I'm having trouble with playing A-shaped barre chords. I am aware of three ways to play them: Normal shape, using the ring finger, and using the pinky.

But given the structure of my hand (my phalanx of both ring and pinky are small), it's difficult to play A-shaped barre chords. I can play E, E minor, A minor, and C shaped barre chords, but it's very difficult to play the A-shape. Why? And can you offer suggestions for how I can accomplish it given my hand structure?

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    It would be helpful if you mentioned how it's difficult, surgically mentioning the points that you think your technique is insufficient. I'll say that, while for many techniques, a classical guitar is built to make them easy, the wide and flat neck seem engineered to make the A barre difficult, but then, I don't think I've seen many classical players playing barre chords. Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 2:15
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    Personally I use both ring and pinkie to make the two frets higher barre and I also mute and ignore the high E string. Might not be to everyone's taste but I have to keep my hands comfortable if I'm going to keep playing at all. Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 4:09
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    @ToddWilcox - so do you play it as a 4 string chord, and not play the bottom string either?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 14:57
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    @Tim I know I do Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 17:41
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    @DaveJacoby - do what..?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


True - several different finger combinations. As Dave Jacoby states, the flat fingerboard of classical guitars is more difficult to play them on than the cambered 'board of most electrics.

Lower down the neck,I find three fingers fit o.k., so that's what get used. Or, ring and pinky, depending on the guitar. From around 4th fret barre, I use ring finger for strings 4, 3 and 2. With the camber on the fingerboard, it's not too difficult to make sure the top string rings out. You may find just muting it does the job, but try not to do as some do, and fret that as well, producing a 6th chord.

Since your hand and mine probably aren't the same, you'll have to experiment, to find what works best for you. You may also find that adjusting the height you strap your guitar at will make one shape better.

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    By waiting longer before accepting an answer, it gives others chance to participate, which they may not bother to do, seeing an answer has already been accepted.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 11:33

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