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Barre Chords: The Mindset & Principles of Success (Guitar Lesson)

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David Isaacs

Barre Chords: The Mindset & Principles of Success

The Mindset for Better Barre Chords

Taught by David Isaacs in Barre Chords in 28 Steps seriesLength: 32:12Difficulty: 0.0 of 5

Welcome to the 28 Day Barre Chord Practice Plan!

Over the next month, we’re going to work through a series of exercises and lessons that will gradually train your hands to finally master barre chords once and for all.

But before we begin, there are a few points you need to keep in mind:

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 specific 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.

The sequence is meant to be practiced daily, and designed so that you can do real, meaningful work in UNDER fifteen minutes a day. But without a commitment to daily practice, you won’t 2 get the full benefit of the course.

Twenty-eight days is a guideline. Do the exercises in sequence, but feel free to spend more time on any one of the lessons if you feel you need more work before you move on. On the flipside, if you find the material easy you can choose to jump ahead or take on more than one video a day. But remember that no one is ever too skilled to benefit from deliberate practice, and even an easy exercise can still move you forward if you approach it mindfully.

Make sure your guitar is set up properly, for maximum playability. The instrument shouldn’t fight you.
If you’ve never had your guitar “set up”, now would be a great time to do it. This is really part of standard maintenance on guitars, as essential as changing the oil in your car. Find a qualified guitar 4 tech and let them know you want to make the guitar as easy to play as possible.

So I’ll sum it up like this

  • It’s a process, so give it time to work.
  • Real progress requires real commitment, so practice every day.
  • Recognize that working at your own pace is not only ok, it’s essential.
  • Make sure your instrument is a usable tool and not an obstacle.

Ready? Let’s go!

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

microsnoutmicrosnout replied

This is a GREAT course! - as I fully expected from Dave Isaacs. I have no chance whatsoever of completing it in 28 days however - I expect about 5 to 7 times that based on current progress. I am currently up to Day 10 but still working on days 7 through 10.

TheFugsTheFugs replied

Everything you said in the first video is what's been on my mind. I can play a F chord, but getting there is too slow; my middle finger always jump up instead of getting to the right note, and the chord isn't always ringing out; after a few times practicing my hand hurts like a m**** ; i've been at it for a few months now, i know its not a race, but not being able to do these chords is really holding me back; everything i want to play has this bar chords in it, so i hope these lessons will help.

schemp98schemp98 replied

Are videos still being made? It looks like there are 10 days missing... Wish that there were "posted on" dates...

AaronMillerAaronMiller replied

Hi! The lessons are still being added. There will be 28 lessons soon! Which day are you on now?

schemp98schemp98 replied

I only just started Day 2.... Ok great, looking forward to the other 10 lessons, just wasn't sure when this started getting posted and when it was scheduled to be completed. I appreciate the response!

Barre Chords in 28 Steps

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Over the next month, we’re going to work through a series of exercises and lessons that will gradually train your hands to finally master barre chords once and for all.

Barre Chords: The Mindset & Principles of SuccessLesson 1

Barre Chords: The Mindset & Principles of Success

The Mindset for Better Barre Chords

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Activating 4 fingersLesson 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 Members Only
C major scale exerciseLesson 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 Members Only
Building C, F, and GLesson 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 Members Only
Knuckle flexing in BbLesson 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...

Length: 5:14 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Power chord shapesLesson 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 Members Only
Building the full F chordLesson 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 Members Only
C, F, and G chords with a backing trackLesson 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...

Length: 8:47 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
G major scale exerciseLesson 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...

Length: 4:41 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Building new chord shapesLesson 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 Members Only
Pinky Stretch BluesLesson 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...

Length: 3:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Partial barre chordsLesson 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,...

Length: 7:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The full B minor barre chordLesson 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 Members Only
The B major barre chordLesson 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...

Length: 5:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
B Ready!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...

Length: 4:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finger workout – E minor scaleLesson 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...

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
More barre chord shapesLesson 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...

Length: 9:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Moving notes against held barre chordsLesson 18

Moving notes against held barre chords

One of the reasons barre chords are so challenging is that they require asking your fingers to hold two different positions at the same time. This is why finger independence is so important. It might not...

Length: 9:30 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Triads and partial barres 1Lesson 19

Triads and partial barres 1

As we’ve already seen, a barre chord doesn’t have to cover all the strings. Mastering partial barres is essential to a well-rounded chord vocabulary. This exercise uses mostly three-note forms, working...

Length: 10:57 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Triads and partial barres 2Lesson 20

Triads and partial barres 2

Building on the chord work in the previous few lessons, this one introduces a new four-note shape that might be familiar to some of you. It’s not a barre, at least not the way it’s used here, but it’s...

Length: 10:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Mixed partial and full barre chordsLesson 21

Mixed partial and full barre chords

This next exercise mixes several of the barre forms you’ve learned so far. At this point, you do need to be able to sustain the chords, so this is a good time to take inventory.

Length: 7:50 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
More mixed chord formsLesson 22

More mixed chord forms

Today’s exercise is a two-fer! The track has two distinct guitar parts and two pdf charts, one played on acoustic guitar and one on electric. You can use either type of guitar on either part, just as...

Length: 9:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Building 6-note barre chordsLesson 23

Building 6-note barre chords

In this exercise we’re going to complete our set of the four primary barre chords. We’ve looked at the idea of classifying them in categories, and today we’re going to add the one primary form we...

Length: 2:03 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Partial barre chordsLesson 24

Partial barre chords

At this point, you should be clear on the process we’ve been using as each new chord is introduced. We covered the six-note minor form last lesson; today we’re using 4-note partial barre chords in...

Length: 9:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mixed partial and full barre chordsLesson 25

Mixed partial and full barre chords

Today we move into a new key and a new combination of chords. This time, the chords are played one note at a time as arpeggios. You have the option of building the chord as we’ve done before, or you...

Length: 11:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Full barre chordsLesson 26

Full barre chords

Today we complete the set of our four primary barre forms, building on what we’ve done so far. Remember that we can classify the chords by quality (major or minor) and location of the root note (5th...

Length: 11:03 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Sliding barre chordsLesson 27

Sliding barre chords

Today’s exercise presents a new challenge. Sliding the same barre formation along the same strings is a little more dicult than the release-and-glide technique we’ve been using. Releasing the strings...

Length: 8:38 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Sliding partial chords – strength and staminaLesson 28

Sliding partial chords – strength and stamina

This one might seem really simple, and in some ways it is. We’ve explored how partial forms can give us different sounds to play with, and new ways to play familiar chords. In this case, we’re using...

Length: 8:04 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Putting it all togetherLesson 29

Putting it all together

Congratulations, you made it! If you can play exercise 28 all the way through, you have successfully completed the 28 Day Barre Chord Plan.

Length: 9:52 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
David Isaacs

About David Isaacs View Full Biography Nashville-based Dave Isaacs has made a name for himself as one of Music City's top guitar instructors, working with both professional and aspiring songwriters and artists at his Music Row teaching studio. He is also an instructor in the music department at Tennessee State University and is the coordinator and artistic director of the annual TSU Guitar Summit.

A seasoned performer as well, Dave has released eight independent CDs and gigs steadily as a solo artist, bandleader, and sideman. He continues to write, record, and perform as well as arranging and producing projects for other artists.

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