Are Barre Chords Really Necessary?

Are Barre Chords Really Necessary?

This week I tackled my greatest guitar enemy so far … barre chords. I’ve been told they open up many possibilities and become easier with time. So, I figured I would focus on them this week. First, let me explain what a barre chord is!

Guitar Lesson World defines them as “chords that have your index finger holding down more than one string and not playing with any open strings”. 

Learning Guitar Now writes, “[s]imply put, barre chords will allow you to take the same chord position, and just move it up and down the fretboard to make new chords”. They really open up a wide range of new options for guitar chords. 

So, if I don’t know a chord, I can adjust by playing a barre chord instead. The hard part for me is pressing the strings down hard enough so I get a nice sounding chord! Ouch.

This barre chord takes the shape of the “E” chord, moved up a step on the fretboard, and adds the barre to make an “F” chord. Again, this just opens up more possibilities for chords! 

This video (below) gave me the idea to spend about 10 minutes a day building the strength of the muscle to barre the strings. Simply moving my hand in a barre chord position, even adding a second finger for a while, helps my hand get used to that position. This video clearly explains things and it’s easy to follow along.


As we were tasked with using a new tool or app for EDTC300, I began looking into different programs for making videos to share the (not so) beautiful sounds of my barre chords. Previously, I’d used iMovie, then uploaded to YouTube. I’ve enjoyed the simplicity of that, so I was hesitant to try something new. I was interested in trying Videoscribe’s 7-day free trial, however it didn’t allow me to add videos of my guitar playing. I decided to try Animoto instead.

You can add your own video clips, pictures, titles, and sounds. They also have a great blog post that shares how to get started. Here’s a quick screencast that shares some key features! 

One thing I found difficult with Animoto was adding audio recordings. On iMovie I can adjust the volume and fade the audio away. Animoto didn’t allow for as many changes which left me feeling like things were choppy.

Here’s my Animoto creation showing how I practiced barre chords this week. Instead of uploading to YouTube here’s the direct Animoto link. It’s worked so far, but let me know in the comments if you have trouble!

Besides Barre Chords…

I’ve been trying chord exercises on the Yousician app. The only downside is their song choices are limited, so I’ve been finding music on Pinterest. Otherwise, it’s a great resource with free lessons and exercises. 

What’s Next?

  • Keep working on barre chords.
  • I’ll share some music I’ve been working on!

6 thoughts on “Are Barre Chords Really Necessary?

  1. Barre chords can be tough! Personally, I don’t often like the way they sound, as they are very bright sounding chords. You should look up “open chords” when you have the chance! They sound much warmer, and are easier on the fingers!
    That being said keep up the practice on those barre chords! Your hands will get stronger over time!

    1. Hey Yohan! Thanks for the encouragement, I’ll keep at those barre chords and see how they go. I definitely prefer open chords so far though!

  2. That is great progress. Your fingers must hurt from pressing those chords so much! The video was great. I agree with you that iMovie’s sound features make transitions between photo’s/clips smoother.

    1. Thanks Lydia! Yes, I liked Animoto, but I think I’ll stick with iMovie, as I like extra features such as smoother transitions.
      My fingers are slowly getting more used to pressing down the strings!

    1. Thanks Jasmine! I decided to play guitar because I’ve always had an interest in learning. My dad plays guitar and my brother recently started learning electric. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to devote time to learning it!

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