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Session 7 - Barre Chords on the 6th String


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I'm trying to wrap up Session 7, but I'm not quite sure what should I actually know from the music theory part to confidently move forward. I can spell out all the scales without any thought. Am I ready to move on? Should I know by heart the notes that are sharpened/flattened for each scale?

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Hi, @Stefan , way to go! Session 7 is a big step. The answer to your question really depends on where you want to go on guitar. But I would advise: yes, unequivocally, learn all 12 scales. The flats, sharps, and key signatures. Give it a couple of minutes every day until, as Steve says, you can say them as fast as you can write them, even as you start on Session 8. The payoffs are big. Knowing the scales will demystify intervals and prepare you for spelling any chord in the book. And when you practice all those scales, as in Steve's major scales workout, the fretboard begins to open up. You start seeing notes instead of dots. Go for it.

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Way to go, Stefan. Now to answer your question, while being practical:

Somebody did some research and found that in thirty million songs, one-third of them are written in the four major keys of G, C, D, and A. The most common keys of songs written in minor keys are Am, Em, and Bm. It’s noted that Am is the relative minor of C, Em is the relative minor of G, and Bm is the relative minor of D. Also E#m is the relative minor of A, one of the four common keys. Add to this the fact that G is the most easy key to play on guitar.

If you consider that guitarists often accompany piano, the key of C is the most common key for a piano, but not so much for a guitar. E is easy to play on guitar, but not piano. The key of G is easy to play on both piano and guitar.

What does all this mean? If you memorize the keys of G, C, D, A, Am, Em, Bm, and E#m, you’ll probably be able to play just about any song solo or accompany a piano player. And memorizing eight keys is much easier than putting the entire Circle of Fifths to memory. It’s a practical answer to your question. And let's not forget that wonderful thing called a Capo. Lotsa luck. Best, John

Edited by John Wells
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  • 10 months later...

Lesson 7 has been an eye opener for me.  When I started this course I had been using some of the basic barre chords on both the 5th and 6th strings, but apparently not for long enough sessions to see that I had finger strength issues.  I find that now, after a week (and a sore wrist) I'm more accurate and smooth with my 6th string barre chords (with the exception of the 6 string C's and D's when I start getting tired)...still working on the hand strength issue.  

Another thing I found is that although I've gotten pretty smooth on the 6th string barre chord changes, on the last page of exercises in the resource book, where you combine open chords and barre chords, I find that my open chord changes are pretty rusty now, after getting to a point where they were pretty smooth at the end of session 6.  I'm now thinking that maybe I need to add to my practice warm up chord changes for every chord I know, along with my pentatonic scales, etc.  Is this typical, that you need to keep practicing chord changes for all the chords you know as you move forward in learning guitar?  I'm thinking of starting at A and changing from A to Am, A to A7...through all of the chords, open and barre, then doing the same pivoting from Am, and so on as an exercise, probably one pivot chord per day...60 chord changes (probably one bar per chord) once I include the 5th string barre chords each day.  Does anyone have any insight into whether this makes sense or has another way to keep improving my chord changes?

I "played the guitar" many years ago but only learned a few open chords and some barre chords, I'm realizing now how much practice is required to really play chords well, and how technical chords are in relation to other guitar skills.  It seems to me that if you can master chords, the other stuff will come much easier.

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@ScottH You're progressing well Scott. Many students experience the same. Your hands are building strength as you do this so it's normal they get tired. Try not to use all "grip strength". If you pull the guitar towards you as well as grip, you'll lessen the strain on your hands and wrist. Yes you should still practice open chords as well, while you're learning /practising barre chords. But you don't have to do 60 at a time! Try picking a key and play the chords in open position and then in barre chords (lLike key of C ; C, D, E, F, G, A, B; no sharps or flats, in major then minor, then 7ths) Next day try another key, Switch back and forth from Open to Barre. Try barre chords in a simple song with 3 chords. 

You're right that when you know your chords in a given key, you're on the way. 

Neil

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Thanks Neil!  Makes sense, I had no idea about pulling the guitar toward me, nice.  For the chords, I’ll work the keys like you said, Which will help my scale memorization at the same time, thanks.

 

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2 hours ago, ScottH said:

Thanks Neil!  Makes sense, I had no idea about pulling the guitar toward me, nice.  For the chords, I’ll work the keys like you said, Which will help my scale memorization at the same time, thanks.

 

@ScottH And Scott..  for those simple songs with chords  in a given key, focus on the root ( the "1" chord) the 4th( Major ) chord and 5th (Dominant 7th) chords . This is a very common chord "1,4,5" progression, (especially in the Blues) and you'll find yourself stumbling upon some familiar sounding songs🎸. A lot more fun this way!

(You could also try "1(major), 6(minor), 4(major), 5( domanant 7th)" chord progression, for a '50's, '60''s style pop rock progression.

N

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I have really fell off from this course. But due to this COVID-19 pandemic happening and having a lockdown commencing in South Africa soon. I feel that going back to the course will help me cope through these difficult times.
 

I have recently completed session 6 and I am very excited to get going with session 7.

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@Karabo, good to hear from you.  I think there are a lot of people are using music to help "cope through these difficult times."  For some of us it's listening to it.  For others of us, many of us on here, it's picking up that guitar and trying to create some.  Please keep us up-to-date on how you are progressing.

