Back to Course

Barre Chords for Everyone

  1. Start Here – What to Expect
  2. CHAPTER 1
    1.0 Chapter 1 Overview
  3. 1.1 The Power Chord – Part 1
  4. 1.2 The Power Chord – Part 2
  5. 1.3 Learn & Play-Along Song “Gonna Getch Ya”
  6. 1.4 Notes On The E (6th) String
  7. 1.5 Learn Song “Sweet Onion”
  8. 1.6 Play-Along With “Sweet Onion”
  9. 1.7 The Andalusian Cadence Progression
  10. 1.8 Learn “Stray Dog Stroll”
  11. 1.9 Play-Along With “Stray Dog Stroll”
  12. 1.10 Strength Builder #1
  13. 1.11 Using Power Chords in Songs
  14. 1.12 Wild Louie Progression
  15. 1.13 Most Used Progression Ever
  16. 1.14 Learn Song “Easy Is Better”
  17. 1.15 Play-Along With “Easy Is Better”
  18. 1.16 End of Chapter Notes & Quiz
    1 Quiz
  19. Final Step – Chapter 1
  20. CHAPTER 2
    2.0 Chapter 2 Overview
  21. 2.1 Barre Chords Come From Open Chords
  22. 2.2 Andalusian Cadence Revisited
  23. 2.3 Notes On The E String Review
  24. 2.4 Most Common Progression Reprise
  25. 2.5 Power Arpeggio Exercise
  26. 2.6 Notes On The A (5th) String
  27. 2.7 Learn Song “Reflections In The Moonlight”
  28. 2.8 Play-Along With “Reflections In The Moonlight”
  29. 2.9 Combine Strings & Learn “Long Way Home”
  30. 2.10 Play-Along With “Long Way Home”
  31. 2.11 Barre Finger Prep
  32. 2.12 Barre Finger Workout
  33. 2.13 Practicing Precision
  34. 2.14 End of Chapter Notes & Quiz
    1 Quiz
  35. Final Step – Chapter 2
  36. CHAPTER 3
    3.0 Chapter 3 Overview
  37. 3.1 First Full Barre Chord
  38. 3.2 Tips To Make Barre Chords Easier
  39. 3.3 Switching Between Barre And Open
  40. 3.4 Learn Song “Loving The Change”
  41. 3.5 Play-Along With”Loving The Change”
  42. 3.6 New Shape – Minor
  43. 3.7 Navigating the Guitar Neck
  44. 3.8 Left Hand Mute Strum
  45. 3.9 Learn Song “Jamaican Sun”
  46. 3.10 Play-Along With “Jamaican Sun”
  47. 3.11 End of Chapter 3 Notes & Quiz
    1 Quiz
  48. Final Step - Chapter 3
  49. CHAPTER 4
    4.0 Chapter 4 Overview
  50. 4.1 New Shape: A Minor
  51. 4.2 Switching in the Key of G
  52. 4.3 Learn Song “My Lady”
  53. 4.4 Play-Along With “My Lady”
  54. 4.5 The A Barre Shape
  55. 4.6 String/Root/Shape
  56. 4.7 One Progression/Two Zones
  57. 4.8 Rocking the Key of E
  58. 4.9 Learn Song “Carpark”
  59. 4.10 Play-Along With “Carpark”
  60. 4.11 Strength Builder #2 (A Shape Exercise)
  61. 4.12 End of Chapter Notes & Quiz
    1 Quiz
  62. Final Step - Chapter 4
  63. CHAPTER 5
    5.0 Chapter 5 Overview
  64. 5.1 Barre Chords the and 80/20 Rule
  65. 5.2 Chords in the Key of A
  66. 5.3 Learn “Barring Up the A Scale”
  67. 5.4 Play-Along With “Barring Up The A Scale”
  68. 5.5 The Beautiful Key of D
  69. 5.6 Learn the Song “Dreamy Night”
  70. 5.7 Play-Along With “Dreamy Night”
  71. 5.8 Key Changing Pattern Trick
  72. 5.9 Adding Some Blues (7th chords)
  73. 5.10 Learn the Song “Sunny Day Blues”
  74. 5.11 Play-Along With Sunny Day Blues
  75. 5.12 Touch Of Jazz (m7 chords)
  76. 5.13 Learn the Song “Misty Bossa”
  77. 5.14 Play-Along With “Misty Bossa”
  78. 5.15 End of Chapter Notes & Quiz
    1 Quiz
  79. Final Step - Course Completion
  80. BONUS SECTION
    Make Your Acoustic Guitar Easier to Play
  81. Memorizing the Notes on the Fretboard
  82. 5 Steps to Learn Barre Chords Faster
Lesson 80 of 82
In Progress

Make Your Acoustic Guitar Easier to Play

September 14, 2019

Making Your Guitar Easier To Play

When your first learn to play guitar, it can be pretty rough on your left hand. As you get better, it becomes easier. You learn better techniques, start to place your fingers properly, and learn how to angle your wrist in a more ergonomic way.

But it also helps to have your guitar work for you. What I mean by that is making your guitar as easy to play as possible.

This is especially critical when it comes to learning bar chords. It takes a lot of strength and proper technique to play these, even with a guitar that’s easy to play.

