3 Reasons Why Most People Struggle With Barred Chords On Guitar

By Maurice Richard

For most people learning how to play barred chords on guitar is difficult and not much fun.


You try to learn how to play them, it looks like you are doing it correctly, but it just seems to never quite sound good. So, like most people, you decide it is not for you and learn to avoid them.


I can relate to that because I went through the same problem. I tried and quit trying many times. I was stubborn though and over time I finally was able to play them.


Mind you I was not able to play them as well as open chords and it took me a lot longer to finally get there and it required the help of a great guitar teacher.


Why does this happen?


Here are 3 common reasons why you may be struggling to play barred chords.

1. Not Ready


This is the most common problem I encounter with new guitar players and wanting to play barred chords.


You see a cool song that you like and want to play. It has a barred chord in it though, but you decide you really need to learn to play it right now. How hard can that barred chord thing be right?


If you just started to learn how to play and your guitar playing skills are not well developed yet this is usually not going to go well. This is like expecting your child to hit a homerun the first day he picks up a bat at T-Ball practice.


Barred chords are a lot more demanding and difficult than open chords and require a higher skill level to be able to do them properly.


If you learn them at the right time in your development they will be much easier to learn properly.


2. Wrong Technique


The next most popular problem I see is people using the wrong technique.


Barred chords are technically more difficult than regular open chords and playing them properly requires that you use good technique.


The fact you have to barre an entire fret of your guitar is enough of a challenge on its own but then you have to fret notes too. And somehow make all the notes sound good on top of that.


You want that sound to be good now and that usually means compromising on your technique without even noticing it. It may sound good for a second but that is it.


Then it becomes very hard to then play the barred chord again because you usually have to contort your fingers in unnatural ways. It is very difficult to do consistently and leads to much frustration.


This usually leads to most people stopping and giving up on barred chords when learning to play guitar.


3. Too Much Pressure


Most of the people who want to learn barred chords for whatever reason have some experience already and can usually play open chords well enough to sound good.


So, when you start to try out barred chords they usually sound like you just started to play guitar all over again. This is very frustrating and can be depressing to most people.


It's like you are a total beginner all over again which sucks. To compensate for this and to get a better sound immediately most people push down on the strings a lot harder and apply too much pressure to try and make it sound good.


This usually causes excessive strain and typically pain in the hand, fingers, and/or wrist and can travel to your elbow, shoulder, neck and back.


No joke. You can do some real damage to your muscles and tendons if you are not careful. You should NEVER play through pain.


And if you do not suffer from pain you usually can’t play barred chords very long because your hand and/or wrist get tired too quickly.


Most people get frustrated with all of this and quit barred chords, and many of them avoid them forever.

How To Avoid Or Solve Those Problems


The solution to these struggles is to learn how to play barred chords at the right time and the right way. The problem is knowing when the right time is.


Since you are not trained to know this you will be guessing and most people guess wrong. I know I did. I tried to play barred chords many times and after years of trying on and off I finally got it.


You do not have to go through that pain and frustration.


A professionally trained guitar teacher can teach you to learn barred chords in a fraction of the time it took me because they will know the right time and the proper way to play them.


Find that guitar teacher and you will see what I mean!



About The Author:


Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to learn to play guitar. Go to his website to get more help to successfully learn how to play barred chords on guitar.

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