Playing a Full Bar

Monday, July 30, 2007

We’ve seen in our previous study that the first finger of the left hand is sometimes used to cover more than one string, as in the F chord, where it is used for two strings. When the finger goes across all the strings this is known as a full bar. Somewhat illogically, anything less than a full bar is known as a half bar.

Beginners tend to find barring difficult until the left hand has acquired a degree of strength and control. However, if the bar is done correctly it is not necessary to use great strength. As with the half bar, it is far more important to find the right position for the finger so that all the notes can sound clearly with only moderate pressure.

The Full Bar

Here is how to find the right position:
1. Imagine the fret to be taller than it is, like a wall rising from the fingerboard.
2. Imagine that you are going to lay your first finger into the corner formed by that wall and the fingerboard.
3. Place the first finger across the strings at the third fret, just touching them with no pressure.
4. Little by little, ease the finger down until you make contact with the fingerboard. As you do this, pass your right-hand thumb lightly and repeatedly across the strings. At first you will hear only the deadened sound of the strings damped by the left-hand finger. Then, as the barring finger moves into its position in the “corner,” the sound will become clear. At this point do not apply any more pressure; this is all you need.

The other secrets to good barring are these:
- Make sure that the crease at the first joint of the finger does not fall on a string. Adjust the position by moving the finger forward or back until the crease lies between the third and fourth strings.
- Do not let the finger curve—this will produce deadened or buzzing sounds on the inside strings.
- Remember to make and keep contact with the fret. Stay in the “corner.”

As a first practical exercise start at the third fret, and try this:

Chord block, first finger across the third fret

After playing this several times, easing into the bar until you hear a clear sound from all strings, add the notes of a full G chord like this:

Chord block

This is a particularly useful chord shape, because it can be used to make a full-sounding major chord at any accessible fret on the guitar. For example:



Here the E chord shape is duplicated with a bar to form other chords. In the same way, the A-minor shape may be moved to form new minor chords.


Instead of showing all the frets from the beginning, it is customary to show the position on the guitar with a Roman numeral. Notes barred together are frequently shown with a slightly curved line.

Chord block. A chord at fifth fret.

Here the A chord is played at the fifth fret with a full bar.
Now here are some more useful movable chords to add to your store.

Movable Chords

The chords are shown with their names at the third fret. However, the G minor could be
moved back to the first fret to form an F minor, or forward to the fifth fret to form an A
minor.


4 comments:

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Melanie said...

This is word for word out of How to Play the Guitar for Dummy's. You need to give credit.

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navin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.