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Barre Chords Too much pressure


Weezer
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Hi I play guitar for two years now. My biggest difficulty are barre chords. I can play them flawlessly, but after 1 or 2 minutes of a song that consists of barre chords my right hand ( I am a lefty) starts aching and my playing gets inaccurate. I think the pressure of my finger on the fretboard is too high, but if I try to play more relaxed Rocksmith refuses to recognize the chord.Anyone else with the same problem or any hint for resolving this? Thx

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First step: Check the neck relief and action on your guitar. It doesn't take much to make a guitar really difficult to play. Take a capo, put it on the first fret, hold the low E down with a finger on the 14th fret, then use spark plug gauges to measure the relief at the sixth fret or so. The distance between the string and the fret wire there is the relief -- 0.25 mm is a good distance (could be more or less depending on the neck radius). Adjust the truss rod if needed. After that, adjust the string height at the bridge. The nut is a part of the equation too -- if the nut slots are cut properly, they'll make barre chords on the first frets really difficult. (Take the guitar to a tech is you don't feel up to making these adjustments.)

 

Once you're certain the guitar is properly set up: Make sure you're playing without tension -- do a checklist of your body, starting with your fingers, your hand, your wrist, etc -- up into your shoulder, neck and back. Make sure the entire chain stays really relaxed. That should help keep your hands from becoming fatigued.

 

Also, check the bar you're making. You shouldn't need a lot of pressure at all -- maybe try focusing just on the bar for a bit, figuring out the exact amount of pressure you need.

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At my age cramping is a big problem. I can play Barr chords but not for long period's

 

All the more reason to make certain your guitar is set up properly. If you're fighting against neck bow and high action, it's just going to wear you out. And especially as you get older, it can injure your hand. The lower the action, the easier it is to make the barre chord without having to clamp the neck.

 

I also like guitars with a zero fret for this reason -- much easier to play (it's like playing with a capo).

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uJP2rWbMig#t=82

Check out this lesson from Justin Sandercoe http://justinguitar.com He has an excellent free site (works on a donation "honour system") that has hundreds of technique and song lessons.  I am not affiliated but have bought several of his books and appreciate his support for the music community in general. 

Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster; Epiphone Nighthawk Custom; Westone Concord 1: Italia Mondial Classic;


Epiphone J Mascis Jazzmaster; Chapman ML2 Classic Gold-top


 

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My guitar seems to be fine, I think the note recognition of Drop D -tuned barre chords is pretty bad..

 

Any opinions?

 

I get the feeling that Rocksmith is extremely persnickety about chords, even in standard tuning. You have to hit all of the strings in the chord at exactly the right time with exactly the right balance between all of the notes (well, there's a bit of leeway probably but it seems kind of random), otherwise you'll get a 'miss'. It's too bad Rocksmith can't tell us why it gives a miss.

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I 100% agree with the importance of a good setup. Take it to a guitar tech if your not up to doing it yourself but it is definitely worth learning as you would be very lucky to find a good tech who would take the time to figure out a setup that is best for you.

 

Another things to consider in addition to dropping your string gauge is that pure nickle round core strings are easier to play on then hex core strings. DR Blues are one example of round wound strings that are accessible at most music stores. They are easier to do bends on and just easier on the hands in general.Basically, it a lower tension string...so 10 gauge will feel like 9 gauge etc.

 

The scale length of the guitar and the radius of the neck are also factors. You'll find less tension in the neck of a Les Paul type guitar as opposed to a Stratocaster type guitar because a strat has a longer scale length (24.75 Vs. 25.5).

 

Finding the most comfortable neck radius for you takes experimentation. Go to a music store and play a lot of guitars and once you've found a neck you like make a mental note of the radius for future reference. It is generally accepted though that 7.25 is more comfortable for chording but it's not practical unless you want to buy a vintage guitar or a reissue. I've also heard that larger necks are more comfortable for some people as well but I have not yet been able to try one myself.

 

Obviously, you'd want to try the setup and string changing before going shopping for a new guitar but these are just a few things to consider if you ever are in the market for a new one.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

My guitar seems to be fine, I think the note recognition of Drop D -tuned barre chords is pretty bad..

 

Any opinions?

