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Unread 06-14-2009, 12:13 AM   #16
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^Grip master or any other hand exercise balls or whatever. Also one my piano teacher showed me a long time ago when I started piano. Just press your first finger against your thumb (so it makes an O shape), press as hard as you can and hold that for 10-15 seconds. Then do that with every finger. You can also make your first finger perfectly straight and press that against your thumb. So straighten out your finger, touch your thumb in about the centre of it (or wherever works) and then press on your thumb keeping your finger totally straight. That'll help more with the muscles you need for barre chords. The nice thing about those ones is you don't need any equipment or objects so you can do it pretty much whenever and wherever you're not using your hands.

Barre chords really are frustrating until you can do them because they're impossible/extremely tiring for the first little while until you build the hand strength. Just work on them as much as you can and within about a week or two you should be able to play them better (I think that's about how long it took me). Oh and make sure you're not trying to be "cool" and play with your guitar at your knees. You want the guitar fairly high or barre chords are going to be a lot harder and you'll probably hurt your wrist.

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Unread 06-14-2009, 12:25 AM   #17
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Ok, those are hard to do! But good to practice. I'll work on those. Thanks.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 01:05 AM   #18
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Also, it's easier to do barre chords on the upper frets, not as much tension, so try practicing an A (5/7/7/6/5/5) or B (7/9/9/8/7/7) full barre chord, and when you can do those cleanly, held for a good period of time, graduate to the lower barre chords.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 01:15 AM   #19
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Upper frets: closer to the tuning keys or to the guitar body?
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Unread 06-14-2009, 01:45 AM   #20
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Closer to the guitar body. Higher in pitch = upper.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 01:51 AM   #21
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Thanks. And thanks for your patience.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 07:10 AM   #22
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It just takes time playing. One day you just start hitting with with consistency. It is the same with other mechanical skills. Like slides, hammer-ons; pull=offs. Some find that they can never do it and adapt once they begin to recognize that every string does not have to be hit in all occasions. One of the most popular for people who can't get an E shape barre is to wrap the thump around to grab the E staring with the thumb mute the A string and hit the higher 4 strings. Which would make the F chord in your box diagram. 113211 would actually be 1X3211 with the thumb or 133211 as the barre.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 11:19 AM   #23
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It's not all strength, btw. I also have small hands. Technique matters a lot. You need to be able to rotate your hand enough so you're using more of the side of the index finger, rather than the bottom fleshy part.

This is easier if the guitar is worn higher, near the bottom half of the chest, and the neck is elevated 30 to 45 degrees above the horizontal. You may need to experiment to find what works best for you.

Be careful of repetitive strain injuries. I've struggled with bouts of carpal tunnel syndrome for years. Stretching and warm-up exercises are a good idea, and if you start to experience muscle pain, cramps, or numbness, stop.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #24
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^this is true. Though I strongly advise against 'cheating' methods unless you've tried over and over again and it's just impossible for you because of your hand size or whatever. Try, try, try, then if you absolutely have to, use the 'cheat'.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 12:23 PM   #25
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It took me three days of practicing about 3 hours a day just to make it where the barre chord wouldn't buzz. I still couldn't switch to it fast, or even move it, that was just to get a fairly clean sound. I found it helpful to roll your index finger so that you're barring with the side, or set it so that the part on the other side of your knuckle hits the bottom string, if that makes sense.

Also, when I was learning, I put my thumb as close as I could get it (comfortably) to my index finger and pinched really hard towards the bottom of the neck to get those bottom strings. I also use my shoulder a little bit.

Just keep trying. If one technique doesn't work, try something else until you find something that does. Like somebody I know said, there is not really a set of rules as to how to play, just whatever works for you.
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Unread 06-14-2009, 01:04 PM   #26
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Sigh... I'm dying waiting for my guitar to get here so I can try this stuff. It's supposed to be here tomorrow or the next day.

