Now you COULD take the gimmicky hack route ...
... and AVOID playing bar chords altogether by playing power chords instead. (A power chord is comprised of two or three notes whereas bar chords have five to six.)
Now don't get me wrong: Practicing power chords is a nice way to work up to bar chords.
But make no mistake: They are not bar chords.
A more legitimate shortcut is the ninja move I mentioned a few sentences back. What is it?
Well, once you learn the simple technique I'm about to give you, you'll stop worrying about them and just get on with the business of playing.
And by the way, there's a lot of experienced players who don't don't even know the trick I'm about to tell you, so pay attention ...
If you are having trouble getting your bars to sound clear and clean, or if you think your fingers are too small or that your hands just not strong enough to get a good bar, then try this:
Forget about your hands and use your ARMS instead.
Let me explain …
Our lead instructor Marty had a student who was a skinny little kid. She had small hands and in every way was a typical 8-year-old girl.
But while many big strong guys ask us all the time how to play bar chords, this little kid had no problem playing barre chords.
How did she do it? She knew instinctively to use her ARM STRENGTH to hold down a bar instead of her hand.
Briefly, here's how you do that . . .
To hold down a bar, pull the guitar hard against your chest with both arms, almost as if you were trying to break the guitar in half.
Don't use your thumb and fingers to squeeze the guitar neck. Those thumb muscles are relatively weak and will get fatigued pretty quick. But your arm muscles are strong and won't tire easily. You're also using shoulder and trunk muscles with your body weight.
So your thumb is just there to stabilize the left hand. You should almost be able to play the barre chord without your thumb at all.
Now there’s a little bit more to this, not to mention some other tips that can make playing bar chords a snap, but just know that you can shortcut this technique by using LEVERAGE. This is one of those little (yet BIG) concepts that can help your guitar playing immensely.
Bottom line: Go for the useful shortcut over the gimmicky hack, every time.