There are two aspects to making a guitar easy to play:

  • The strings you use on your guitar
  • The “action” adjustment of the guitar

The action of your guitar is essentially how high above the fretboard your strings are. This is mostly personal preference. But in general the lower the strings are the easier they are to play. But if it’s too low you’ll get a lot of string buzz.

Before we get into that, let’s talk about guitar strings.

Choosing The Right Guitar Strings

Most guitars come with what’s called a light string gauge. This varies by string manufacturer, but is generally sized as 12-53 (also seen as .012-.053 – you can also refer to them as “12s”). This is the thickness of the strings.

Light gauge strings are actually the middle thickness. You’ll generally see extra light, light, and medium. The higher the string gauge, the more full (thicker, more low end) your guitar will sound. But it’s also harder to play.

If you’re just starting to play guitar you could start with extra light strings. Extra light will be easier to press down. They’re going to be a little less loud than a higher gauge string. And more likely to buzz. But it’s a fair trade off while you’re working on your calluses and hand strength.

Another good option for many beginning guitar players are “silk and steel” strings. They’re a hybrid of acoustic strings. The lower wound strings have a nylon core instead of a steel core. This makes the strings a bit easier to play. The higher strings tend to be thinner as well.

I don’t think the sounds is as good as 80/20 bronze or phosphor bronze strings (the typical acoustic string material). But it might be a fair trade off to start. And you might like the tone better.

I see a lot of guitar students take this route until they build the strength and confidence to move up to a heavier gauge non-nylon string.

Most guitars come with what’s called a light string gauge. This varies by string manufacturer, but is generally sized as 12-53 (also seen as .012-.053 – you can also refer to them as “12s”). This is the thickness of the strings.

Light gauge strings are actually the middle thickness. You’ll generally see extra light, light, and medium. The higher the string gauge, the more full (thicker, more low end) your guitar will sound. But it’s also harder to play.

If you’re just starting to play guitar you could start with extra light strings. Extra light will be easier to press down. They’re going to be a little less loud than a higher gauge string. And more likely to buzz. But it’s a fair trade off while you’re working on your calluses and hand strength.

Another good option for many beginning guitar players are “silk and steel” strings. They’re a hybrid of acoustic strings. The lower wound strings have a nylon core instead of a steel core. This makes the strings a bit easier to play. The higher strings tend to be thinner as well.

I don’t think the sounds is as good as 80/20 bronze or phosphor bronze strings (the typical acoustic string material). But it might be a fair trade off to start. And you might like the tone better.

I see a lot of guitar students take this route until they build the strength and confidence to move up to a heavier gauge non-nylon string.

Adjusting The Guitar’s Action

Most guitars come with what’s called a light string gauge. This varies by string manufacturer, but is generally sized as 12-53 (also seen as .012-.053 – you can also refer to them as “12s”). This is the thickness of the strings.

Light gauge strings are actually the middle thickness. You’ll generally see extra light, light, and medium. The higher the string gauge, the more full (thicker, more low end) your guitar will sound. But it’s also harder to play.

If you’re just starting to play guitar you could start with extra light strings. Extra light will be easier to press down. They’re going to be a little less loud than a higher gauge string. And more likely to buzz. But it’s a fair trade off while you’re working on your calluses and hand strength.

Another good option for many beginning guitar players are “silk and steel” strings. They’re a hybrid of acoustic strings. The lower wound strings have a nylon core instead of a steel core. This makes the strings a bit easier to play. The higher strings tend to be thinner as well.

I don’t think the sounds is as good as 80/20 bronze or phosphor bronze strings (the typical acoustic string material). But it might be a fair trade off to start. And you might like the tone better.

I see a lot of guitar students take this route until they build the strength and confidence to move up to a heavier gauge non-nylon string.

The second thing to consider is adjusting the action. There are several ways to do that. I’ll tell you right up front that I usually have a guitar technician do that for me. I personally don’t take the chance of messing up my guitar. But there are some things that a lot of guitar players do themselves. I’ll at least mention them here.

Bridge And Nut

First of all, you can lower the string height by lowering the nut. That’s the white part behind the first fret that your strings sit on. You can also lower the bridge (saddle), which is the white plastic (or bone) part on the opposite end of the guitar.

You would either buy a shorter nut or saddle (in height), or file the bottom of them.

Do you see the risk here?

If you go too far down you can’t change it without buying a new one. You may get unwanted buzz you can’t fix.

The Truss Rod

The second main action adjustment is the truss rod. The truss rod is a metal rod that is in your neck. Right under the fretboard. It adjusts the bow of the neck. Believe it or not, you don’t want your neck to be perfectly flat!

This usually does bring the strings down the more your straighten the neck. It also brings the strings up the more you bow the neck.

You can tighten the truss rod bring the strings down a little. But if you bring them down too much, it’s going to buzz at some point on the guitar. You have to find the perfect balance of neck bow.

More Adjustments

Finally, a more in depth adjustment would be filing the frets themselves (called a fret mill). This is not something I would want to do myself. A good guitar technician can file and level the frets to make them even. This can be a big assist with the other two adjustments we talked about.

Again I prefer taking my guitars to a qualified guitar technician to do these things. But knowing these are possible to do at home will let you experiment with the small adjustments.

If you want to try this for yourself, I would recommend watching some good videos on YouTube.

Here is a really good one that explains setting up a guitar in depth:

How to Adjust the Action on an Acoustic Guitar

You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.