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Thread: Curious fingering question

  1. #1

    Curious fingering question

    I can no longer hold a barre chord completely on the frets. My index finger curves naturally, so itís a struggle to hold all strings down. I can do it, it just takes effort. So now I play a barre chord (F) using my index on 1/2, middle on 3, ring and pinky on 4/5, and thumb on 6. Anyone else experience this?

  2. #2
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    Wow, that sounds tougher than playing a regular barre chord! But if you're gettiing the job done, good on you for sticking with it and finding a way.

    I do use my thumb on the 6th string a lot, but not for barre chords.
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    Senior Member walrus's Avatar
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    I agree that seems harder, but if it works better for you, do it! There's always different ways to fret chords, sometimes it just depends on how you first learned fret to a particular chord, sometimes it has to with comfort, etc. I play certain chords a few different ways depending on how I'm trying to "get there".

    Whatever works is best!

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Antney View Post
    I can no longer hold a barre chord completely on the frets....
    I find I can barre chord easier on a guitar with a fretboard that has more of a radius to it and slightly deeper / fuller neck profile. Thus my Guild Standard F30's are much easier for me to barre chord than my Froggy Bottoms. Also, I notice my friend had to adjust the way he holds his guitar to a more classical guitar position to relieve the stress on this joints. He also had to sell his jumbo guitars for smaller more manageable guitars like the 00 and 000 sized guitar with shorter scales. Truthfully, I think he is much better guitar player now due to these changes. I keep an open mind to this as I know I'm heading down that path too.

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  5. #5
    I play the 1st position F either way depending on what chords come before and after it. Whichever way feels more comfortable.

    It may be odd, but as I've gotten older my left index finger has become more flexible and stronger. :) When I got my first Dano-made Silvertone, playing full barres on the nearly flat fretboard needed extra effort. Nowadays I don't even notice the flatness. I am getting more sensitive to neck shape & depth, though: my hands like 'em fatter than they used to. I suspect there are some guitars I really like, such as my S-100s, that I'll eventually have to let go due to this.

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    Last edited by Quantum Strummer; 10-12-2019 at 06:42 PM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member davismanLV's Avatar
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    My hands are fairly large and they're strong but as I've gotten older maybe I've lost some strength. I play in a lot of open tunings and there are barre chords all over the place. But usually there's only two other strings to fret below the barre, so I use my middle finger on top of my index finger to reinforce it. I get a better and cleaner sound that way. However, that won't work with F because you'll run out of fingers. But with say A#m, it's good. I was watching someone play recently in a video and noted they did the same thing, so I guess it's a thing.

    p.s. - as walrus said, I do play the same chord differently depending on where I'm coming from and where I'm going to. It's never a static thing, especially with more simple chords.
    Last edited by davismanLV; 10-12-2019 at 06:50 PM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Antney View Post
    I can no longer hold a barre chord completely on the frets. My index finger curves naturally, so it’s a struggle to hold all strings down. I can do it, it just takes effort. So now I play a barre chord (F) using my index on 1/2, middle on 3, ring and pinky on 4/5, and thumb on 6. Anyone else experience this?
    Lots of players do that. Jazz artists, especially, but anyone can. Personally, I don't generally think it's as comfortable as a barre, though my left thumb is sometimes handy (pun intended) - for instance to complete a cowboy D chord.

    Some folks do all kinds of nifty bass lines with their left thumbs - again, jazz players especially.

    The more you work that thumb, the more uses you'll find for it. A barre is a sensible place to start.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 10-13-2019 at 02:35 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Guildedagain's Avatar
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    I learned to keep my thumb behind the neck, just now getting around to using it and it's not easy. TE has some amazing chords with the thumb, some Chet thing, "a fistful of E" he called it.

  9. #9
    This just in: some nice examples of some simple thumb fretting at 3:10, 3:53, 4:55, and 6:33, including the faux barre you're talking about, the six-string D chord I like, and more:

    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 10-14-2019 at 12:40 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantum Strummer View Post
    I am getting more sensitive to neck shape & depth, though: my hands like 'em fatter than they used to.
    Me too, really apparent in how much more I like the D40's neck now, it's the got "baseball bat" neck of the litter.
    15 years ago after I first bought it I thought it felt like the action was too high 'cause it felt harder to fret than the other 2, but no, it spec'd out just like the other 2.
    It took me a couple of years to figure out it was the neck profile.
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