Attempting to learn barre chords and am having trouble with the G-string. What is happening is while I have sufficient pressure (at least I believe so?) the middle third of my index finger is extremely soft and the string still moves (as my flesh provides no resistance). Note this happens at all frets and I am only barring all 6 strings, not an actual chord per-say.

If I move my finger vertically, then whatever strings fall in that inner third has that issue. Then, testing this theory, I taped a penny to that section and tried - and it the barre played smoothly!

Which leads me to my question: overtime will I develop tougher skin where all 6 strings are pressed? Meaning just keep playing with the G string making a muted sound until one day it all falls into place?

7 Answers 7


It sounds like you might be pressing your finger at the wrong angle. Try rolling the index finger towards the nut (so your pinky rises away from the fretboard). You should be able to find a flatter part of the finger.

Unfortunately, the sweet spot is likely to be even more tender than the "center" of the finger. So it'll hurt more at first.

Edit: I feel compelled to remark (confess?) that I received this advice myself a few years after I started playing and it has made a world of difference for me. A year later when my thumb muscles developed, I was finally able to play Radiohead's Creep without resorting to root-position, "open-voiced* chords (to rest my hand).

Even now, when I flex my thumb to see the muscle bulge out, I call it my Radiohead muscle.


Hello to all the guys and gals out there, "sorry this is a long answer".

I have sympathy for all the people who struggle with muting either the d or b string or in fact any string, I have the same prob on "some" guitars. I was extremely frustrated so decided to do a simple study.

I read all the articles and advice from people saying press harder, build up strength, roll your finger etc etc. I had been an bricklayers hod carrier for years and could hold solid concrete blocks between my thumb and fingers, but still had probs on the guitar.

It was my finger shape that is the problem: the creases fell naturally over the D and B and even twisting the finger did not help as the crease go's a certain amount around the side. I even tried over a couple of years to adjust my finger back and to but this was not natural to me and it also brings forth other problems.

So I looked at various guitars -- I now have 15: some I mute the strings Some I don't. WHY? It is the shape of the fret board.

Guitars with smaller radius are much better. For instance, 12 and below are fine. Anything above was a problem.

You see some people have a natural curve in their index finger and that coupled with the fact the crease is quite deep and falls naturally on D or B string or in fact any string will cause the problem. I proved this to my self by playing an ibanez with a compound radius ( flatter as you go up the arm ) no problem with barres near the headstock but higher up where it is flatter YES problem.

I have no problem playing my Strat, Tele, or Rickenbacker ( very small radius ). Some acoustics have a small radius, My Ovation celebrity has a small radius.

I have just started to teach my Granddaughter to play. She can barre my flatter guitars better than me. Her fingers are straight and have virtually no crease. My hand and grip is 10 times stronger than hers. So my advice is try some guitars at a shop. Also try ones with jumbo or semi jumbo frets because this also really helps. cheers every one


Barre chords takes time to and a lot of practice to do correctly and in a nature way.
Try this exercise:

Start with a capo on the -say- sixth fret, and try to play the chord with barre there. Then practice a bit with that, and take the capo down to the fifth fret.
Take sometime playing it there -with barre-, and keep going down with the capo until you get to no capo and playing the chord -with barre-.

The trick is not to use too much muscles power.

(I play Spanish guitar, I'm not sure if this exercise is applicable for other types)

  • I can't seem to play any barre properly at any fret, even with using a capo at various frets. However, after doing this for about an hour I can definitely feel the muscle strain -- meaning it is helpful for barres in general but not helping with the elusive G string issue.
    – WSkid
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 0:29

Make sure your finger is as close to the fret as possible, then even where your finger joints are should be enough to push the string down behind the fret.

The other thing to look at is to push harder - with enough pressure you will be able to press the string down enough.

Having taller frets makes this easier, but if you have a neck with very low frets it will always be more difficult.

  • That's what I'm doing =) -- and this works for all but the one string pressing against that part of my finger. The string actually goes into my skin completely.. but it doesn't "hold" the string still even though it's completely enveloped.
    – WSkid
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 0:31

I have exactly the same problem as this and I'm pushing and rotating and it still mutes the G-string. What I've started doing in putting a few blobs of superglue on that part of my finger which seems to work quite well as it hardens up the skin but doesn't stop me playing notes and open chords. Imagine what a fool I felt when I started playing before the glue had completely dried and I had to walk around with my guitar stuck on my hand for over 3 weeks. It really messed up my tennis.


You just need to press harder.

Press down as hard as you can, then strum the chord.

Then back away the pressure until you find the approximate minimum to sound the chord.

You'll probably develop a little callous, but it probably has a lot more to do with pressure than the texture of the skin.

Bite the bullet and push hard!


Have to ask. Why would you need to press all 6 strings down with a barre? The chord it makes is so rare, I don't think I've ever needed to play it!

When playing most barred chords, several of the strings are already pressed down further up the neck, so you only need to press two or three with the barre finger. Get used to E and A shaped barre chords, and really don't worry about being able to simultaneously press down all 6.

  • This probably depends on the type of music you are playing and the tuning. Open Tuneings like Open E or G, a full barre chord would be a full chord -- though you'll often see a slide being used to help. Then you have chords like Am7 played at the fifth fret where its the entire barre + one other note (the E note on the A string in this case).
    – WSkid
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 19:24
  • @WSkid - my answer reflects standard tuning. I has to, otherwise nothing will make sense. But callouses are a ridiculous addition for me. Talking to a self taught guitarist yesterday - she had callouses, and couldn't believe I had none after 60 yrs playing, but she had them after 12 months. I need to help her...
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 19:37

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