Beginning Guitar. Part 2: Barre Chords

This is a follow up to Part 1. In this lesson, I teach you the fundamentals of Barre Chords, yup a whole short lesson, well sorta short, on how to play Barre chords effectively.

Ultimate Guitar

1. Introduction

Hey guys, I'm back to give you another part of this 3 part lesson on how to play the guitar. Now, my last lesson Is one that I'd suggest reading before this one. I am going to teach you the best I can about the fundamentals of Barre Chords. This should take up the whole lesson. I am going to make the 3rd part about some of the different chords, and the basics of soloing soon.

2. Barre Chords.

Now, don't worry beginners, after this lesson, the Tablature above will make atleast some sense to you. Those are called Barre Chords. And I'm just guessing that you have no idea what I'm talking about when you see, wait I don't have the 5, or 6 fingers to hold all those frets down. Well, the only way to make that possible is to use your big index finger, finger 1, to hold down a single fret, across all of the strings. Let me show you in tab format. So, in this case, You index finger is 1, your middle finger is 2, your ring finger is 3, and your pinky is 4. This is usually the case, so when I say you use your 1st finger, or your 3rd, I hope you'll now know what I mean. All barre chords are, are chords like E, and A (the most common 2) that are moved up and down the fret board by putting a "bar" or Barre in music terms, across a single fret on all of the strings. So for example. Lets take E, and F, and A, and A#. Notice how the F chord is the exact same as the E, except it is moved up one fret?
          E          F
So, you see, the fingering should look something like this. 0= open string 1= Index 2= Middle 3= Ring 4= Pinky
   E  F
So you notice how each finger moves up one for a barre chord. Well, that is basically it. Moving up one. After moving up for F, the fingers can stay in the same position, and you can play whatever Barre chord you feel like. The point of using your first finger is that you can play all the notes. Now, barre chords may be a little rough at first. This means that if your fingers are getting sore from all this laying over the frets, you can do what is called a part, or a half Barre. This usually means that you only play the last 3, or 4 notes of the chord, while partially barring to build up finger strength. like A# You can play A#, and usually will once your fingers are strong enough, like this...
You see that that is the same positioning as an A chord, just barred up one. Now, this is the problem. Barring up. But it doesn't have to be hard. If your fingers aren't strong, or simply aren't big enough to pull it off, you can do what is called a half barre. You don't hit the root note(s) of the chord, so A#, and F would look like this.
These will also hurt your finger slightly in the beginning, but as you get stronger, they become easier, and easier to do.

3. Power Chords Into Barre Chords

Well, this is a wrap up. Remember last lesson, how I showed you power (5th) chords, well those can be turned into barre chords very easily. This is how. Remember A5
Well, that can be turned into a barre chord, by laying the index finger on that 5 note down over all of the strings, then for a minor chord, just playing all of those, or adding an additional 6th fret on the G string for a major chord. For barre chords remember, they are just E, and A, played on different parts of the fret board. This should help you make them into Major and Minor chords.

4. The End

Thanks for reading this lesson. I know it wasn't great, but I am not the greatest guitarist. I am simply trying to teach beginners, in hopes that one day, they can be the Next Santana, or Clapton. I hope this lesson was helpful, and criticism is always welcome. Message me if you have any questions, or email me at my email on my profile. I don't care whether it is good or bad criticism, or a dumb, or well thought out question, they are always welcome, and again, thanks for reading.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wish I saw this earlier. I had to teach myself barre chords. I stared at the tab of a barre chord for like an hour saying "WTF"?