Tips on How to Play Barre Chord with Small Hands

If there is a step that you cannot escape when learning how to pay the guitar, is the barre. Learning the barre is among the steps that advance your guitar levels as they unlock multiple guitar playing abilities. In as much so, playing the barre chords may be slightly difficult for guitarists with small hands.

Having played the guitar for quite some time now, I entirely understand how much of a daunting task it is to play barre chords. It gets even trickier to play barre chords if you are a beginner and if you have tiny hands. Generally, barre chords are quite important for any rhythm guitarists and mastering them allows you to play any minor or major guitar chords.

Knowing how to play barre chords also allows you to sight-read chord charts.

All you need is a little bit of patience, lots of practice and a few tips help you counter a few challenges that you may experience along the way.

In this article, we will look at what exactly barre chords are, why they are so difficult to play and a few tips that you would need to master to seamlessly play them with small hands.

What are Barre Chords?

Barre chords are what we can call moveable guitar chords. This is because they allow you to seamlessly move the whole chord shape up and down the neck of your guitar.

Barre chords are commonly used in classical and popular music across the globe.

Most times, you will find yourself frequently using them with the open guitar chords, where the guitars unfretted strings construct the barre chord.


A summary of the Guitar Chords

Open Chords
Different Chord Forms
Most Essential Barre Chords
C, A, E, G, D

Em , Dm, Am

Sus 2, Dom 7, Sus 4, Min 7, Add 9
The E minor and E major barre chord,

The A minor and A major barre chord

Why are Barre Chords so hard to play?

When you are a novice guitarists and have just began the learning process on how to play the guitar, your hands to don’t have the finger strength and stamina needed to play barre chords.

This may because you are not yet used to frequently moving your fingers across the fret board which is pretty normal for all beginner guitarists.

In addition to that, barre chords are also quite difficult for acoustic guitarists to play. Most times it is because of the high string action.

However, playing barre chords on electric guitars seem much easier because they feature a narrower neck and lower string action.

So, what should I do to seamlessly play barre chords on my guitar with small hands?

In this section, we will look at a few tips that you can consider so as to seamlessly play barre chords with small hands.

Tip One: Adjust your sitting position

Sometimes your sitting position may prevent you from seamlessly playing your guitar.

In this case, you would need to sit on a very firm chair so that your shoulder, hand, torso and arm can get the right base of support that you would need to successfully transition through barre chords.

You can use a dining chair or try out one of the plastic chairs that keep your posture upright.

Also, you would need to completely avoid soft seating such as lounge chairs and couches as you may not be able to acquire the right base of support.

Tip Two: Ensure that your guitar is correctly positioned

When playing the guitar, the head of your guitar should be roughly about eye level so that you can get better leverage when applying pressure on the strings.

This also allows prevents arm and wrist soreness as it gives your wrist a chance to be more naturally aligned to your arm.

So, in this case, you would need to position the neck of your guitar at a forty five degree angle.

To do this, you would need to raise your left foot and rest your guitar.

You can also use a foot stool or find any household item that you can rest your foot on when playing the guitar.

In the event that you are unable to play in the classical position, you would need to try out the traditional right leg position.

Here, you would need to elevate your right foot so that your guitar is properly positioned for a seamless strumming experience. Also, there is the option to use a guitar strap when you are strumming while sitting.

This allows you achieve just the right angle needed to seamlessly play barre chords. However, you would need to apply lots of pressure to get it right.

Tip Three: Check your Arm Position

The position of your arm when playing the guitar determines whether you can seamlessly move across the fretboard.

In this case, you would need to position your right arm in such a way that your elbow is closer to your side so that when your fingers apply pressure on the guitar strings, your right elbow would comfortably move away from your body.

All in all, to prevent muscle fatigue and arm soreness, you would need to find the correct arm position for you.

You can do this by extending your left arm downwards and letting it hang loosely from your shoulder. The next you would do is to slowly raise your arm so that you can hold the neck of your guitar loosely at its 5th fret.

This position should be comfortable for you to play barre chords and apply the right amount of pressure needed to create rhythm.

Tip Four: Use a capo to play the guitar

A capo simply reduces the number of barre chords needed to play a song.

Generally, barre chords tend to put so much tension on your fretting hand which may cause frequent finger and arm soreness and cramps especially if you have small hands.

This is more or less a better way to escape and improvise so that you are able to seamlessly play your favorite song.

Tip Five: Consider purchasing a smaller guitar

There is a great variety of guitars in the music industry designed to accommodate guitarists with smaller hands.

These are the ¾ sized acoustic guitars that are slightly smaller than the regular acoustic guitars but still retain their high quality and high performing levels.

The good thing about these type of guitars is that they come with a much shorter neck that allows you to slide across different frets easily and almost instantaneously.

In addition to that, they tend to be compact and light enough to ensure the portability of your music gear.


Finally, you would need to practice playing barre chords on a regular basis so that you can comfortably adjust and master them.

Try and choose songs that have barre chords as much as you can and pay attention to how you choose to position your fingers when strumming to evaluate areas.

This allows you to move your fingers at the right time so that all your notes sound clear, crisp and clean.

You would also need to put in some effort and memorize the notes on the fifth and sixth string so that you can find the barre chords easily across the fretboard.


Is it easier for me to play barre chords on an electric guitar?

Yes, it is.

How may barre chords are there?

About 8 common ones.

Cooper Green

Music we must say is complex but according to Cooper Green, with the right information creating good music is a breeze. Guitars are a single aspect in the complex world of music but which play a major role, the problem however, lies in finding the right guitar for the relevant application. There are so many brands of guitars, each of which are differently configured but offer the best sounds. Cooper has been in the music industry for over 10 years, he recently started interacting with enthusiasts in the various platforms and therefore, shares his knowledge on music in general and specifically on guitars. And with the markets now flooded with knockoffs, among his missions is to help upcoming musicians get good quality music instruments or guitars.

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