I have played guitar for a while now and have been doing quite good. I can played E and A shaped barre chords without any problem. I can also play barre chord in CAGED system. My problem is that my hand starts to pain just after 8-10 seconds of barre playing. I have adjusted the strength and hand position but without any use. Any advice or my hand just isn't made for barre playing?

2 Answers 2


This sounds like a possible tension problem. Those hands should relax, tension build ups in your hands are one of the main reasons for discomfort in guitar playing.

Focus on building the muscle memory so that your hands can lock properly, you also have to learn how to use the minimum of force to hold those barres down. This all ties in with the economy of motion. When you start playing extended sessions it becomes important.

If you learn that you really have to force those strings down with a lot of force, then maybe your guitar has a too high action or some other intonation problem.


There are many reasons why it's a problem, and maybe several come together in your circumstances.

  • the barres are being held too firmly.
  • your thumb is not central on the neck back.
  • the angle of the neck needs changing, between horizontal and vertical.
  • rotate the neck away from you, clockwise.
  • the neck profile is too deep for your hand.
  • the fingerboard radius doesn't suit.
  • the action is too high.
  • the strings are very tight, due to being heavy gauge.
  • you wear the guitar too high/low (more likely the latter).
  • your hand just isn't made for barre playing. Just kidding!

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