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Barre Chord Hand Position Photo Supplement

Rating: 4 user(s) have rated this lesson Average rating: 4.3 Posted by: dc.oneil, on Feb 21,2011, in category Chords Views: this lesson has been read 6280 times
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I originally intended to include just a few hand position pictures in my latest lesson, ‘How to Play Barre Chords on the Guitar’. After some thought, however, I decided that providing a ‘Hand Position Photo Supplement’ and additional comments would be a better idea. Just like digital recorders, cameras don’t lie!
Think about it for a minute – ‘If I put my thumb here, what happens?’ The accompanying photos clearly answer the questions. To reinforce and add perspective to my first set of pictures, one of my students (excellent player and songwriter, by the way) agreed to duplicate the originals. And, since he accepted a dollar for his effort, he can add ‘professional hand model’ to his resume and portfolio. That could come in handy, maybe!
Each set of G major barre chord pictures contains shots taken from the front and back of the neck. The correct way to play barre chords on the guitar is shown, as are the three most common incorrect thumb placements.

Set 1 – Correct

Notice the wrist angle – it’s almost ninety degrees! Fingers are curved, playing close to the frets, and the third and fourth fingers are locked together. Picture perfect! You won’t see the same in the remaining sets.

G barre correct thumb-hand positioning -  from the back of the guitar neck G barre correct thumb-hand positioning 2 -  from the front of the guitar neck
G barre correct thumb-hand positioning 2 -  from the back of the guitar neck G barre correct thumb-hand positioning -  from the front of the guitar neck

 

Set 2 – Wrong, thumb horizontal

Notice that there’s no bend in the wrist! Fingers separate and fingers collapse. Also notice how the index finger slips into the next fret. Wrong notes and dead strings!
 

G barre wrong (horizontal) thumb-hand positioning - from the back of the guitar neck G barre wrong (horizontal) thumb-hand positioning 2 - from the front of the guitar neck
G barre wrong (horizontal) thumb-hand positioning 2 - from the back of the guitar neck G barre wrong (horizontal) thumb-hand positioning - from the front of the guitar neck

 

 

Set 3 – Wrong, thumb over

Again, no bend – again, the same result! Placing your thumb over the neck is desirable for bending strings, but not for playing barre chords on the guitar.

 G barre wrong (over the neck) thumb-hand positioning - from the back of the guitar neck  G barre wrong (over the neck) thumb-hand positioning 2 - from the front of the guitar neck
 G barre wrong (over the neck) thumb-hand positioning 2 - from the back of the guitar neck  G barre wrong (over the neck) thumb-hand positioning - from the front of the guitar neck

 

Set 4 – Wrong, thumb under

Still no bend, but my student almost pulls this one off! Honestly, I’m amazed, but the camera doesn’t lie! I sure can’t do it. Placing your thumb under the neck won’t help you learn how to play barre chords.

G barre wrong (under the neck) thumb-hand positioning - from the back of the guitar neck G barre wrong (under the neck) thumb-hand positioning - from the front of the guitar neck
G barre wrong (under the neck) thumb-hand positioning 2 - from the back of the guitar neck G barre wrong (under the neck) thumb-hand positioning - from the front of the guitar neck

 

 

Hopefully, these photos will assist you in learning how to play barre chords on the guitar. At least, you now know what not to do. Of course, you may have to make slight adjustments to accommodate your hand and finger size and shape. It’s easier than you think, so good luck!

One final tip – at the risk of looking like a weirdo, use a mirror to watch and critique your playing style. Pay attention to hand position, finger placement, fluidity of movement, etc. Highly recommended! Doing so in front of family or friends is not recommended!

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