 

I get the feeling that Rocksmith is extremely persnickety about chords, even in standard tuning. You have to hit all of the strings in the chord at exactly the right time with exactly the right balance between all of the notes (well, there's a bit of leeway probably but it seems kind of random), otherwise you'll get a 'miss'. It's too bad Rocksmith can't tell us why it gives a miss.

 

 

 

It's because polyphonic pitch detection is extremely hard. Nobody has perfected it at a level of a trained ear yet, nobody.  If you can do it reasonably well you'll end up with a number of technical grammys (see: melodyne)

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My guitar seems to be fine, I think the note recognition of Drop D -tuned barre chords is pretty bad..

 

Any opinions?

 

I get the feeling that Rocksmith is extremely persnickety about chords, even in standard tuning. You have to hit all of the strings in the chord at exactly the right time with exactly the right balance between all of the notes (well, there's a bit of leeway probably but it seems kind of random), otherwise you'll get a 'miss'. It's too bad Rocksmith can't tell us why it gives a miss.

 

 

 

It's because polyphonic pitch detection is extremely hard. Nobody has perfected it at a level of a trained ear yet, nobody.  If you can do it reasonably well you'll end up with a number of technical grammys (see: melodyne)

 

 

It's partly because of the way Rocksmith is notated too - they might have come up with a way to notate this better. Something says: Hold the chord like this but only hit these strings.

 

I think this is possible using EOF's tech notes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Seems to me so far your intonation has to be really close to perfect or you get a lot of misses on chords.  Also, try tuning just before the songs you have the most trouble on as that will help the tone recognition work less hard to understand what's going on.

 

Keep in mind the game is just interpreting electric signals turned into 1's and 0's so while it sound fine to you and me the computer is just being a computer.

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@@Arsenal

Really? You don't have to put as much pressure on a short-scale?

Do you have a source for this? I would buy a short-scale in a heartbeat! (Not that I have any real cramping problems that annoy me)

 

Also, yeah, I think RS is a bit finicky with intonation. My guitars are all so hotrodded (and/or worn) that playing at lower frets sometimes just gets random misses... Doesn't matter to meeee, 'long as it sounds good!

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I can't think of a source offhand but it works something like this: If you were to take a 25.5 and a 24.75 scale length guitar and put the same gauge strings on them,then the latter guitar will require less tension to bring the strings to pitch and will for the majority of people feel easier to play. This is not considering the neck shape or radius and the individuals tastes,all of which are huge factors in choosing an instrument.

 

The best advice I can think of for a player of two years,like the original poster,is to get a good setup and take breaks when your hands start cramping etc. For an older player,or perhaps someone who suffers from tendonitis or arthritis, I would suggest they consider the scale length,string gauge, and neck shape to lessen any pain they feel while playing or following.

 

For everyone else you already gave pretty good advice inadvertently in your post,if it sounds good it is good,and to that I will add if it feels right then it is right. Of course,this applies mainly to guitars as this sort of advice could get you into trouble in other areas of your life.  :wink:

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There's a definite difference in string tension between the two scales. The shorter Gibson scale will feel a bit looser. There's a difference in sound too -- the Fender scale has the snap and twang that Gibsons don't, but the Gibsons get that creamy sound a Fender can't.

 

Another tip for older players: stay away from Every Breath You Take. I've got pretty large hands, a pretty good reach, but I had to give up on the song -- it was killing my wrist. Definitely evil, that one.

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  • 1 month later...

Also it's just how you hold the neck and endurance. I can play for several hours at a time on single note and basic and non-barred jazz chords. But my hand will tire after about 30 minutes of straight bar-chords. I think part of it is just putting in the time to get the endurance on that technique. My hand used to cramp up when I was tapping those arpeggios like in the lesson and some of the songs on RS (like when you riff repeat the section from Satch Boogie over and over again) but after months and hours of practice, Not anymore. I almost wonder if you might look into one of those cheap practice necks, that have the strings on them. Just as a light hand exercise when you're sitting at work or whatnot. And I  agree that RS has some issues with chord detection. Both when you get them wrong and you know you're doing it right and when it detects that you did it right and you're doing it wrong. For drop D I'll usually tune then drop a few cents flat on the E string and that seems to help note detection. I know my guitar is set up properly, but for some reason RS2014 seems to have a hard time with drop D although not as much as the old RS did. 

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