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Like pretty much everyone I'm struggling to get good at F barre. After reading a lot of these answers I couldn't find an answer to this:

I've got a pretty good and more and more consistent F recently, with a lot of practice, but the tip of my index finger is almost completely off the top of the neck? e.g. The 6th string (E) sits only just above the first finger joint and strings 1 (e) and 2 (B) are between the second joint and base of finger.

I seem to be able to play it pretty well - but worry that the index finger is too high? (ps. Hope I got the strings right!)

enter image description here

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    Post a pic. That would help – user50691 Nov 20 '20 at 0:03
  • Please say whether you are playing classical guitar or electric or some other type. I'm guessing classical because you use the term "barre" instead of "bar". It is important to know however as there are differences in technique (and the width of the neck). P.S. A photo would be very useful. – chasly - supports Monica Nov 20 '20 at 13:28
  • Does you index finger lays flat over 1 st fret? – user9339131 Nov 20 '20 at 17:50
  • @user9339131 - Pretty much flat - it hits all strings but doesn't press the middle ones too hard? – BlueChippy Nov 24 '20 at 14:46
  • @chasly-supportsMonica Just a basic acoustic - image added...I normally press a little harder with finger flatter...but trying to take the pic at the same time! – BlueChippy Nov 24 '20 at 14:46
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I don't believe there is anything wrong with the tip of the index finger sticking out off the neck when playing barre. Similarly you may find that in some cases when you're supposed to play barre over e.g. two or three strings it is easier to put the finger over more strings. It may depend on specific chord shape as well as on your individual anatomical shape of hand and fingers.

What matters is that the notes sound clear and without the buzz (and also that notes that are not supposed to sound, don't), that you avoid excessive muscle tension and you have freedom in placing the other fingers where they should be and that it doesn't prevent you from switching the chords smoothly.

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  • Thank you - I'll stick with it as its coming out clear. – BlueChippy Nov 19 '20 at 23:43
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    "that you avoid excessive muscle tension" this is so important I thought I'd quote it :) – Thomas Nov 20 '20 at 20:52
  • @Thomas right. Actually, the more the finger is "sticking out" the closer is the part that is touching the strings to the joint that connects finger with the palm. This reduces the moment of force (which translates into your effort or muscle tension) needed to apply necessary force on the strings. – user1079505 Nov 20 '20 at 22:46
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Since there is such a discrepancy in the length of fingers between players - and the ratio of finger lengths for individuals - it matters not how much finger covers certain strings. As long as those stringss can be successfully pressed and sound, and other strings can also sound.

Also a large consideration must be the comfort afforded by your positioning. If it hurts, it's not good in the long term. There's also the fact that the majority of guitar players press way too hard, especially when barring chords like this.

Another option, frowned upon by classical guitarists, is to use the thumb over the top to fret that bottom string. With longer thumbs, it can be successful.

It may be worth experimenting to see if your shape hinders changing chords. Sometimes one particular shape makes moving from another shape to that, or that to another shape, not as fluid as it could be.

But if all is well, keep going at it. There cannot be the 'same 'ideal' way for all of us.

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  • There is a gender aspect that comes into play here as well. It's not 100% of course, but statistically speaking, women's hands tend to have the index finger longer than the ring finger, while on men's hands it's shorter. (Middle finger is longer than both regardless.) This can directly affect how much finger is used in a barre chord. – Darrel Hoffman Nov 20 '20 at 13:46
  • @DarrelHoffman Note that length of the finger is not the only factor, but also location and shape of the joints. It's sometimes difficult to press the string properly if it's just under the joint. – user1079505 Nov 20 '20 at 17:45

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