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Barre chords


Mickthemiller

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Barre chords for learners are usually one of the first high hurdles when beginning guitar. Now I got past that in the 60s - mastering the F shape then learning to move it up and down the neck to make all the chords. Then I moved on to the Bm barre chord and progressed to the minor chords with 6th string root. All that has gone well over the years and I've added some sweet variations to all manner of chord shapes.

 

I recently took a serious interest in jazz and began to get my fingers used to making chords with 7s, 9s, 13s, 9+(b5) etc. As I said I mastered the minor chords with 5th string roots years ago but I never found any need for a minor 7th apart from Am7, which is an easy chord for a learner as it's at first position! The other minor 7ths (5th string root) require a firm barre to be made across the fret board and the third string is barred as opposed to being fretted by the pinky as in the minor chord.

 

Now after all that, I find that my index finger is not fleshy enough to actually meet the string when I play a minor 7th. I have moved it down, turned it, twisted it, tried various other methods of thumb at back of neck, thumb at front of neck etc. All to no avail. I just don't have a fat enough index finger. Does anyone else have this problem?

 

I have tried a fix that does have some success. I have taped my index finger between each joint (so I can still bend it) and this does work by increasing the thickness of my finger.

 

Please - there must be lots of guitarists out there who have skinny fingers - how do you get round it?

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I recently took a serious interest in jazz...... there must be lots of guitarists out there who have skinny fingers - how do you get round it?

 

You should study and practice a chord system Mel Bay called "Rhythm and Inside Chords". This system and chord diagrams are clearly illustrated in the Mel Bay book "Deluxe Encyclopedia of Guitar Chords". This book also includes "Melody Chords", which are very useful in unaccompanied (solo) guitar work.

 

Disclaimer: I have no professional affiliation with Mel Bay Publications, although I did know Mel personally. When I was a teenager, Mel and I had a long conversation about this chord method. It was probably 25 years later before I really understood all of [or most of] what he had tried to explain and show me way back when.

 

The basis of the rhythm/inside chord method is how to play every imaginable chord using three to four fretted notes, no open strings, and no barre chords. This is the chord method of which most jazz players base their playing, and will open up almost endless possibilities in jazz chording.

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Thanks guys for the quick response - I have noted both suggestions. I just bought a Squier Classic Vibe 50s Tele and this has 9s on, I believe. I normally use at least 11s and up to 13s on acoustics. The Tele is no better really and I am considering 10s on that anyway as 9s are just too light for me, although it's true the Tele can produce a very good jazz tone even with light gauge strings. The Mel Bay book is ordered as I write. So I await its arrival and watch this space. Thanks again

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First... when it comes to Jazz, listen to Larry.

 

Second... I don't quite understand the difficulty with barre chords. I'd suggest that at the third fret and above, at minimum, depending on one's strings there should be little difficulty fingering any root "cowboy" chord unless the hand literally has a more significant problem than being skinny.

 

Segovia at 4 minutes into this master class with a young woman player kinda hits it... thumb positioning, etc.

 

May be worth a listen.

 

m

 

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