Come on FedEx. Bring me my baby!
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Unread 06-18-2009, 11:28 AM   #27
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So my new axe got here Tuesday. I've played with it a little, but having trouble with the tuning. It has an onboard tuner, so I think I just have to figure out how to use it.

Back in the day, the tuner I had let you click it to what string you were testing, then it would tell you when you were in tune. The current tuner I have seems to decide by itself what string you're on then tell you sharp or flat. But it seems if you're not even close enough for it to know which string, it won't help me.

Do I just need to persevere and learn this one? Or should I be looking for a different tuner. Suggestions? Yeah, I know I should be able to tune without, but honestly, I never was very good at it.

I'm hopefully going to be having a friend who actually plays guitar look at it tomorrow, so I'm hoping he can help me with the tuning issue.

She's a very pretty guitar. I'll be sharing pics when I get a chance to take some nice ones.

Oh, one more question: I live in a very rural area, so I'm not sure I can even find a guitar teacher, but if I can, is it worth the time to take lessons for a while? I may be able to find a music teacher, but I dunno if there is a guitar teacher in my area.

Back when I played before, I only wanted to be able to play a few songs for my own accompaniment and I didn't really think about learning scales, etc. Or is it something I can work on myself? I did see a recommendation in another thread to buy the Mel someone's Basic Guitar Method and working through it slowly. I'd actually like to learn the instrument well enough to be able to play publicly with other musicians eventually.
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Unread 06-18-2009, 12:03 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by OiBoyz View Post
Oh, one more question: I live in a very rural area, so I'm not sure I can even find a guitar teacher, but if I can, is it worth the time to take lessons for a while? I may be able to find a music teacher, but I dunno if there is a guitar teacher in my area.
That's depends. Are you good at teaching yourself? Can you learn from books and the internet?
Or are you at a standstill, having taught yourself everything you could from the books you have or not knowing what direction to go in next? If finding a teacher is going to be a huge effort for you, and you're good at learning yourself than take your time and find out all you can about teachers in your area. It's better to take the time to find a good one than to rush into lessons with someone who's just going to be a waste of money.

While you look for a teacher some books I'd highly recommend are Guitar for Dummies (it's basically an overview of guitar, with many different styles including acoustic and a lot of important information that you need to know about everything for guitar gear to music theory), Rock Guitar for Dummies (if you're mostly into playing electric) or Blues Guitar for Dummies depending on what kind of music you're into.
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Unread 06-18-2009, 12:33 PM   #29
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That's depends. Are you good at teaching yourself? Can you learn from books and the internet?
I can work by myself fairly well. But I'm wondering about learning bad habits (such as the fact that I've been playing F wrong, apparently.)

Quote:
Or are you at a standstill, having taught yourself everything you could from the books you have or not knowing what direction to go in next?
I was at a standstill when I stopped playing five years ago. It's why I stopped playing, out of frustration. But it's been a few years, so I anticipate needing to get up to speed to where I was, which was pretty much being able to chord/strum along to the few songs I wanted to sing for myself. And the occasional attempting to lead worship at church.

Quote:
If finding a teacher is going to be a huge effort for you, and you're good at learning yourself than take your time and find out all you can about teachers in your area. It's better to take the time to find a good one than to rush into lessons with someone who's just going to be a waste of money.
I'm thinking I might be able to find a decent music teacher, but I just don't know if there's a good guitar teacher here. It's a very small town.

Quote:
While you look for a teacher some books I'd highly recommend are Guitar for Dummies (it's basically an overview of guitar, with many different styles including acoustic and a lot of important information that you need to know about everything for guitar gear to music theory),
Thanks. I'll check into that.
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Unread 06-18-2009, 12:49 PM   #30
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You were not playing a f chord wrong, there are many ways to hit an F chord. One book or chord diagram just used a different version then what you remember. As for tuning just go online find a tuner and by ear that will bring you close enough. from there relative tune by holding at the fifth fret the 3 lowest strings and the 2 highest strings. and at the forth fret the 4th string (from low bass to high treble). Once you are in the ball park you can use your onboard tuner to get the final touch.
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