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I got to a point where I was getting the Major and minor barres to sound good and getting all the strings to sound with the other forms.  However, I'm a little paranoid and indecisive if my wrist is too far forward/bent, but if I try to reduce the amount of bend then the m7, sus, 7 barre chords go back to being muffled.   Does anyone have a good definitive source for wrist position?  Steve mentions to make sure the wrist comes forward a bit and not to have it completely behind the neck and it definitely seems easier to barre the further forward the wrist is, but I don't want to end up with carpal tunnel.

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7 hours ago, S Bach said:

I got to a point where I was getting the Major and minor barres to sound good and getting all the strings to sound with the other forms.  However, I'm a little paranoid and indecisive if my wrist is too far forward/bent, but if I try to reduce the amount of bend then the m7, sus, 7 barre chords go back to being muffled.   Does anyone have a good definitive source for wrist position?  Steve mentions to make sure the wrist comes forward a bit and not to have it completely behind the neck and it definitely seems easier to barre the further forward the wrist is, but I don't want to end up with carpal tunnel.

You might want to try a slightly different playing position with the headstock raised making the fretboard on a 45 degree  angle to your body. This puts less strain on your wrist and make fretting barre chords easier.

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This is a great resource for learning the notes on your string.  It randomizes note names and also has an optional timer to automatically switch notes.  I learn all my natural notes on the strings then start with the enharmonic/flat/sharp notes.  I do one note at a time.  5 mins or less a day will give great results after a week or two.  Say em and play em!

https://random.bretpimentel.com/

Edited by Jusca
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  • 1 month later...

I'm trying this again.  For the third time in my life. This is where the learning stopped both other times.  But I feel pretty good about it.

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rkl312: Awesome! Hang in there. i attempted awhile back, then last year decided that no matter what happened, I would learn to play guitar. I've had life getting full and missing a lot of practice, but this time I keep picking away at it. I'm working on chords too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I started session 7 last week. I’ve not quite got my open chord transitions as clean as I want yet and continue to work on them. It will take quite awhile to get that left index finger strong enough to play barre chords well. So I’m just working on the shapes and the exercises on that first page. Steve’s new workout series on barre chords was really good and is a great new companion to this session. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Keeping going on Session 7. Slowly getting that index finger strong and straight. Found the secret that the finger shape for F and 4 finger open C is the same which makes that chord change nice. Maybe nobody talks like that and says 4 finger open C. Like Home On the Range and it’s a good one for learning to sing and play at the same time. I think one more week and it’s on to 5 string Barre chords.

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Posted (edited)

Congrats Steve. I'm working on chords too. I started the Song Hits package and first of all it's fun. It also helps with both chord practice and playing notes. The full version songs are too much right now, but a fun long term project. I warm up practicing "You Got It" and then on to L&M chord practice.

Rock On!

Edited by pkotof
correction
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Posted (edited)

I was doing the scales "homework" and was rather discouraged about being told to memorize them. I flipped through the next few chapters and those flashcards in later chapters clearly show a very easy to memorize pattern to all the sharps and flats for the scales. So glad I looked ahead, I would have wasted a lot of time trying to memorize things without seeing the obvious patterns.

Edited by Tomk2
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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

Was wondering if anyone else has had trouble with the B-string playing 6th string barre chords? For some reason I'm having trouble getting that string to ring out, even higher up the neck where the tension isn't that great. This is less of a problem playing just 5 or 4 strings. It gets even worse with the added notes. 

It seems to have more to do with finger placement than it does with strength, I'm wondering if there's an easy fix to this problem besides getting the guitar reset. I'm playing an acoustic steel string for what it's worth. 

Thanks

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On the 7th fret B (then 8th fret C, and 10th fret 10) the frets are getting closer and closer

You maybe finding that it just seems a little tight compared to say G barre on the 3rd frrt

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks...

Turns out the joints in my fingers where I would naturally place the first finger land exactly on top of the B and D strings, creating a type of gap for these strings in particular. 

I'm getting there on the Fmaj barre chord repositioning my first finger but the F7 barre chord is a pain. Found out the D string will also sounds muted attempting this chord. Slightly rolling the finger towards the headstock helps, but it's probably going to take finger placement consistency in my case. However, when I just attempt the barre using only one finger, most if not all of the strings will ring out, I guess I'm still losing a bit of strenght in the first finger adding the other notes. 

I'm working on it... 

 

 

Edited by kenneth
typo
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/3/2020 at 3:20 AM, kenneth said:

Thanks...

Turns out the joints in my fingers where I would naturally place the first finger land exactly on top of the B and D strings, creating a type of gap for these strings in particular. 

I'm getting there on the Fmaj barre chord repositioning my first finger but the F7 barre chord is a pain. Found out the D string will also sounds muted attempting this chord. Slightly rolling the finger towards the headstock helps, but it's probably going to take finger placement consistency in my case. However, when I just attempt the barre using only one finger, most if not all of the strings will ring out, I guess I'm still losing a bit of strenght in the first finger adding the other notes. 

I'm working on it... 

 

 

I am glad you figured it out. I had the same problem and it turned out that the nut groove was cut wrong for the B string.

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The same thing was happening to me, definitely my finger placement. Once I was able to consistently bar all six strings, I found that I was rolling my hand ever so slightly when I brought my other three fingers into use. Our hands and fingers can form so many angles.

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