I am playing guitar for a year and half and till now I am not able to play barre chords smoothly as i can not form it with proper pressure and my hand starts to pain in 2 mins. What kind of acoustic strings should I use?

  • Is this a problem with my chord formation or the neck of guitar is bent or something else or I should use some other strings. I am using D'Addario (medium light gauge).

2 Answers 2


Your guitar may need to be "set up" properly. This means getting it into its best playing condition, and in particular, it includes adjusting the height of the strings above the fretboard (called the "action"). If the action is too high, the strings will be difficult to press down, just as you are experiencing. If the action is too low, the strings will buzz against the fretboard when you play—you don't want that, either.

You can learn how to adjust the action of your guitar yourself, but I highly recommend taking it to a professional repair shop for best results. A set up will cost around $30, and it will make a world of difference to how comfortable your guitar is to play.


Your guitar is like a bow (as in bow-and-arrow). The neck is a long, straight piece of wood with a very tight string attached at both ends, bending it into an arc. Obviously it's not as dramatic an arc as with a bow, but it's real nevertheless. Imagine for a moment that the arc really was as big as with a bow (meaning it would have extremely high action), and imagine trying to press the bowstring down to the bow itself as if you were playing it—that would be really, really difficult.

To help support the neck of the guitar, the neck has a steel rod inside it, called a "truss rod". This truss rod counteracts the string tension and keeps the neck from bowing too much. Because different kinds of strings exert different amounts of tension, the truss rod is adjustable, and it can be adjusted so that your guitar's neck has just the right amount of bow for your particular strings.

When you take your guitar to a professional repair person, one of the things s/he will do is adjust the truss rod until your action is just right. Different people prefer different amounts of action, so tell your repair person that you find playing chords to be uncomfortable, and s/he will make sure your action is low enough for playing chords without being too low.

  • how to screw the truss rod?
    – kashminder
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 15:43
  • If you do not know how to adjust the truss rod already, you need to take the guitar to a professional repair person to do the job for you. Truss rod adjustments are tricky. But moreover, your guitar probably also requires modification to the nut and the bridge. The truss rod is only part of the equation.
    – user1044
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 17:35
  • 1
    @kashminder While I agree with Wheat that you should go to a professional repair person, you can also search YouTube for videos demonstrating how to set up a guitar. Here's a link to one: youtube.com/watch?v=00AnN5NMJZ4 Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 22:20

The truss rod is only part of the story behind the action. Often all that is needed is the height adjustment of the saddles on the bridge.On electrics this is straightforward, but on acoustics (as I believe the OP has) it's more complex.It could entail shaving some off the base of the saddle, a job for the pro., or just screwing a screw either side, to take the height down.

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