can see if Jack can escape the Gatekeeper’s wrath and escape the Acoustic Asylum for good.


For now though, if you ever feel like Jack and you want more help with your barre chords, you may want to check this out…

The Ultimate Guide to Barre Chords


It’s on sale with a big hearty discount for a few more days.

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


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.

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