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How chords that require two-string barre should be fretted to avoid constraining other fingers in terms of general practice tips?

See example below. My 2nd finger tends to block the D string. It is pretty tricky to fret this chord starting from bass note (piece may require it being played first).

I try to curve 2nd finger more and place fingers parallel to frets and perpendicular to the fretboard but it is still quite hard to press the barre with 3rd. Any tips for this case and in general?

   4
   3
   3
   1
   2

E -10
B -8
G -8
D -6
A -8
E -- 
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You are on the right track, but right now you are biting off more than you can chew. You need to get a good grasp of the basic shape before you can play that chord.

Let's look a the shape:

E -10
B -8
G -8
D -6
A -8
E -- 

The way to play this is to use your 1st finger on the D string, use your 2nd finger on the A string, use your 3rd finger for the B and G string, and use your 4th finger on the E string. It's not the easily shape right now so let's simplify it just for a moment. Right now we will forget about the 10 on the high E string and just bar the E, B , and G string with your 3rd finger to give us this shape:

E -8
B -8
G -8
D -6
A -8
E -- 

Is it still too hard to bar the 3 strings? Lets take the shape up to the 12 fret:

E -12
B -12
G -12
D -10
A -12
E ---

Is it still too hard to bar the 3 strings? Then we need to make your 3rd finger stronger. Just barring those 3 string with your 3rd finger and making sure all ring out should be a good finger strength exercise:

E -12--11--10--9--8--7--6--5--4--3--2--1
B -12--11--10--9--8--7--6--5--4--3--2--1
G -12--11--10--9--8--7--6--5--4--3--2--1
D --------------------------------------
A --------------------------------------
E --------------------------------------

If your fingers aren't strong enough for a certain shape, you need to make the stronger through practice. It's not always easy, but it's what you have to do.

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I can't give particular tips for that chord, it's hard to give a solution to a problem you've never experienced. but here's a general overview for how I learn voicings:

Try practicing similar but easier chords to come to grips with a tricky new voicings.

eg the F13 might be easier than the Fm13 you are aiming for. F13: 10-8-8-7-8-x

if that is also tricky try get the 9 chord well practiced and then simply add the 13 with your pinky.

F9: 8-8-8-7-8-x

and also try the same idea with this F6/9: 8-8-7-7-8-x

and F6/b9 8-7-7-7-8-x

and F7add6 10-10-8-7-8-x
or 10-10-8-10-8-x

and F7#9#5 9-9-8-7-8-x

or myriad other voicings that use partial bars and similar fingerings.

Playing to a metronome and comping through all the voicings your currently working on is a good musical way of getting many voicings down quickly. play them in various order and with various roots and come up with voice leading moves and different top melodies, play through progressions you know (ii V i's etc) etc etc. You can also work on other technique simultaneously, 16th note strumming, fingerpicking etc etc

If your serious about learning lots of great voicings the renown Ted Greene books are amazing.

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Fretting non-barre chord first (3rd finger frets only one note) is useful because it helps to remember correct placement of other fingers. Make sure there no string blocking occurs.

Next, learn to adjust only 3rd finger so that it can fret barre. You will initially need to place it almost between strings so that when it straightens it will firmly fret two strings while other fingers will remain static.

This method worked for me after some practice.

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Yes, your approach to the fingering is wrong as pointed out. The first finger should be on the lowest fret.

Generally speaking, if the you look at your finger position on the neck, think of one "finger per fret" with your first finger on the lowest fretted notes (lower=closest to the end of the neck with the tuning machines and nut) and your fourth finger taking the highest notes.

Good luck! Just keep practicing and you will get it! :^)

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