Joe in Wisconsin asks:

Do you have any suggestions as to how my bar chords will sound true and clear?


The problem of course is that you have four strings pushing up, and just one finger pushing down, trying to make secure contact with the fret in four different places. That’s a lot of gripping power from the hand muscle that gets used. It can build strength in time, but that is one reason why sometimes when a bar chord might be called for, I instead finger two or three strings individually at the same fret, and make sure to pick only those strings with my right hand. Another advantage to that is not having to rotate your whole hand, just to get the side of your index finger into place. Economy of motion.

It’s that second string when I hold all four strings down. I don’t have that problem if I hold three strings down.

The usual method of dealing with unclarities in the sound is to keep shifting things around until something works, and then work on being able to do “that” easily and quickly, the first time you try. Since everyone’s hands are different, there’s no set anything about this. Just: keep trying for good sound. The fact that you cared enough to write is a good sign. Good tone comes from *caring* about good tone. Which is what led me to the solution above.

Best of luck with your picking!