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I am a beginner for guitar. And I am having a hard time playing the F barre chord. It is said that only through practice can one make a difference. But I have limited time playing guitar. Are there other choice to build my finger strength for this purpose?

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possible duplicate of How can I best learn to play barre chords? –  Dr Mayhem Oct 30 '11 at 19:15
There are some pretty good finger and wrist exercises in Jackie Chan's Drunken Master. –  luser droog Nov 23 '11 at 10:24
... ... ... ... ;| –  luser droog Nov 23 '11 at 10:25
Hi can I see youtube video or pictures of that method that supposedly is amazing for strengthening finger strength? –  user5671 Feb 3 '13 at 1:20
Here's a clip of the scene I was talking about. But you should also know that I was half-joking. Take inspiration from the film. But don't take it to this extreme. You could really hurt yourself. –  luser droog Feb 3 '13 at 17:53

6 Answers 6

There are exercise devices for finger strength, but I wouldn't recommend them. I once knew a (brilliant) guitar player who exercised his fingers so much he got Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and now can't play at all.

The best thing to do really is to practice. Malcolm Gladwell says you need to put 10,000 hours into something to become an expert. Try not to think of how many weeks or months it is since you started playing guitar, think about how many hours you've been playing altogether.

Hope this helps.

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Most things that will strengthen your fingers will also slow them down (I climb, and while my fingers are strong, I have to practice speed techniques on the guitar in order to keep my fluidity at a decent level.)

I would suggest reading the answers on this question on playing barre chords as it is probably what you are looking for.

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buy a racquet ball and squeeze between thumb and each finger on any down time. Its harmless and just enough resistance. My first guitar lesson with my instructor, he gave me one. now its been a few years and getting back into playing and I need to remember to get another one! it really helped

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Gunbuster, the first thing you have to do to get better is make the time.

There isn't a shortcut to your limited time to play the guitar. If you really want it, you will change your habits to get the time.

Guitar practice, I recommend would be 1 HOUR A DAY MINIMUM. If you can get 2 HOUR slots that would be alot better. The 1st Hour should be devoted to strengthening your hands. There are countless "exercises" that are freely available on the internet and YouTube. But the point is, that you must concentrate and focus for ONE HOUR and concentrate on one or two exercises only. The second hour can focus on more general playing and songs.

Eg. If you are learning some right hand strumming/muting/alternate picking/sweeps... then you do that for ONE HOUR and nothing else. This has recently been mentioned by Mr Steve Vai. If you can focus for one hour on something specific, you let the 2nd hour be more relaxed and creative.

Now. How long must you spend One Hour for? if you can do this for 30 days, your strength will improve alot more than if you played 30 minutes every 2-3 day over the same span of 30 days. That's it. There's no shortcut. You get what you put in.

So you're having problems with the F Chord. This takes about 2-3 weeks to master. Start with the B minor chord for your first barre chord (look up the other threads on this site). Make it happen! If you're a beginner practice is the only thing that will increase overall hand strength. So get plenty of contact hours with the guitar: 30 minutes before you go to sleep. 1 hour straight after you wake up. 30 min when you get home. Heck, I've even take it into the can when I was starting out.

Find a way.

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I take issue with the answer about harming yourself with hand exercises away from the guitar - if you don't use any resistance, and pay attention to the sensations in your hands. My understanding is that isometric exercises (no weights or elastics) are rarely harmful, no matter how they are done. In any case, I've done isometric hand stretching and strengthening exercises for forty five years with no harm. Computer keyboard and mouse use, however, was a completely different story - disturbing pain that didn't go away until I switched to mousing with my left hand - and I can code all day long in that configuration without problems now. So pay attention, and be creative.

But one of the things that really helps guitarists is building strength in the big knuckle of the left hand - this is essential for bar chords, for example. Check out this exercise to see if it is helpful - I've found it enormously helpful over forty five years of playing at a very high level:


Good luck!

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Playing for about a couple minutes to an hour everyday or whenever you have time is good for building finger strength. Another quick way my guitar teacher practices building finger strength with out playing is simply gripping a tennis ball with the finger tips. The tension in the ball gives enough friction and resistance to build finger strength. Once your finger tips are strong enough, you'll be able to push your fingers into the tennis ball with ease when squeezing. Then you should be able to get a decent F bar chord. Also, most bar chords are hard to learn but it'll come with practice. Time and patience is key.

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