Introduction to Barre

Hello everybody, by popular demand we will do a livestream all about barre chords! 馃挭Excited for this one as it's an issue that all my students are struggling with in the beginning. While it is a technique that takes some time to develop, this livestream hopefully gives you a road map on how to develop a healthy barre technique! 馃殌


We are going to be using this thread to gather suggestions and questions!

  • What questions do you have on this topic?
  • Any particular area you would like me to focus on?

Forum questions will be answered first!


Let us take a look at the mechanics of a well-executed barre! How straight is the index? Where is the thumb? Do we actually need to press?

We will look at some exercises and basic etudes in order to pave your path to struggle-free barre chords!

Let me know what aspects you want me to focus on or repertoire that we should highlight via clicking on the "Join Discussion Thread" button!


Would you also like to have an interactive class that accompanies this topic later in the same week? Let me know!

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  • Great topic!  It might be an interesting example to cover the first 2 lines of Koshkin study #4?  I continue to practice/struggle with that one.

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 wk ago
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      Brett Gilbert Sure, I'll include that as well! We'll be looking at Brouwer's Estudio Sencillio no.4 in-depth, in my opinion the perfect example of introducing the concept of pressing multiple strings with one finger!

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  • Can't wait for this livestream. Right now I'm struggling with #19 of F. Sor study (revisioned by Andr茅s Segovia). It's full of Barre and my left hand hurts. So thank you for this opportunity!!

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 wk ago
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      Magda I'll look at the piece, maybe I can implement it!

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 wk ago
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      Magda Can you specify which piece it is exactly (maybe via a youtube link)? 

      This one is known as the "Left hand Killer" and often referred to Segovia #19, although it's actually op.29 #13!

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      • Magda
      • Magda
      • 2 wk ago
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      Martin Yes, this is it. In my book revisioned by Segovia is #19. 

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  • I will try to make this, but I just read through Sor op 29 no 13 a couple of times and my left arm is now in a sling....  Hopefully I will have recovered in a few hours

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 13 days ago
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      Paul Kennedy I really hope that you're kidding!!! 鈽馃槰馃槺

      I will only tease a little bit of that piece, I think that piece deserves its own livestream about efficient use of power in barre chords! Today's livestream serves more as an introduction and setting up your hand right for healthy barre chords!

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  • I didn't want to create discomfort for this livestream. That piece I know it's difficult to play, I've been preparing it for a while

    Like 1
  • I look forward to it; especially the Brouwer study

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  • 鈥nd yes, just kidding

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 13 days ago
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      Paul Kennedy 馃槄馃槄馃槄

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  • Here are some studies by Fernando Sor we might look at! Looking forward to all of you and your questions!

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  • Great topic. I struggle with two main issues: 1) Pain and soreness deep in the thumb (where the thumb joins the hand). 2) When playing a full barre the second and third strings often buzz and are not clean. 

    I imagine these issues are common and I look forward to your comments. Thanks!

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  • Here are my (incomplete) fingerings for the "Left Hand Killer", we'll look at this one in a dedicated livestream, maybe we can even get Mak on Board for that one! 馃帀

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  • Martin Bill Young Hi Martin and Bill (I think you mentioned it) regarding the 'jazz barre' with the 1st and 3rd fingers. I think there is something similar in the attached minuet and trio by Wenzel Matiegka (actually in the trio) bar 7 of the trio, which you asked me to upload. This arrangement is from The Guitarist's Hour vol 3 published by Schott and arranged by Walter Gotze. I assume the fingering is his and not Matiegka's. Gotze suggests using the 4th finger for all of the first 3 strings but I find it easier with the 3rd finger. I've also attached 2 videos - v1 where I use the 3rd finger across the 3 strings and v2 where is use separate fingers - 1 (barre) for the low C and 2,3,4 for the  A E C on the upper strings. I find v1 easier when playing it up to speed. What o you think?

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 12 days ago
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      Derek Thank your uploading! I'm sending you a video of how I would approach that passage without the pinky or 3rd finger barre!

      It does look like that v1 looks more secure, but maybe some of my comments are helpful for you! I just really don't like how my hand feels when barring with the 3rd or 4th finger 馃

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    • Martin Martin - thank you very much for replying to me it is wonderful. I first played this piece many years ago and come back to it every couple of years or so and just revisited it last week. I f I remember correctly I think that  I originally tried to play it with 2,3 and 4 as per your first example (my v2) but at the time I didn't use the full bar so it was very awkward. Later I tried to use the suggested 4th finger but then adapted it to use the 3rd finger. It was only after your workshop last night that I realised that using a full bar would make it easier for both of my fingerings. I tried to think of how you may play it so that's why I recorded my v2. Funny but as soon as I started watching your video I knew you were going to suggest your second fingering (blast! why didn't I think of that myself!). Thanks you so much once again and now I shall carry on working on the Villa Lobos Etude No 1 - really looking forward to Friday night (and try to get back to Lob der Thranen which I have neglected for a while with all of the challenges and other distractions!).

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  • Hi Martin , great response video.  I totally agree with Martin's solutions.  The Matiegka passage Derek cited is similar to a more challenging passage of bar 15 from Bach's Prelude for Lute, BWV999 originally in C minor, in D minor for most guitar arrangements where one has to play a F7 chord with the base note on the first fret on the 6th string and the top 3 notes on the 5th fret on strings 3, 2 and 1.

     

    Fingerings

    1. The most common fingering is to play the low F (6th string, 1st fret) with finger 1 and the CEA (fifth fret, string 3, 2, 1) by barring finger 4 at the fifth fret across three strings.

     

    2. Play the low F and let go (cut short) of the note and then play the top notes with fingers 2, 3, 4 on the fifth fret

     

    3. Modern solution is play the low F with the left side of thumb over the fingerboard and the tops notes with fingers 2, 3, 4.  Gian Marco Ciampa has a lesson on Left Hand Thumb on Tonebase.  This modern use of the thumb to address long stretch can be applied in pieces such as Choro de Saudade by Barrios.  Artists using the thumb over fingerboard technique include Judicael Perroy and others.

    Like 1
  • Hi Martin, just caught up on yesterday's livestream on the barre. Very useful session! The advantage of watching on record is that I could stop the video and make sure I undertood each of the learning points. Many thanks, Ron

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 11 days ago
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      Ron fantastic, glad you enjoyed that! Did you have struggles with barre chords?

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    • Martin Occasionally, but what really helped me is to understand the mechanics. For example, even though I have been using the '7 string' barre and rolling my index finger, I'd never thought in detail about the rotation. Understandiing how I'm doing it really helps me to make it repeatable and more consistent. Also I'd never done diagonal barres before!

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 10 days ago
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      Ron Fantastic! The Diagonal Barre is a great tool to have! Glad that the livestreams helped you achieving more efficiency by using rotation pressure!

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  • Thank you Martin. So much to learn here. 馃檹馃幎

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 9 days ago
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      Nipun Deshpande Fantastic, happy that you liked it!

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