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By Rhys Lett

Barre Chords on Guitar

One of the most difficult skills for beginner guitarists to master is playing barre chords. They are the most physically challenging things you will play on a guitar. Barre chords require good hand strength and excellent technique in order to form the chord. In this article we help you play barre chords with ease.

TWO PARTS OF A BARRE CHORD

There are two things to consider when wanting to form a barre chord:

1. NOTE – which string and fret you will start the chord on.

2. CHORD TYPE – major or minor.

NOTE – choosing which fret and string is appropriate. In the chord G minor, the note section of the chord is the G. This would mean you should place your first finger on the note G. Using 6th string as our example, the note G is found at 3rd fret. Place your finger completely flat over the 6 strings. This is the barre component of the chord. See the table below for a summary of the notes found on 6th and 5th string:

NOTES on 6TH STING

0123456789101112
EFF#/GbGG#/AbAA#/BbBCC#/DbDD#/EbE

 

NOTES on 5TH STRING

0123456789101112
AA#/BbBCC#/DbD D#/EbEFF#/GbGG#/AbA

 

CHORD TYPE – the rest of your fingers will form a chord shape, either MAJOR or MINOR. There are four chord shapes you need to learn:

6TH String – MAJOR and MINOR

5th String – MAJOR and MINOR

In the chord G minor, the minor chord shape must be used.  Look at the videos below as a guide to the finger shapes required to play these chords.

6TH STRING

5TH STRING

These chord shapes may look familiar. On the 6th string the chord shapes resemble E major and E minor. On the 5th string you are using the chord shapes A major and A minor. Unlike open chords, these chords are moveable.

PLAYING TIPS – Barre Chords

On the 6th string, have your first finger go over the top of the fretboard up to your first knuckle. This will help keep your finger straight. Your wrist needs to be in front of the guitar to allow your fingers to reach the chord shape.

On 5th string have your first finger hang below the fretboard up to your last knuckle. This will help keep your finger straight. Your wrist needs to be in front of the guitar to allow your fingers to reach the chord shape.

Watch this video to see these tips in action.

CHALLENGE – Barre Chords

Test yourself by playing these chords on either 6th string or 5th string as barre chord:

G             A             Bb           Dm         Ab          D#          Am         C             Bm         C#m