Guitar Barre Chords Made Easy

Guitar Barre Chords--the very WORDS have had some of my students shaking in their Pumped Up Kicks! Not a problem--anything is easy if you understand it. So here we go. Barre chords are basically the same as open chords except that you use your 1st finger to shorten the guitar neck. The shorter you make a string, the higher the note--right?

Look at this first diagram:

Now your first finger has become the "nut" on your guitar and you are playing an open E chord with the rest of your fingers. So now your guitar neck is one fret shorter and all of the notes are a HALF STEP (one fret}higher. One half-step up from E is F--so this is an F MAJOR chord. Get it?

Learn About Barre Chords!

Just lift your 2nd finger from the 3rd string and you have an F minor chord. Move everything to the 3rd fret and it's a G minor chord and on and on up the fretboard.

Guitar Barre Chords can also be named after the 5th string. This time you are making your guitar one fret shorter and playing an open A major chord. Bar your 1st finger across strings 5-1 and play an open A major chord with your 3rd finger. This one is a bit tricky to get a good sound from, but keep trying! Every one of my students has done it.

See how it goes? Now we have a barre chord named after the 5th string but it is actually an A minor open chord that has been raised by a half step because of the barre. So this is a Bb (B flat) minor chord.

If this is still confusing, ask your teacher. If you live in the Gig Harbor area and need a teacher, email me.


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