LESSON: Free yourself from painful barre chords

Y’know what’s always kinda baffled me? The emphasis placed on barre chords for beginners. They hurt, they’re hard and the majority of pro players only use partial versions anyway – letting other instruments share part of the chord – so players who learn those songs with full barre chords could be playing them wrong! I’m not saying they’re not important, because duh, but I think they needlessly stress out a lot of beginners.

So what can you do if you’re struggling with barre chords but you really, really want to play a particular song? Well here’s a helpful method which will:

a) Get you playing the song in a recognisable, listenable fashion;

b) Increase your confidence and finger strength so that when you actually do want to play a full six-string barre chord, you’ll be in better shape to do so; and

c) Make you really cool.

To start with, here are four common barre chord shapes, presented here in the key of A.

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