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Barring the fifth fret (only 4 strings) is just not working out, the second string always seems to be muted.

I'm using an electric guitar (don't know if barre chords are easier on acoustic)

I probably just suck and need to practice it more, but i'd love to see if anyone here plays this differently (an easier way)

  • Do you mean the open A is muted? Or the 6th fret note on the G string? – Doktor Mayhem Feb 14 at 9:41
  • @DoktorMayhem I believe OP means the 5th fret on the B string (2nd string). – Ian Feb 14 at 9:43
  • Ah - I see, they mean 2nd string of the chord including the open one. That's even stranger then - the first fretted note of a barre chord is usually the easiest. – Doktor Mayhem Feb 14 at 9:46

One way to play A9 there is to barre across the four strings, and with careful finger placing it will work. Another is to use four separate fingers - in ascending order - index, ring, middle, pinky.

It's not impossible, just a little awkward, like a lot of chords on guitar! The barre version is quite convenient to get to should the previous chord also be barred, so it's worth persevering. Try moving the index finger across the strings - it may well be that the 2nd string is just where the crease in that finger is. Almost impossible to press strings down with finger creases!

EDIT: another way is to make a 6 string barre - across the lot - on fret 5, which gives you the low A note on bottom string. You will, of course, then have to mute 5th string.

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Even if an alternative fingering is possible, I would argue that being able to play a barred chord like this is a skill that is worth learning. I would approach this chord like so:

Bar at 5th fret with middle finger on the 6th fret 3rd string and the ring finger on 7th fret 1st string. Pretty straight-forward.

Now, how you can prevent accidentally muting the 2nd string? Try increasing the angle of attack on your fingers, i.e. try to have the finger tips more perpendicular to the fret board. That prevents your middle finger and your ring finger from muting the second string. However, I think your problem is most likely that there is not enough pressure on your index finger barring at the 5th fret. Try barring closer to the fret, as you need less force there. Many people use the less fleshy side of their index finger to bar, so try tilting your index a little bit towards the headstock. Lastly, try to find a position for the index finger where you can apply optimal pressure to the 2nd and 4th string. Some parts of your finger are just better at pressing down strings and this can be individual.

Practice by using the chord in a higher position where your fingers do not have to stretch as much. Strum the chord slowly until you can hear all strings clearly.

Next, play the chord at the intended position and practice there. Notice the difference in the finger positions from the wider frets. If you can play it here with some effort, you can practice coming from a different chord to this one in order to generate the muscle memory to play this chord reliably. In the end, muscle memory is all that it is.

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