Here are two more interesting emails and comments I have got lately.

I hope you find the emails and my thoughts useful…

Today we are talking about arthritis/getting older, and the fun of learning barre chords…


Email #1

“Dear Dan,

I greatly appreciate your words about arthritis. I have just been diagnosed with arthritis at the base of my thumb which causes pain and has made it necessary to wear a thumb immobilizer on my right hand. 

This makes picking patterns difficult, but not impossible as I learn alternate ways of playing and using fingers to strum instead of a pick. I see my challenge as difficult, but not impossible as I explore new ways of playing.

I think those of us who as we age experience challenges that affect our playing, can still through determination find ways to musically express ourselves despite whatever physical issues may come our way.

Thanks again for your daily words of wisdom and encouragement.”



I am really pleased to read that Susan is finding ways around this.

Like she says, the issue is a challenge, but not an impossible one.

The fact that she is finding ways to express herself musically is very encouraging too.

I talked about this last week with Keith Richards.

He mentioned his struggles with arthritis and how the positive thing is that he is now seeing new ways to play things on the guitar.


Physical issues aren’t much fun.

The past few weeks I’ve had persistent pain in my left elbow any time I do any sort of upper-body exercise at the gym.

The pain isn’t there until I exercise and I don’t get any pain when I play guitar.

…So on a lighter note, maybe it’s just nature’s way of telling me to skip the gym and play guitar instead. Haha

I’m okay with that!


Email #2

“These methods really work. Got a lot to work on, and lots of practice to get right. At the beginning of my guitar journey a C chord was hard now I don’t even think about it. Yes barre chords are difficult but with practice they will eventually become natural.

It is so frustrating when you see a song you want to learn, then you see the barre chords. I then tell myself I will come back to this music at a later day.

Thank you for this important lesson I can now see a glimmer of hope, which alongside your other teachings will fall into place.” 



Barre chords are great fun when you nail them… but they can seem insurmountable.

Do remember though, if you’ve ever conquered anything else on the guitar before (a song, a chord change, a picking pattern, or anything)…

…Then you too can conquer barre chords!

They’re not impossible and it’s not an on/off switch between being able to play them or not.

You have to work at them slowly and methodically, and you’ll see steady progress.

Then you’ll have the inevitable breakthrough.


If you struggle with anything, do what Sean did and look back at how far you’ve come. Think of the days of when you had no clue how to do anything on the guitar (we were all there at some point). Doing so can be a good reminder you can achieve what you put your mind to.

If you want more help with barre chords and the specific lesson Sean talked about, it’s in my In Focus course.

This is the exact plan of lessons I teach students privately… all recorded in video with full TAB and notation.

The course is the main one in the Academy, which you can check out below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Remember, barre chords are just another hurdle you will overcome if you stick with it.

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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