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“Bar Chord Mechanics – Part 1”

By Jeff Vivrette

Forming and playing bar chords are typically difficult to learn for most guitarists. In this article, I will be showing you some of the mechanics that will make it easier for you to play bar chords.

This can also be helpful for those of you that already know how to play bar chords but may be struggling to play them well consistently and/or are experiencing issues with hand fatigue.

Component #1: “The Bar”

In bar chords, the first finger is used as a bar to fret more than one string across the same fret. For your typical 6th & 5th string root bar chords, the first finger will bar across 3 or 2 strings. Three strings for the 6th string root bar chord & 2 strings for the 5th string root bar chord. Your index finger will push the string down in 2 basic locations across your finger:

1) On the pad of your finger towards the tip
2) Near the middle of your finger at approximately the second knuckle.

One misconception amongst beginner guitar players (and some more experienced players) is that the bar finger should lay flat across the strings. In this scenario, the strings would be pushed down with the underside of your index finger. To the contrary, the bar finger should be curved. In this scenario, the strings will be pushed down by the finger slightly towards the side of your index finger.

The pictures below illustrate the right and wrong way to lay your finger across the strings.

Pic 1: Finger Flat across strings Pic 2: Curved

Pic 3: Marks on finger pic 1 Pic 4: Marks on finger pic 2

Give this a try and see how much your bar chord’s improve!

In “Bar Chord Mechanics – Part 2” I will show you how to improve your ability to change from an open chord to a bar chord!

If you have any questions on this, send me an email  to here and I’ll off you some personal advice based on your specific situation.

If you would like to learn more about taking guitar lessons with me please click-here


Until next time, take care and don’t let anything keep you from your dreams!

©2011 By Jeff Vivrette. All Rights Reserved.