Guitar Lessons for Beginners

Barre Chords for the guitar

By Greg Cisko

Barre chords are the next step to playing guitar after you learn your basic open chords. At least I believe you should not attempt them until you learn the basic open chords. With barre chords, you are using your index finger to function the same as the nut on your guitar. Only with your index finger you can move it around the neck. Almost like a capo.

The 3 main styles of barre chords I will show are based on the open E, A and D chords. To be proficent at playing barre chords effictively, you will need to memorize the notes of the E (6th), A (5th) and D (4th) strings. These notes are listed in each illustration. The notes shown are either for the E (6th), A (5th) or D (4th) string depending on the shape you are playing. For example, when you barre a certain note on the E string with the E shape barre chord, you are playing that chord. An E shape barre chord, barred on the 5th fret is an A chord. Barre the 3rd fret and you have a G chord and so on.

The same is true for the A shape and D shape barre chords. For an A shape barre chord, you mute or do not play the E string. For the D shape barre chord, you mute or do not play the E and A strings. The illustrations have big red X's on strings that should be muted.

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