Barre finger squeaks

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lanten77
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:01 am
Location: Florida, USA

Barre finger squeaks

Post by lanten77 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:40 am

Hi all,

Hope I can explain this well enough...

When changing chords or melody notes within a barred position (staying on same fret); whenever I can't maintain a perfectly "square" index finger (such as when having to stretch an extra fret with the 4th finger, or change chord shapes with 2,3,4) I get a loud squeak as the index finger shifts very slightly from perpendicular to the fretboard to slightly angled within the fret (without being able to release the barre pressure first). There seems to be no way I can maintain the exact same perpendicular index/barre finger in all situations???

So, is it unavoidable to sometimes have to shift the barre finger angle a little? And if so, is there a way to avoid the squeak when not being able to release the pressure of the barre. Because, if it's expected to be able to be perpendicular all the time (knuckles parallel to the neck), then my hand just won't do it! (I've been playing regularly for 30 years and have had some good technique training).

Thanks!
Last edited by lanten77 on Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

burtong
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:57 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Barr finger squeaks

Post by burtong » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:03 am

Squeaking can be annoying and can be (as you will read in other posts) perhaps the only thing that an audience gets out of a performance. OK, that's a bit extreme; but it gets noticed. So, kudos to you for noticing and wanting to do something about it. I can offer a couple of suggestions that have worked for me (1) if the squeak happens with your hand in the second position that you describe, then start it in the second position to avoid that shift. This may be useful in the short term but (2) practice the move in isolation. Just go from one chord shape to the other, back and forth, and work on eliminating the squeak. This may be tiring so take your time and (3) work on other stretching exercise to strengthen and limber up your hand so that the stretch does not require as much gymnastics. You will find that your hand will not always be perpendicular, etc., etc., the main thing is beautiful music. Focus on that, as you are.

lanten77
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:01 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Barr finger squeaks

Post by lanten77 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:54 am

burtong wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:03 am
Squeaking can be annoying and can be (as you will read in other posts) perhaps the only thing that an audience gets out of a performance. OK, that's a bit extreme; but it gets noticed. So, kudos to you for noticing and wanting to do something about it. I can offer a couple of suggestions that have worked for me (1) if the squeak happens with your hand in the second position that you describe, then start it in the second position to avoid that shift. This may be useful in the short term but (2) practice the move in isolation. Just go from one chord shape to the other, back and forth, and work on eliminating the squeak. This may be tiring so take your time and (3) work on other stretching exercise to strengthen and limber up your hand so that the stretch does not require as much gymnastics. You will find that your hand will not always be perpendicular, etc., etc., the main thing is beautiful music. Focus on that, as you are.
Thank you for the suggestions burtong -- the one thing I need to clarify I think, is that there is no "shift" of FRET positions involved. It's just different fingerings within the SAME barred position. So for instance, while holding the barre, if the bass notes need to continue to sustain while the chord changes or the melody is played, then that is when the index/barre sometimes "rotates" a little (for me unavoidably) and that's where the squeak comes from. It's louder than other squeaks I think because of the extra pressure required for the barre.

My instructor is a great performer/musician and an accomplished classical guitarist, and he feels that some string noise (like with other stringed instruments also) is just "part of the nature of the instrument," but as you say, for an audience (at least an "uneducated one") it affects their opinion of the performance.

But hey -- ultimately, are we playing for them, or for ourselves...?

But your suggestions are well-taken and I appreciate them.

Thanks

wchymeus
Posts: 231
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:49 am

Re: Barr finger squeaks

Post by wchymeus » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:02 am

I guess perpendicularity is key when you lift a finger off a string. A little slide, rotation will generate a squeak-is sound.
You can also blame the strings as some are really noisy. I just tried La Bella 2001 after a set of Savarez Cantiga and I was stunned with Labellas: really nice sound and very little noise in comparison to the cantiga.
You can also look at your fingertips: callus can be stiff and slightly clip strings. You could sand them gently.
Finally, your fingertips may be very dry, a little bit of sweat/grease from your nose wings or forehead can help reduce noise!
Field 2014, Oberg 2013, Vincente Badia 1977

lanten77
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:01 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Barr finger squeaks

Post by lanten77 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:11 pm

wchymeus wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:02 am
I guess perpendicularity is key when you lift a finger off a string. A little slide, rotation will generate a squeak-is sound.
You can also blame the strings as some are really noisy. I just tried La Bella 2001 after a set of Savarez Cantiga and I was stunned with Labellas: really nice sound and very little noise in comparison to the cantiga.
You can also look at your fingertips: callus can be stiff and slightly clip strings. You could sand them gently.
Finally, your fingertips may be very dry, a little bit of sweat/grease from your nose wings or forehead can help reduce noise!
Thanks wchymeus -- I'm not referring to lifting fingers, and the need to lift vertically. It's the barre finger the shifts off of perpendicular to the neck as other fingers move...

Charles Baldour
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:51 pm

Re: Barre finger squeaks

Post by Charles Baldour » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:46 pm

Do you have callouses on your fingers? That may be contributing to your dilemma. Try either filing or moisturizing, or both. It may help to some degree.

You could also try a polished string set, albeit more expensive than your typical set of strings. I believe that John Williams uses a polished set for recording a concerts to reduce finger noise.

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