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Playing 4ths - to barre or not to barre?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by WrapRough, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    Hi all,

    When playing 4ths, do you barre them or play them with separate fingers? I've always played them with separate fingers as I just cannot seem to feel comfortable if I barre them,especially with the pinky. But I think I am losing speed in faster runs if I am not barring them. Should I just suck it up and practice barring? Any tips?

    Interested in what others do, although I understand there is no right or wrong here :)
    JRA and hieronymous like this.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    You should practice both ways, as well as a third option, which is to move your finger. My personal preference is that third option (move my finger), but the first two options (barring and separate fingers) have their uses as well.
  3. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    Damn fingers don't move fast enough on quick lines!
    foolforthecity likes this.
  4. bpc


    Mar 29, 2016
    Central Scotland
    When you guys talk about barre-ing do you mean fretting both strings at once? I've always done this by rocking between the two strings so that only the one I want rings out and the other is muted. I can't do this with my little finger so I have to move it from string to string. Am I talking about something else?
  5. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    No, you're spot on. I just cant seem to make it clean at speed, and find playing, say, the C with my middle and F with my index is much faster.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  6. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Depends on context. If I’ve got upcoming work for another finger, I’ll Barr across with one to go up a forth. If I’ve got the time and space, my preferred approach is ring-finger on I and pinky on IV. Nearer the nut, index on I and middle on IV, or middle on I and ring on IV.

    All depends on where I am and where I’m going.
    djaxup, HolmeBass, JRA and 3 others like this.
  7. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    It's this passage from Dean Town:


    Attached Files:

    HolmeBass and Groove Doctor like this.
  8. Corigan

    Corigan Addicted to Shaking Walls Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2021
    Outside of Atlanta, GA
    Like others have stated, depends on the situation. I do like barring a lot. incorporated with a rake, barring works real well.
  9. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I’d bar with my index to go up a forth.
    longfinger and ProbablyTooLoud like this.
  10. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    Cool, thanks man. I will keep trying. It's 16th notes at 108bpm so pretty quick. I'll slow it right down until I get it right with the barre:)
    djaxup, 39-Bassist and Goatrope like this.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    +ing to learn multiple methods because depending on the movement your hand on the neck, you’re going to find one that works with less effort. Less effort means better efficiency.
    JRA and WrapRough like this.
  12. Totally depends on what I'm doing next. I can't be more specific than that because it's not something I ever think about.
    JRA, bolophonic and 40Hz like this.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Been a bassist for decades and have also been a guitarist but not a very good one haha. I used to get worked up about chord transition. It’s not easy to learn, it’s frustrating and your fingers hurt and 9s and 10s cut your bass callouses wah, wah...
    So anyhow... watch your favorite guitarist. The faster you play the less likely you land all 4 tips at exactly the right moment. And if you slow it down it’s a relief to hear how common it is for even great guitarists to slam their index finger to a dyad for that instant as they land the proper chord.

    So I’m not saying don’t try. I’m saying don’t aim for perfection, aim for improvement. Nobody is perfect. It’s all about getting better so you can focus on the groove without overthinking the notes.
  14. I’d Barre index across 2nd fret A & D strings, then use pull-offs for C# - B (twice) and G# - Low E.
    WrapRough and Goatrope like this.
  15. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    No pull-offs or hammer-ons allowed in Dean Town ;)
  16. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I’d have to slow that way down, and work my way back up to 108bpm. For now, the pull offs will have to suffice. :roflmao:
  17. WrapRough


    Jan 26, 2021
    Welcome to my tonight brother :)
    gregbackstrom and Goatrope like this.
  18. cxcxcx


    Mar 8, 2019
    I do both barre and individual- depends on the note length and precision needed. Individual seems to offer more control, so the two notes don’t bleed into each other. If a tune asks for distinct note events like “ThAt’s the Way of the World”, I do individual. A tighter, more distinct result is what you want, especially on notes that low.

    I’ll barre on faster passages.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
    longfinger and WrapRough like this.
  19. I've been barring, lately. Just came naturally, but it depends on the what's coming before or after the 4th at that point in the line, I guess. Whatever feels more comfortable, works for me.
  20. stringtapper


    Jun 24, 2009
    Denton, TX
    This. There's a subtle but real difference between the second (barre) and third (skip) ways and it's worth being able to execute both.

    The first category of using two fingers is really its own world that deserves some dedicated practice because a skip of a fourth across strings (or any string crossing interval) can involve multiple combinations of the four fingers going in either direction (up or down) and in either order (which finger is first).
    HolmeBass and WrapRough like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 14, 2021

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