Monday, September 1, 2008

Hello all - one of the things that happened today with a student is that I came across a very common problem that occurs with many students when they try to play barre chords. Now to review a little tiny bit, one halfstep is the distance of one fret and one wholestep is the distance of two frets. When playing barre chords you must usually keep the index finger barred across the strings and then place the 3rd and 4th finger 2 frets (one wholestep) above the barre.

The problem usually occurs when sliding the chord shape around. Most students do not keep the index finger a wholestep away from teh 3rd and 4th finger due to lack of strength and perception.

The index finger must remain a wholestep away from the thirsd and fourth finger at all times when you move the chord. Many students are very lazy and do not keep the fingers separated, thus allowing the third finger to crunch inward to be only a half step away from the index finger. This of course makes the chord sound terrible and I have tried explaining the problem repeatedly to students with little or no acknowledgement of any understanding - just yet another stratight ahead barge into playing it the exact same way (crunching the fingers too close together) over and over again, even with repeated corrections and repeated explanation of the problem. I dont know how to make people "get it" other than to keep repeating myself until they begin to vaguely pay attention. But the sound of an incorrectly played barre chord should be really all the notice that one needs, however most students dont respond to that. So here is a blog explaining it and if anyone is having problems making barre chords sound correct, this is the number one problem. Dont let your hands crunch your fingers too closely together. What happens with weak lazy barre chord fingering as that the fingers play a root and a b5 note and many times I see people playing a root, 5b and major 7 instead of a root 5, and octave. There is a place for b5 maj7 chords bur we reserve that for jazz standards not beginning rock tunes.

So keep the fingers spread apart by a wholestep, especially when you slide the chord up and down.

Any comments?

Pebber Brown