Simple Trick to End the Struggle of Fretting Chords

Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate guitar player, there's little doubt that at some point you've struggled with being able to fret chord shapes. The fingering patterns required for creating many of your chord types (in both open position, and with barre chords can be tough)... 

Luckily, this is something that I've worked on with hundreds of my private guitar students over the years and I've discovered a fantastic solution. It's one that is both easy and extremely helpful for any guitarist who is struggling with "perfecting" chord fingerings on the guitar neck.

In this episode of the Guitar Blog Insider, I'm going to cover ways for helping you, "End the Struggle Involved with Fretting Guitar Chords."


Before we get started into this lesson, I need to state up front that the open /or 1st position (where 90% of beginner students start learning to play in), is in fact one of the most challenging regions of the guitar neck to work within. learning to develop chords in that area will be tough, no matter how one slices it.

Not only are the frets spaced wider apart there, (wider than any other place on the neck), but in our open / 1st position, we've also got an issue with how the strings are rolling over the saddle in that area. This causes the "action," (of how hard the strings are to depress in this area), to be at their most demanding point of tension on the guitars fingerboard. However, there is a way around this.


Over my years of teaching guitar I've found that an absolutely fantastic way to get around the first positions string height, string tension and wide fret spacing is to take a capo and get them to learn their "basic open chords and barre chords" up higher on the neck.

This "Capo Trick" has many benefits including; bringing the student up into a region of the fingerboard where the frets are much closer together. Along with that, the capo pulls down on the strings toward the guitar neck so that the strings are closer down toward the frets.

This makes it feel like night and day compared to how high the strings are riding up off of the fret-board in the open position. There's a lot of tension when the strings roll over of the guitars lowest fret position at the nut. The other benefit of using a capo up at the middle of the neck, is that the tension of the strings (the guitars "Action"), becomes easier as we work more toward the middle of the fret-board.


Get things started by placing a Capo up at the 5th fret of the neck. Begin by running through a few of the popular open position chords that often cause new players trouble.

Early on, the "basic open position guitar chords" (played down in the first through third frets), can be a real challenge to fret - so that they will sound clear.

However, if we are up higher on the neck, (practicing the same chords between the 6th to 8th frets with a copo), the fret-span is significantly shorter.

The stretch that is required between first to third finger doesn't seem as challenging as it does when practicing the same chords down at the first to third frets.

Another practical bonus, (that you'll notice right away), is how much easier it is to press each note down. This is due to the capo bringing all of the guitar strings much closer in toward the front /face of the guitar neck.

Try playing through some popular chord types to help test all of this out for yourself. Notice how much easier that the chords will become - when played up higher on the neck.


There are a number of chord types that new students to the guitar will find challenging. Of the more popular is the open position, "D Minor," chord.

The span across the 1st to 3rd frets is a real challenge for most players. But, when this chord is performed in the middle of the neck with a capo, the technique of creating it becomes much easier to deal with.

Another chord that can be a real challenge is the upper 4-string, "F Major" chord.

This rather small chord voicing can actually be an especially challenging chord due to the two-string barre that must occur across the upper two guitar strings.

However, by using the capo in the middle of the neck it will help make things much easier.

Another tough chord is the barre chord of "B Major." This chord requires an index finger playing the low 5th string while the 3rd finger lays flat across the 4th, 3rd and 2nd strings.

Normally "B Major" can be an extremely tough chord to perform, but with the capo used in the middle of the neck, the "B Major" sure becomes a lot easier to fret-out and learn.

If you enjoy folk and country, the large barre chord "F Major" can be an incredible challenge to perform down at the first fret position...

But, once again, the use of the capo in the middle of the neck will allow you to slowly develop the basic skills for this tough to play "F" chord. And, the best part is that your skill development will allow you to slowly transition the shape down lower until the capo is no longer required for attaining a good sound.


Learning any type of chord shape can be made a lot easier by simply placing the capo into the middle of the neck. Doing this will help a new guitar student attain the chord fingerings with less stress. And, this process will help intermediate players become better acquainted with developing their barre chord fingerings.

Plus, this "capo trick method" will help guitar students develop the ability to stretch out to become able to reach all of the notes, (even more so if the student has small hands).

When it comes to the study of barre chords, this capo trick will offer students who are in those very early stages of barre chord practice, a chance to begin perfecting their barre technique.

The best part of all this, is that it won't take students too long, to be able to begin dropping any difficult to finger chords lower and lower down the neck, until the capo is no longer required to make any of the more difficult patterns of chord types.

If you're having trouble making any kind of chord pattern on the guitar, (it doesn't matter what the chord is), give this capo trick a try. I can guarantee you, that it'll make a difference in your overall guitar chord technique practice.


I'd like to end the discussion by saying, thanks for joining me. If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more on YouTube.

Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."


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