7 quick barre chord tips

Barre chords are one of the biggest and most brutal tests of a guitarist’s technique.

For many guitarists, practising barres can be as painful as spending a week at the North pole wearing only a Christmas jumper.


Yes, that’s a nice image, but you get the point – barres can be tough, gruelling, and even painful.

…But, when practised the right way, learning barre chords can be very liberating.


If you have struggled with them before or want to try ‘em, here are 7 quick barre chord tips to help…

#1 – Prioritise precision over power. Each finger in the barre should be close to the fret. Get in a precise position before adding any pressure to the chord. So many beginners do this backwards, where they start with pressure and then adjust the fingers. That is wrong. Position first and THEN pressure.

#2 – Practise “Bindex” chords – It’s a silly name but a powerful technique. “Bindex” chords are where you practise open chords such as C E G in the normal way… but only using your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers. You’re not allowed to use your index! What this does is get these fingers nimbler and better prepared to play the chord shapes when playing a barre chord.

#3 – Practise barre chords on a well-set-up guitar. You need to practise barres on a guitar you enjoy playing. Can you play open chords comfortably on your guitar? If not, then barres will be harder than they need to be too. It’s an obvious tip, but an important one to remember.

#4 – Work on one shape at a time – Don’t try to learn too many barre shapes at once. I always ensure students work on one shape at first in a methodical and precise way (usually the A minor shape).

#5 – Use “Reverse Barre Chords” – This is where you put your non-barre fingers on the fretboard first and THEN the barre finger on last. Doing this will help you to set up and position your non-barre fingers properly. Most people put the barre finger on first and they give far less thought to the other fingers.

#6 – Practise the barre chord on a fret that is comfortable for you – Practising a barre chord at fret 5, 6, or 7 can be far easier for many than fret 1 or 2. Find what fret feels most comfortable for you when playing the barre and perfect it there before moving the barre around the fretboard.

#7 – Only add pressure to the barre chord for 5 seconds or so – This is a super important tip. Play the chord, check the notes are clear, and relax the fingers immediately (this will stop you from getting achy, sore hands and muscles). In other words, never just sit there and press the barre shape for extended periods!


Those are some simple common-sense (yet rarely taught) pointers on practising barre chords.

If you want more, including the precise techniques needed and the things which make the difference between pleasurable and painful barre chords, all taught in video, then check out my course.

It is on sale with a hefty discount, but only until Sunday.

The discount has been applied already, so there is no need to enter a coupon code or anything like that.

Here is the link to find out more about it:

Find out more about The Ultimate Guide to Barre Chords


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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