I've been playing the guitar for about 3 years. I would like to play more country and bluegrass. What is the best way to pick up new techniques and learn how to play anything besides basic guitar chords. Also, how is the best way to increase my skill at bar chords?
That's really two questions but here goes:
Barre Chords: Barre chords can cause problems if you haven't been exercising your left hand (if you're a righty) in that particular way. There are all sorts of ways to ease into them. Here are a few:
New Techniques and Stuff: Bluegrass and country are full of major pentatonic runs. They also utilize a ton of first-position chords (at least traditional country -- when you get to more progressive styles guitar players are all over the fretboard). Where this all came from was connecting chords together with short runs or putting some little lick between verses. If you're into Bluegrass, listen to "Uncle Pen" and you'll get the lick thing right away. You can capo on 2nd fret and played out of a G shape. Don't be surprised when you find out that country pickers are among the most dextrous in the guitar world. Keith Urban is a madman, and if you're looking back on Bluegrass guitar, Doc Watson was humbling so say the least. But take a few notes from each and try to get them into your playing.
All this stuff wraps around basic guitar chords so you are on the right track. Just find some songs you like and noodle around with them until you can make them feel like yours.