Barre Chord Bliss

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Toast, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I was stuck in a practice rut where I was kind of playing the same uninspired thing every time I picked up my guitar. I noticed I was always gravitating to the 5th fret A barre chord whenever I picked up my guitar. I seemed to be stuck strumming the A (I), D (IV), E (V) barre chords over and over. I think part of it was that I was coming to my practices already tired from work and not really feeling up to diving into some complicated song passage. I just wanted to strum.

    Anyway, so I decided that was okay for having a low energy, unfocused strumming screw-around. However, I figured if I was just going to strum some barre chords, I should probably get off the 5th fret and move around the neck a little. I decided I would strum I, IV, V chords in strumming patterns and chucks that I liked playing. To keep my fretboard memorization going, I decided to say the chord name every time I changed to the new chord. I also threw in the condition that I couldn't move to a new chord until I had its name in my mind.

    So I started down the fretboard playing the barre chords on the natural notes along the sixth string. Those were my I chords. I'd drop down to the 5th string and play the IV chord, then jump two frets and play the V chord, and then head back to the I chord or noodle around however I wanted. Anyway, this became something of a warm up for me.

    Chords
    F-Bb-C (Begin on 1st fret)
    G-C-D (3rd fret)
    A-D-E (5th fret)
    B-E-F# (7th fret)
    C-F-G (8th fret)
    D-G-A (10th fret)
    E-A-B (12th fret) . . .

    So I played around with this for a couple of days as a warmup. Anyway, so I come to TDPRI and start listening to tunes people link to. The first song I listen to I immediately recognize it starting on the 10th fret D chord. I picked up my guitar strummed along with the song. Yep, it was the 10th fret D chord. Anyway, the upshot of all this is that this little exercise really opened my ear up. It seems so obvious to me now that this would expand my musical consciousness. I wish I had tried it 10 years ago when I first learned barre chords.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  2. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. I also try to come up with practice routines that use a particular chord progression, and make sure to utilize all the inversions up and down the neck, both for chording and soloing. It definitely helps getting out of those ruts before they become too deep.
     
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  3. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, I'm heading in that direction. I want to try doing something with the minor chords along the sixth string. I'm sure I'll end up heading into the inversions at some point.
     
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  4. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member

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    I kept finding songs I wanted to play often had one or more chords I hated for one reason or another.

    Now when I'm ready I actually welcome a new chord into my repertoire, and everything I add to my arsenal seems to make playing easier.
     
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  5. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    The only chords I hate are the ones I pull out of tune or misfinger. In other words, the chords I hate are the ones I don't play correctly. For the longest time, I wasn't happy with my open C chord. Yeah, that's like the first chord I learned after E minor (2nd fret A & D strings). I could play it fine by itself, but when I had to play it in a mix of chords I flubbed it a lot. The full open G chord with the ring finger and pinky down on the 1st and 2nd strings still defies me a lot. I'm relentlessly pursuing the muscle memory for it, mostly because I prefer its fullness. So it goes. It's the journey they say ;).
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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  6. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I find I'm often swapping between the standard open G (so I can add the C on the 2nd string), and the open G you mention (to add the D on the 2nd string).

    Sometimes I inadvertantly play a barred G when I needed to land an open G -- (practice, practice)

    So many flavours, even with just the G chord.
     
  7. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    For some people, the F word is a problem. Not for me. The F chord however…
     
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  8. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    The barre chords are the easiest chords for me to play. I cheat with the G barre chord on the third fret when I feel like I'm going to flub the open G chord. Sometimes you have to choose your battles :).
     
  9. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I'm in pitched battle to go from open A to full open G to F (on the D, G, B, and E strings) to F6 ("Proud Mary"). I'm making it harder by playing the full open G chord. I don't really have to play the full open G because I can get away with playing the top 3 strings, but it's become a kind of exercise for me now.

    What I mean by the full open G chord.

