Barre Chords Forms

This is a subject that I thought a lot of others would be interested in too so I'll start by describing what a barre chord is. I'm going to show you some barre chord "forms" as well as give you some tips on how to make sure you play them properly.

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This is a subject that I thought a lot of others would be interested in too so I'll start by describing what a barre chord is. A barre chord is created when you use one finger to fret more that one note at a time. For example your first finger may be required to barre across all six strings to help form a chord. I'm going to show you some barre chord "forms" as well as give you some tips on how to make sure you play them properly. I've seen several names assigned to these forms but I like to call them after their "open chord" form since that's what they're based on. The two forms I'll discuss here are the E form and the A form. Now, once you understand these two forms, you'll be able to play any major, minor, dominant 7th, minor 7th, suspended 4th etc... chord because you'll be barring them up and down the neck depending on which one you play. OK. Here's our basic open E major chord. Your finger numbers are in parentheses.
E --o------
B --o------
G --1-(1)--
D --2-(3)--
A --2-(2)--
E --o------
Now you can also create an F major chord with an E form barre chord at the first fret like so.
E Form F Major Barre Chord

E --1-(1)--
B --1-(1)--
G --2-(2)--
D --3-(4)--
A --3-(3)--
E --1-(1)--
One important thing to know here is the names and locations of the root note of the chord you're playing. We know that the sixth string open is E, therefore the sixth string played at the first fret is F. Consequently, an E form barre chord at the seventh fret is a B major chord like so:
E Form B Major Barre Chord

E --7-(1)--
B --7-(1)--
G --8-(2)--
D --9-(4)--
A --9-(3)--
E --7-(1)--
Got it? Cool. Now as long as you know your other E form open chords like Em, E7, Em7 etc... you'll be able to translate those chord shapes up and down the neck at different frets. Ok, let's have a look at an A form barre chord. I remember when I was learning this one and having to practice a lot to get it clean. Here's our basic open A major chord. Again, your finger numbers are in parentheses.
E --o------
B --2-(3)--
G --2-(2)--
D --2-(1)--
A --o------
E --x------
Can you see what's coming? You're going to have to be able to barre the three notes on the D, G and B strings as well as the root note two frets lower. Again, you'll need to learn the notes on the fifth string in order to know what fret to make your A form barre chords. Here, I'll use the A form, E major barre chord at the seventh fret like so...
A Form, E major Barre Chord

E --7-(1)--
B --9-(3)--
G --9-(3)--
D --9-(3)--
A --7-(1)--
E --x------
You may be thinking right about this time that I'm nuts but I can actually play this chord nice and clean... but I started out by only playing it this way...
E --x------
B --x------
G --9-(3)--
D --9-(3)--
A --7-(1)--
E --x------
... and worked my way up from there. As a matter of fact, I never even practiced fretting the first string with my first finger... it just kinda fell into place after I got the third finger to barre the D, G and B strings properly. So try working up to this chord a little at a time in three steps:
1.
E --x------
B --x------
G --9-(3)--
D --9-(3)--
A --7-(1)--
E --x------


2.
E --x------
B --9-(3)--
G --9-(3)--
D --9-(3)--
A --7-(1)--
E --x------


3.
E --7-(1)--
B --9-(3)--
G --9-(3)--
D --9-(3)--
A --7-(1)--
E --x------
When you're ready to try the final chord above, use your first finger to barre strings five thru one, then try resting your third finger on the first string (barring all four strings with your third finger). Then slowly raise the part of your third finger that's on the first string until it's ringing freely at the first finger barre. Again, the A form barre chords can be played just like the open forms... Am, Am7, Asus2, Asus4 etc... Another thing I'd like to point out is the action of your guitar. "Action" is how easy (or hard) it is to press the strings down to the neck to get a clean fretted note. If you're just starting out with barre chords, you should use a guitar with low or "easy" action. This will save you from frustration as well as physical pain from pressing down so hard while your hands are getting used to this technique. Once you get the idea, I suggest practicing on a higher action guitar just for strength training. Heck, to this day, I still warm up on my classical guitar so when I get on my electric, it's like slicing butter! I hope this helps a little in your quest for barre chords. They are absolutely an essential part of your technique. - Will Landrum.

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    MATTTHEMOP
    how does learning barre chords help playing? i mean, when playing a song, is it better to use them than normal chords?
    Concatenate
    What I find helps for barre chords (and thanks for the theory on how a barre is based on an open chord) is by aligning my index and thumb up with each other, it will look like you are trying to pinch the guitar neck... also you shouldn't use the flat of your finger but reallt the side of it... anyway hope this helps... Oh and an easy way to do A shaped barres is to instead of forming an A shape just barre that too ... so it will cutt off the like this... E --5---.. B --5---.. G --5---.. D --5---.. A --3---.. E --x---.. instead of E --3---.. B --5---.. G --5---.. D --5---.. A --3---.. E --x---.. Technically there is a difference between these two the one is a A shape C Barre and the other is a C6 the 6th note is very subtle and generally most of us here play rock or something so it will still sound like a C but if you are a purest good luck with that A shape... or just play it in a E shape futher down the neck...
    A1D3N-T4B
    its gr8 and all, but i hate them barre chords so much!!! they seem so impossible :rant:
    liam177lewis
    useful, but my 3rd finger is wierd and so cant only hit 3 strings, it always goes on the high e too. cheers mate
    redroman
    itz gr8..i had the same problems b4 but my practise eventually paid off....now i've got no problems in any barre chords...cheers
    guitar-chick-08
    For the E major bare chord: Ok I can actually play this chord but why make it so hard? why not just use this shape: E--7--(1) B--9--(4) G--9--(3) D--9--(2) A--7--(1) E- -x This way is so much easier!
    11yunited
    yeah but with A barres you have to stretch more. it's easier, if a little more painful, to do Es.
    avalanche930
    easiest way too start off is with BMajor chord and progress ur way to an FMajor(it harder to press the strings down that close to the nut and gives you a good work out) Once you can do that minor chords bcome a lot easier. Keep barring the chords and hold on through musscle pain as long as you can. Youll be able to play barre chords in no time.
    SsPunk
    just put your index finger stretched over all the strings then add the rest and pres realy hard... it takes practice.
    Angry youth
    it doesnt jusr have to be one of the above it can be c chord and all sorts of weird and bizzare chords
    Aetius
    No you put your index finger first, that's easier if you have to go up 5 frets. You just bar your index finger and form either an E, E7 or Em chord or an A, A7, Am chord. Pretend your index finger is the beginning of the fretboard, then place your fingers to the chord
    mookstar
    thanks for all the great info on bar chords, but how the hell do you get your fingers to press the strings the right way?