One of the most physically difficult concepts that beginner-intermediate guitar players run up against is playing bar chords. First and foremost, realize that this is just going to take some time. If you practice them consistently over a long period of time then you WILL see results. That being said there are a few tips that I will share with you to make the journey a little less painful 🙂
For todays lesson, we will be playing the A bar chord that requires you to bar your first finger across all 6 strings. Starting with the 6th string, you will be pressing frets 5-7-7-6-5-5. Although it is natural to want to put the bar down first, it is actually much better to begin with your 2nd finger pressing down fret 6 on the 3rd string. Once you have this finger in the correct place, check your left hand position. The pad of your thumb should be directly across from the tip of your 2nd finger. Your wrist should come underneath the neck of the guitar.
Next, put your 3rd finger on the 7th fret of the fifth string and your 4th finger on the 7th fret of the fourth string. Make sure the fingers are curved. Ideally, the 3rd finger will be touching the 4th finger. Your hand should now look like it is forming the “E Shape” with fingers 2, 3, and 4.
Keeping the good hand position, you may now lay your 1st finger across the entire 5th fret. Make sure to use all three sections of your finger; even if you have long fingers, you should still bar with the entire finger. Make sure your finger is straight up and down and at the very front of the fret. It is essentially imitating a capo. As you apply pressure, think of pulling the entire guitar neck towards yourself, but counterbalance it with your right forearm on the guitar body. Ideally the guitar will not actually move.
Strum away! If you are like most of us, your first bar chord will not sound to hot; however, if you focus on making the 6th and 1st strings sound good, the others will soon follow suit.