    ------3-------------
    ------2-------------
    --------------------
    --------------------
    ------3-------------
    ------3-------------
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
  10. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Edit: repost deleted. Somehow I went off line, came back on later in 'reader' mode and posted the same thing again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Kudos on searching, Toast. I have to make two observations. One is that when one is in the key of F as in your first chord sequence, one is not playing A# but rather Bb when one plays the IV chord. The reason is that there is one flat in the key of F, and that is Bb. The second is that when moving from the IV chord to the V chord, one is moving one step up...which is not one fret but two.
     
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  12. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Thanks, I fixed it :).
     
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  13. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    I don't mean to sound nitpicky, but for nomenclature I would also suggest that when you go from 6:th string to 5:th, you dont "drop down". You go up.

    Yes, I know it's closer to the floor, but notewise it's up. Pitchwise it's up. On tabulature it's up. If you look at your guitar when you're playing it's also up in the image you see (because you're looking at it sort of upside down).
     
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  14. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Good suggestion. I have to remember that for the next time I write one of these. I'd fix it, but my edit window has closed. I'd copy the whole thing, edit it, and repost, but I have to go to work. So, you're welcome to fix it :).
     
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  15. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member

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    Yes, F and B were early bugbears for me.
     
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  16. blueruins

    blueruins Tele-Meister

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    I’ve got some friends who play guitar. They tell me that they don’t know how to play barre chords because they’re “too hard” or they “hurt their fingers”.
    One of these guys tells me that he gets irritated when he sees a chord he doesn’t know and just substituted a min/maj.
    These same guys tell me they want to be better guitar players...we all want to be better guitar players.
    You have to stay curious and remain a lifetime student. Music is an infinite discipline that will always reward effort in the long run.
    Growth always involves a little stretching.
    Great that you’re keeping your eyes open.
     
  17. Guran

    Guran Friend of Leo's

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    No need to fix it now. It was meant for future reference. :)
     
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  18. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I've been in a harmonic rut for a long time. I've written a number of tunes in Gm that use the chords Gm, Bb, C, Dm, F and occasionally Am. I got these after playing a lot of Celtic tunes that include I IV V and also their relative minors. Some tunes do things like change between major and minor in the various sections. E.g. the fiddle tune "Wake Up to Cape Breton" A part is E major and B part is E minor. It's easy to do but sounds very cool!

    Another thing I did, perhaps intuitively, would be to take a 3 chord sequence and make one of them minor, e.g. instead of G, C, D, try Gm, C, D, or G, C, Dm. See where that leads you.
     
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  19. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Your first example...Gm, Bb, C Dm, F is in the key of F, imho, in which the chords occur in this manner...
    F,Gm,Am,Bb,C, Dm, Edim.
    The second excercise got interesting for me when I considered G,Cm,D mad ended up playing G, Bb6add9—a Cm chord with Bb in the bass, and then D major. I am not classically trained, but it seems that I have heard that somewhere in some classical piece. Then, when I hit a D7 cord with the bass on C with a bass movement from C-D-C-Bb-A to get back to the G major chord it got interesting. Yes, I am on a piano for this. Thanks for the impetus to try something different.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  20. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Good topic... whatever level one is at on guitar, one can still fall into a rut. Forcing oneself to explore the fretboard can lead to fresh discoveries.


    It sounds like you may have a special knack for "pitch memory" (if not actual "perfect pitch") — keep pushing yourself, who knows what other innate talents you may have that will emerge?

    While you're working on the barre chords, try making small changes to the fingerings of the non-barred notes to get different flavors—for example (in this case at the open position; works the same in barre chords):

    Em6 = 022020 (the 2nd string is the 6th of the chord, C#)

    Em9 = 022002 (the 1st string is the 9th, F#)


    And same with Major and dominant 7 chords:

    E6 = 022120

    E9 (dominant): 020102


    Try those, then try them as barre chords up the neck...you multiply the number of chords you know.


    Gradually, you will recognize which notes in a chord are the "added flavors" and learn to add them where they sound good.


    Hope that helps...I'm doing a similar thing with a weird 'artificial scale' that forces me to learn whole new patterns and 'shapes' on the fretboard.
     
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