Curious fingering question

Antney

Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
364
Reaction score
40
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?
 

dreadnut

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2005
Messages
9,495
Reaction score
226
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.
 

walrus

Venerated Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2006
Messages
15,768
Reaction score
225
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!

walrus
 

tommym

Member
Joined
May 5, 2013
Messages
549
Reaction score
0
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.

Tommy
 

Quantum Strummer

Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
2,325
Reaction score
62
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.

-Dave-
 
Last edited:

davismanLV

Venerated Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
11,927
Reaction score
409
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:
Joined
Nov 8, 2017
Messages
301
Reaction score
3
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:

Guildedagain

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
1,657
Reaction score
36
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.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2017
Messages
301
Reaction score
3
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:

adorshki

Reverential Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Messages
28,469
Reaction score
42
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.
 
Top