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In this video, I'm having trouble with a particular chord.

The first chord is here:

e|-3-|  3
B|-3-|  3
G|-4-|  4  Fingers
D|-2-|  1
A|-3-|  2
E|---|

The G on top is giving me particular trouble. I would normally play this voicing without it, fingered as such:

e|---|
B|-3-|  3
G|-4-|  4  Fingers
D|-2-|  1
A|-3-|  2
E|---|

The barre with the third finger is killing me. Any advice on building up the finger strength for this or is it possible that my pinky is just too short?

  • Try to play C7/9 with third finger barre, that shouldn't be a problem after a little practice. Then just place fourth finger to B (G string, fourth fret). I am sure you will play it very soon... :) – sinisake Mar 27 '15 at 19:44
  • P.S. So, basically, barre will 'cover' 3 strings -> and then you don't have to change direction of third finger drastically - it will keep more natural position. If you try to make just two last strings barre, it is little harder... so, C7/9 first, very natural and easy position, and addition of 4. finger when you make this.... – sinisake Mar 27 '15 at 19:51
  • I actually hadn't though of barring on the g string as well. It seems like it would be more comfortable. I'll try that when I get home, thank you! – Dan D Mar 27 '15 at 20:18
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From my experience as a guitar teacher there are some people who (with some practice) are able to play that chord, and some simply aren't. You're dependent on the size of your hand and especially of the flexibility of your third finger. People who can flex their third finger in the "wrong" direction will find it easier to play that chord. Also your pinky mustn't be too short, otherwise you won't be able to reach the g string after having barred the third fret with your third finger.

So practice and try hard but don't get disappointed if you don't manage because there might be purely physical reasons. I myself do not play that chord like that either. I use the fingering on four strings that you suggested, and if I need that high G note I would switch between the B and E strings with my third finger. If I really need all those notes at the same time, I usually play that chord with the root on the low E string:

e|(7)|
b|-8-|
g|-7-|
d|-9-|
A|-7-|
E|-8-|

Here you have to bar your index on the 7th fret. For me this fingering is much easier to play. But again, it's always your choice how many notes you add to a chord.

Another option that I sometime use is leaving out the root, so I would play

e|-3-|
b|-3-|
g|-4-|
d|-2-|
A|---|
E|---|

and I would use all four fingers (1 on d, 4 on g, 2 on b, 3 on e).

  • The middle 4 string version seems to be the more usually played , but leaving the top string as an open E gives an acceptable voicing. It will work on Cmaj9, although the shape can be moved up to give Emaj9, Fmaj9, Dmaj9 and Amaj9, all using top string open. – Tim Mar 27 '15 at 8:07
  • The voicing with the root on the low E makes a lot of sense. I'll still work on the little barre, though. – Dan D Mar 27 '15 at 15:51

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