Why Do Barre Chords Hurt? [Reasons Explained]

Playing guitar is an art, and nobody wants to experience pain while playing it. However, barre chords can make the guitar-playing experience painful. Many people think barre chords will forever be painful, but this is not the case; using some techniques, you can minimize the pain. But, Why Do Barre Chords Hurt?

The reasons behind the hurting of Barre Chords are:

  1. You Are Putting Too Much Pressure On Hand
  2. You Are Not Using The Technique Properly
  3. Their Tension On The Strings From The Nuts
  4. Using The Finger For Barring Is Quite Different
  5. Improper Positioning Of The Fret Or Fretboard
  6. Barre Chords Can Be Hard
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In this article, you will learn the hidden reasons behind the unbearable pain after playing barre chords. You will also learn various techniques to master the barre chords and minimize the pain. 

So, without wasting any time. Let us get started. 

Reasons Why The Barre Chords Hurt

1. You Are Putting Too Much Pressure On The Hand

While playing barre chords, what most people do is they emphasize on using the hand rather than using the fingers. It is why people suggest using the thumb to play the guitar with a barre chord. It will provide the best support and minimize the pains and aches. 

When you emphasize using your fingers, it will ensure proper grip and will keep the pain away. Even if your hand starts hurting, you must rotate the fingers away from the fret. It will make sure you are putting the right amount of stress on the other fingers.

The key is to avoid forcing the fingers too hard; rather, use the guitar that will enable your comfort and provide a proper way of playing. 

2. You Are Not Using The Technique Properly

Barre chords have their own techniques for playing it properly. The ideal thing to do is place your barre finger on top of the fretboard while putting the side of the finger pointing down and against the fret wire.

It will allow holding the strings firmly while putting the least pressure. It would help if you also put the finger slightly angled toward the nuts. It requires proper dedication and training to make sure you are holding the strings properly. 

3. Their Tension On The Strings From The Nuts

Barre chords can be difficult to play because the tension between the strings and nuts can be too much for some people. However, it can get easier if you start practicing and memorizing all the notes. 

Try to learn each note individually, and it will make the learning and playing process a bit easier. You will find some songs where you will have to maintain the pressure constant throughout the song. You can also release it while barre chords change. However, it will require constant practice to master. 

4. Using The Finger For Barring Is Quite Different

Playing the barre chords is kind of the same when compared to playing any other chords. However, the use of fingers for barring is quite different. In the case of Barre Chords, fingers are situated close to the fret wire, which is on the left side of your guitar. And the other fingers are kept in the upright position. 

You will need to have patience and maintain concentration to master the skills. As mentioned earlier, you will need to implement the right techniques to minimize hand cramps and string muting. 

5. Improper Positioning Of The Fret Or Fretboard

When you do not place your fingers properly on the fret, then you might experience pain, especially on your wrist. It would help if you rested the finger that you used to fret close to the fret wire. Avoid putting the finger directly on the fret wire. 

You need to also angle it slightly towards the nut. Remember, you will have to use the slide of your finger in order to hold the string. If these instructions are not properly followed, you might experience wrist pain. 

When you keep the wrist straight, you will experience a force in your forearm and wrist muscles which will initiate the pain. On the other hand, when you bend it a little, it will deviate from the pressure, and the level of pain will significantly reduce. 

6. Barre Chords Can Be Hard

You will find it hard to play when you pick up a guitar and start playing the barre chords. You will have to use certain muscles which you have hardly used before. This will lead to severe pain. 

All you need to do is master the techniques and practice more and more with expertise. Once you start playing, you will find it more convenient to play and will not have to worry about it being hard. 

Related Questions

How Do I Stop Barre Chords From Hurting?

The short and simple answer to this question is to adapt the ultimate technique of playing barre chords. For example, you need to divert the pressure instead of putting all the pressure on your hand or wrist. 

Use the thumb and put it behind the index finger so that your barre finger gets full support and minimizes the possible pain. Try to grip the guitar properly and practice the chords that ensure less or no pain. 

The best way to keep your finger is to rotate it a bit and keep little bit away from the fret wire. Practice as much as possible to find the most flexible way of playing the barre strings. However, before that, you need to make sure the guitar size matches with your hand and fingers. 

The appropriate pressure on each string should be maintained to make sure a clear and bright sound. Be flexible; do not put much pressure and relax. It will reduce the chances of pain and aches to a great extent. 

How Do You Play Barre Chords Without Cramps?

Finding the best way of playing barre chords without cramps solely depends on you. You need to make sure you have the appropriate type of guitar that suits you, the right amount of practice, and mastered the techniques. 

You also need to make sure you are keeping your fret finger slightly angled so that the pressure is distributed among various small muscles. It will reduce the pressure from your hands and wrist, making the barre chord playing experience much smoother. 

Why Does My Thumb Hurt After Playing Barre Chords?

Playing the Barre chords can be challenging and hurt your thumb and wrist, sometimes the whole hand. However, you can minimize the pain or almost make it vanish by angling your barre finger and placing them next to the fretboard instead of placing them on the fretboard. 

How Long Does It Take To Learn Barre Chords?

Most of them will agree with me when I say mastering the barre chord can be difficult and time consuming. Nevertheless, by implementing the right techniques, you can become an expert in barre chords, and it will require constant practice, but you will learn in no time. 

You must learn to position the fingers properly and put the fingers in the right place. You also need to make sure you are using the appropriate guitar that suits you. Try to practice at least once a day by following the proper techniques, and you shall be the master of the barre chord soon. 

Final Thoughts

Barre chords can be challenging to learn or expertise. However, with the proper techniques and positioning of the fingers appropriately, you can definitely master the techniques. You will have to maintain consistency in your training, concentrate, and have the patience to master the techniques. 

If you follow the wrong techniques, you will end up with severe hand or wrist pain. If the guitar you are using does not match with your hand and finger, you will find it uncomfortable to play the guitar, let alone master the barre chord techniques.

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