I am new to fingerstyle playing and have trouble with some chords that involve streches of five frets or so. A good example is here.

                                              V - middle finger barre?
    E|---------------- 7-- 5------ 7--|-- 5---- 3---- 5----------------|
    B|---- 8---------- 5-- 5-- 8 5-- 5|-- 5-- 8---- 5 5---- 8-- 7-- 5--|
    G|---- 5------ 5-- 5-- 5-- 5---- 5|------ 5---- 5-- 5-- 5-- 5-- 5--|
    D|-------- 5-------------- 5------|------ 5---- 5---------- 5-- 5--|
    A| 0------------------------------| 0-------------- 5--------------|

Just realized this tab does not display as it does in preview mode. The chord frets are 3855xx (higher notes on the left).

This tab timing seems to have 'rounding' problems, 3rd fret seems to be played almost exactly on 2nd beat. I have hard time pressing barre using middle finger on both 5th frets while keeping 3rd and 8th sound clean. Any tips how to approach the whole phrase (should I keep middle finger barre for the whole duration)?

Audio sample is around at 0:23 in

, unison seems to me intentional in this arrangement and I would like to keep it there. Should I cheat for now by avoiding barre and G string while getting used to streches?

  • I would use my index finger as barre
    – trinaldi
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 7:40

1 Answer 1


In playing that piece, it really is only a partial barre, but you don't need to worry about part of your finger touching the B string, as your finger at the 8th fret will mask this.

I find using the pad of my index finger to press the D and G strings works fine. I don't need to worry about absolute precision, so in making the changes I can feel that sometimes I am lightly damping the B string behind my pinkie at the 8th fret.

Practice will help you build the finger strength to do this easily - the thing to watch for is proper form. Try not to let your index finger roll over - it feels easier to do this but it reduces your control.

As far as timing goes - many online tutorials don't have the timings exactly worked out. Use the tab video to show you what you should play, but tweak it to fit the actual rhythm through listening to the tune.

  • I think it is impossible to keep index finger on 3rd fret of E string, 5th of G and D and pinkie at 8th of B string at the same time. I'm starting to get used to using partial barre with 2nd finger, but playing it during the song is pretty hard.
    – Rumca
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 23:44
  • It is definitely not impossible @Rumca. Just practice the stretch. It may be difficult if you have the string height too great, so think about whether your guitar is set up optimally.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 17:51

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