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Barre Chords in 28 Steps

Over the next month, we’re going to work through a series of exercises and lessons that will gradually train your hands to nally master barre chords once and for all. But before we begin, there are a few points you need to keep in mind:

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Course Overview

This is a practice PLAN, an organized program that develops skills over time. So it doesn’t start right away with barre chords! If that approach worked, you wouldn’t be reading this.

We begin with simple finger exercises that build control, coordination, and finger independence. This is a part of the process most people neglect, and a big reason why so many struggle. DO the exercises…they are there for a reason, to build specfic mechanical abilities in your hands.

And practice them slowly, at the tempo of the videos or slower. Finger exercises only help when you do them regularly and deliberately. That’s part of what this course is meant to teach you: HOW to practice and what to think about when you’re practicing.

Lessons in this Series:

David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 1

The Mindset for Better Barre Chords

The Mindset for Better Barre Chords

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 0.0 Free Sample Lesson
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 2

Activating 4 fingers

This is a simple chromatic scale exercise in the open position, working all four fingers as you move across this strings. You may have done something like this before, but there is very different.

Length: 12:13 Difficulty: 0.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 3

C major scale exercise

This is an application of the dynamic hand position concept. Think of it as cross-training for your hands.

Length: 4:47 Difficulty: 0.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 4

Building C, F, and G

In this video we take a closer look at the mechanics of the 4-string simple F chord, including the position of the wrist, hand, and barre finger.

Length: 6:58 Difficulty: 0.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 5

Knuckle flexing in Bb

Flexibility of the tip joint is essential to playing many barre chords. This exercise works you through a series of melodic patterns in the key of Bb that require flexing the tip segment of the index and ring fingers to cross strings.

Length: 5:14 Difficulty: 0.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 6

Power chord shapes

The goal is to really get to know your fretting hand, how one finger feels relative to another, and how the wrist and forearm assist each movement.

Length: 5:33 Difficulty: 0.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 7

Building the full F chord

If you’ve been working with the smaller 4-note F chord form up to this point, you may be surprised to find that the 6-note form is easier, because now we’re really starting to use leverage to our advantage.

Length: 7:28 Difficulty: 1.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 8

C, F, and G chords with a backing track

Now you’re going to apply everything we’ve done up to this point to play C, full F, and G barre chords in time with a backing track. There are two versions of the track, slower and faster. Pick the one you feel most comfortable with at this time.

Length: 8:47 Difficulty: 1.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 9

G major scale exercise

This lesson is all about paying attention. Keep in mind that most people play barre chord exercises like this blindly and much too fast. Concentrate on the right things and there’s enough to think about to keep your head in the game.

Length: 4:41 Difficulty: 1.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 10

Building new chord shapes

The exercise starts with building the chords one finger at a time, NOT worrying about holding down every note to start with but staying focused on hand position. As always, slow and deliberate is the key!

Length: 8:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 11

Pinky Stretch Blues

Another exercise in finger independence but a big step closer to the big barre chords. This one uses power chord shapes to outline chords. As mentioned in our previous power chord exercise, these forms are part of the larger shapes and are great for gently developing your reach.

Length: 3:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 12

Partial barre chords

In this exercise you’ll be working primarily on the three treble strings, using forms that will become familiar if they aren’t already. We’re now looking to treat these shapes as ringing chords, so the notes should be held and played together. The index finger will hold down two and sometimes...

Length: 7:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 13

The full B minor barre chord

Here we are at the next of the essential big barre chords! This form builds on the 4-note shape you practiced on day 9, but adds a low bass note.

Length: 9:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 14

The B major barre chord

This one is another essential shape, and a big challenge for most people in the beginning. You should recognize the now-familiar building process, adding fingers one at a time at first but keeping them on the strings as you go.

Length: 5:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 15

B Ready!

Welcome to another milestone…today we’re putting some pieces together with a backing track! Looking at the onscreen tab or the pdfs, you’ll notice how we start with the power chord shapes played as individual notes, and build gradually into the full chords.

Length: 4:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 16

Finger workout – E minor scale

After all that intense chord work of the last couple of days, it’s time to take a step back and return to some simpler finger exercises. This one is in the key of E minor, and you may find it a little easier than some of the previous ones. The main point is a little different, though: this...

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 1.5 Member Only
David Isaacs Guitar Lessons Lesson 17

More barre chord shapes

Today we’re adding a different part to yesterday’s backing track. This one moves across the neck, using mostly three and four-note barre chords derived from the larger barre shapes you learned as B minor and B major.

Length: 9:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Member Only
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