Barre Chords...

The thing with barre chords is you really need some good calluses on your forefinger which takes a very long time to develop fully (you could probably play them everyday for 2 years and still not quite have the full callus) so don't give up on them early if they don't sound great. Learning barre chords is almost a lifestyle choice. I'm an academic guitarist and to this day my barre playing sees improvements.

Anyway, the way I learned them or at least got good at them (outside of just developing my forefinger callus - which is 75% of the battle) was to just use fake books (you can get these for most genres, e.g pop/rock/jazz/blues/folk/latin/jewish etc) and for each chord try to play as many notes as possible of that chord, in addition to the underlying notes in the melody. You'll find for a large proportion of the chords that you have to bar it so you'll end up playing a lot of them in different contexts.

Secondly, I know that you want to learn stuff in a musical context, but you may find it's very helpful to do some technical practices with new stuff. There's nothing wrong with putting on your favourite television show, selecting an open chord and a barre chord (or 2 barre chords once you're getting better) and simply practicing switching between the two while you watch television for ten minutes or so (you may have to stop earlier than 10 minutes per each 2 chords when starting out though so you don't hurt your hands). You can also select a small passage (maybe even 2 notes small) from one of your new barre chord songs and just practice that in the way I've described while watching TV.

Lastly, you should be aware that at first you will have to apply quite a bit of pressure to sound out the notes. As your finger gets tougher always try and apply as little pressure as possible for sounding out the notes in your barre chords. Just something to be conscious of, but don't stress too much about it at first, since you won't be able to sound out much initially with low pressure unless you have hands made out of rubber.

/r/Guitar Thread