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Are some necks better than others for bar chords??

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by DaphneBlue, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Sep 1, 2009
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    ha! yes, uh, barre chords
    DaphneBlue likes this.
  2. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Holic

    Jul 22, 2017
    Thanks for the replies! You're amazing folks!
  3. hmemerson

    hmemerson Tele-Meister Vendor Member

    May 17, 2019
    Huntington Station, NY
    No. It has nothing to do with the way you play.

    Necks are necks, the same way a 32L Levi's 501 Jean is always cut the same.

    The difference, overlooked by almost everyone, is the human being that is experiencing said product.

    It comes down to simple ergonomics: Just because it don't work for you doesn't mean the exact same thing won't be nirvana for someone else.

    Every time you pick up ANY GUITAR, you should be taking notes of some sort. Mental, paper & pencil, phone dictation, etc. If it happens to feel good in your hands, FIND OUT WHY!!!!

    What size fret wire, what gauge strings, what radius neck, what body size or shape, were you standing or sitting, etc, etc, etc.

    It. All. Makes. A. Difference. In. How. A. Particular. Instrument. Feels. In. Your. Hands.

    By the way: I play heavy strings with fairly high action, I use very large fret wire, and all my guitars have very large neck profiles, yet I have no callus buildup on my fingertips to speak of.

    Why? It's certainly not because I'm special!

    It's because I listen to what my hands tell me.

    Howard Emerson
    DaphneBlue likes this.
  4. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 10, 2015
    Italy and Switzerland
    Most replies said everything that needed saying re: the gear aspect.

    I would insist on another point raised by a few members: on the electric guitar, it's a rare case when you want to spell out a full 6-note chord.

    Smaller chords made of 2, 3 or tops 4 notes just tend to work better regardless of genre: power chords, shell chords, "Freddie Green" chords, high triads, low triads…

    In this year of confinement I've been playing (badly, as usual) lots of different stuff – swing, stunted attempts at be-bop, Pink Floyd, country, funk jazz, surf… – and I cannot remember ever playing a full barré chord on an electric.

    If you're uncomfortable with barré chords (who isn't?), it might be a good idea to consider expanding further your vocabulary of chord voicings.

    PS: If it so happens that you're in the rare case when barré chords are needed, I offer my apologies for this long and irrelevant post ;)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    P Thought, DaphneBlue and SRHmusic like this.
  5. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 5, 2017
    Received wisdom is that a 7.25" rad. fretboard is 'easiest' for barre chords as your finger can wrap around the neck rather than needing to be pressed flat.
    But, the same as with string gauges, it's way more about your 'feel' for a neck.
    Personally I like Fender 7.25", with 60s or Modern C, necks ... but I'm used to them from decades back.
    I can play Fender 9.5" necks and have an SG with a Slim Taper 60s 12" rad, but they, especially the 12", will tire my left hand if I play barre chords for too long in any one session.

    No way round this one but to try a bunch out and see what's best; biggest problem with that statement of course is trying one out in a shop for X minutes might seem fine - but playing it for a couple of hours is entirely different!
    DaphneBlue likes this.
  6. corbo

    corbo TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Nov 18, 2018
    Upstate NY
    I hold down a lot of barre chords in my tunes, and I find that it depends a lot not just on the neck (thickness, radius, nut width, scale length, height of the action)but on your hands. I have big palms and comparatively short fingers, so finding necks that work for me took time. But there’s no shortcut around work. Holding down barre chords is its own skill. It takes commitment to really practice and practice. If your hand doesn’t hurt, it’ll be your shoulder or your neck, for some time. But if you keep at it, you’ll push through.
    DaphneBlue likes this.
  7. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2018
    I find it easier to keep my hand relaxed when playing barre chords with a smaller radius fingerboard.

    I think it has to do with needing less tension and pressure on my first finger, and I haven't noticed a difference with thicker vs. thinner necks, or wider vs. narrower.

    I'll keep experimenting, I just need some more guitars :)
    DaphneBlue likes this.
  8. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

    Jul 16, 2020
    Somewhere between here and there
    Yes, I think there are some necks that are better for just playing in general. My Anniversary Broadcaster is generally easier to play than my Am. St.. Barre chords are really easy on the Broadcaster and I rarely get fatigue in my fingers, where as the Am. St. tends to be exhausting. Mainly because of the thinner profile, but also because of the 9.5" radius. I like a big chunky neck like you would find on a good acoustic.
    DaphneBlue likes this.
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