How To Play Barre Chords On Guitar

 

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Barre chords are the next level in guitar playing, which every guitar beginner needs to unlock. Barre chords are used widely in songs of all genres.

In this lesson, you will learn how you can play barre chords on the guitar.

Once you know how to play barre chords on the guitar, you can literally play all chords on the guitar.

How To Play Barre Chords On Acousti...
How To Play Barre Chords On Acoustic Guitar | Lesson 12

What Are Barre Chords?

Barre chords are the movable chord shapes that you can play all over the guitar neck. A barre  chord is basically an open chord moved up the fretboard, with your first finger acting as a bar. Because you use your first finger or the index finger as a bar to barre across all the strings, these are called as barre chords.

Definition of Barre Chord : "Denoting a chord on a guitar or similar instrument in which one finger is laid across all the strings at a particular fret."

Barre chords are also sometimes referred to as bar chords.  

Barre chords are majorly derived from the open chord shapes : E Major, A Major, E Minor and A Minor. You can move these shapes all across the guitar neck. With every move, the chord is raised in pitch or lowered in the pitch.

How To Play Barre Chords On Guitar

Bar chords can be played by barring across the strings with your first finger and combining it with either A Major shape, A Minor or E Major and E Minor Open shapes.

To play a barre chord

  1. Barre with your first finger across the strings and press hard.
  2. Position your thumb behind the neck.
  3. Now play either major or minor shape as desired.

Watch the video lesson to understand in depth how you can play barre chords.

Bar Chords Guitar Shapes

The very basic way to play barre chord is using  A Major, A Minor, E Major and E Minor open chord shapes. These open chord shapes are moved higher up the fretboard, with the first finger acting as a barre to play them as a barre chord.

Barre Chord Shapes

 

E Major Shape Barre Chords

Let us first learn the How E Major Shape can be turned into barre chords.

If you move the E Major Chord, shape one fret up and barre across the six strings on the first fret with your first finger. The chord becomes F Major Barre Chord.

 

How F Major Barre Chord is Played Using E Major Shape

The same E Major Open Chord Shape can be moved up 2 frets and barred. Now the chord becomes F# Major Barre Chord.

E Major TO F# Major Barre Chord

You can repeat the same E Major Chord shape with a barre all across the fretboard and play all major chords.

Barre Guitar Chords For Beginners - All Major Chords

 

E Minor Shape Barre Chords

If you move the E Minor Chord, shape one fret up and barre across the six strings on the first fret with your first finger. The chord becomes F Minor Barre Chord.

F Minor Barre Chord using E Minor Open Chord Shape

The same E Minor Open Chord Shape can be moved up 2 frets and barred. Now the chord becomes F# Minor Barre Chord.

F# Minor Bar Chord Shape Using E Minot Open Shape

 

You can repeat the same E Minor Chord shape with a barre all across the fretboard and play all minor chords.

 

All Minor Barre Guitar Chord Chart

A Major Shape Barre Chords

If you move the A Major Chord, shape one fret up and barre across the six strings on the first fret with your first finger. The chord becomes A Sharp Major Barre Chord.

A Sharp Major Barre Chord Chard Using A Major Open Shape

The same A major Open Chord Shape can be moved up 2 frets and barred. Now the chord becomes B Major Barre Chord.

B Major barre Chord Chart Using A Major Shape

You can repeat the same A Major Chord shape with a barre all across the fretboard and play all major chords.

All Major Barre Chord Using A Major Shape

 

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

If you move the A Minor Chord, shape one fret up and barre across the six strings on the first fret with your first finger. The chord becomes A Sharp Minor Barre Chord.

A minor Bar Chord Shape Moving

The same A Minor Open Chord Shape can be moved up 2 frets and barred. Now the chord becomes B Minor Barre Chord.

B Minor barre Chord Chart By Moving A Minor Open Shape

You can repeat the same A Minor Chord shape with a barre all across the fretboard and play all minor chords.

All Minor Barre Chords On Guitar Chart

 

How to Know The Name Of Barre Chords On 6th String Of Guitar

Just by knowing the note played on the 6th string, you can tell the barre chord name.

As E Major and E Minor Chords are 6 String Chords. They derive their chord names from the note that is being played on the 6th string.

So in the open E  Major Sharpe or open E Minor Shape — 6th string is played open, and the note is E.

When you bar across the First fret — The note played on 6th string becomes F and the Barre Chord Becomes F Major or F Minor Barre Chord. Similarly, you can find out all the chord names in E Minor and E Major Barre shape.

Notes On 6th String Of The Guitar Fretboard

How to Know The Name Of Barre Chords On 5th String Of Guitar

Just by knowing the note played on the 5th string, you can tell the barre chord name.

A Major and A Minor Chords are 5 String Chords. They derive their chord names from the note that is being played on the 5th string.

So in the open A  Major Shape or open A Minor Shape — 5th string is played open, and the note is A. Sixth String is not played in these shapes.

When you bar across the First fret — The note played on 5th string becomes A# and the Barre Chord Becomes A# Major or F Minor Barre Chord. Similarly, you can find out all the chord names in A Minor and A Major Barre shape.

Notes played on 5th string of the guitar

To learn about  Notes and Music Theory, check out this lesson.

Barre Chord Guitar Tips

Here are some barre chord guitar tips that will help you play barre chords on guitar easily and properly.

  1. Tilt your index finger towards the nut and play using the bone part of your index finger.

  2. Place your thumb behind the guitar neck. Try to anchor with your thumb to generate power.

  3. Pick out each string individually to find out if any string is getting muted or producing buzz.
  4. Playing barre chords is easier on higher frets. So if you find it difficult to play barre chords, start on the higher frets. This will make playing barre chords easy.
  5. Playing barre chords on electric guitar is easier than on acoustic guitar.
  6. If your fingers hurt while playing barre chords. Stop playing. Relax your hand and fingers before you play again.
  7. Playing bar chords on guitar as a beginner is challenging. It takes time. Be patient. Keep on practising.
  8. If you have small hands, playing barre chords can be challenging. Try moving your thumb down behind the fretboard. This will make it easier to access the upper strings.

How To Practice Barre Chords

To practice Barre Chords, Start at a slow tempo and play downstroke on the first beat of every bar. Then add another downstroke at the third beat of every bar. Now you play a downstroke on the 1st and 3rd beat of every bar. After this play, a downstroke on all the four beats of a bar.

Watch the lesson video to get a better understanding of the Barre chord exercises.

Exercise 1 — Major Barre Chords

 

Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 1 Page 1
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 1 Page 2
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 1 Page 3
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 1 Page 4

Exercise 2 — Major Barre Chords

Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 2 Page 1
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 2 Page 2
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 2 Page 3

Exercise 3 — Minor Barre Chords

Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 3 Page 1
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 3 Page 2
Barre Chords Guitar Exercise 3 Page 3

In the next lesson, you will learn how to palm mute a guitar.


 

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2 comments


  • Udeeksh Sood

    Hey Elly!
    Thanks for writing. You are welcome, and I am glad you found the lesson helpful. Stay tuned.


  • Elly

    Hi, I would wouldn’t mind to receive lessons like this to improve my playing.
    Thanks alot this has given me some advancement since I’m also a beginner.


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Udeeksh Sood on

Udeeksh is an Audio Engineer and Co-Founder of learnmusicproduction.in. He loves to produce music, research music gear, play guitar, go on treks and road trips.