Guitar Barre ChordsIncrease Your Chord Inventory

These guitar barre chords or guitar bar chords as I’ve seen it spelled will give you more control of where to play chords.

There isn’t a lot of them but barre chords are essential for any type of guitar playing. You can’t function as a guitar player without knowing these basic movable chords.

The Barre or Bar is Your Index Finger

Your index finger acts like the nut that holds your strings at the top of the neck or like a guitar capo does.

The best part about these chords is that they are movable which makes learning one form equal to 12 or more chords.

The Clamp = Thumb + Index Finger

You understand that your index finger will act as the nut does. Your index finger needs some help from the thumb to help keep it snug to the neck.

You only want to apply enough pressure to get clean notes on all strings, anything more than this will cause fatigue and make you slower.

Your thumb should be in or about the center of the back of the neck, this will give you the best holding power and allow you to move fingers 2,3 and 4 while holding down the index finger.

This will be necessary to do when playing rhythm guitar or chord melody or riffs that come off chords.

You will find this thumb position doesn’t work for all chords but it does for most Barre Chords.

Some Guitar Barre Chord Practice

If you are new to barre chords or need to get clearer sounds with them. Here is a little practice lesson.

Practice using your index finger like in the image below starting on the 10th fret. You want to have clear clean notes on every string.

You will have to reposition your finger until you find that “right” spot. Once you can get clear notes on the 10th fret go the 9th fret and repeat.

The 12th fret is the middle of your guitar strings. The string is easier to push down at this point.

As you go down the neck towards the tuning keys guitar barre chords will get harder because the strings don’t have as much give. Keep at it.

Adding Fingers

After you can get clean notes with your index finger you can add a finger and check for clean notes up and down the neck.

Place your index finger on the 10th fret to make your barre.

Add your middle finger to the 3rd string one fret above your finger barre. This will be the major 3rd for some different barre chords.

Next add your 3rd(ring) finger to the 5th string two frets above your finger barre. This will be the 5th for some barre chords. With your 2nd finger and 3rd finger in place you are playing a dominant D7th chord. The root for the chord is on the 6th and 1st strings of your finger barre.

Next add your 4th(little) finger to the 4th string two frets above your finger barre. The chord now becomes a plain D major chord because your 4th finger took away the 7th note. This new note is a root note like the ones on the 6th and 1st strings.

You will play this barre chord form more than any of the other forms.

Chords Just Happen

One thing about learning chords is that you will practice trying to finger a chord and get it to sound good many many times.

Then one day you try it and you got it. Hard chords have a way of doing this. Your practice isn’t for nothing it will come.

Good clean notes are essential especially if you plan on playing through distortion boxes or pedals. They will amplify your bad form and sound.

The Major Guitar Barre Chords

The root notes for the below chords are on these strings.

6th,4th & 1st

5th and 3rd

5th and 2nd

In the above B♭ and D♭ you will just touch the 6th string with your index finger so it doesn’t sound. However if you are finger picking or playing in a country style you may want to use these notes as alternate bass notes.

The E♭ form doesn’t get a lot of use but it’s good to know.

The Minor Barre Chords

The root notes for the minor chords below are on strings…

6th,4th & 1st

5th and 3rd

4th and 2nd

2nd string

The E♭ minor form above is hard to grab in a fast song so it’s use is limited unless you practice on it.

The Dominant 7th Barre Chords

The root notes for the 7th chords below are on these string…

6th and 1st

5th string

6th and 1st

5th and 3rd

The last B♭7 chord is best played with a quick stroke like the Beatles tune “She’s a Woman”.

The Minor 7th
Guitar Barre Chords

The root notes for the Minor 7th chords are on these strings.

6th and 1st

5th string

6th and 1st

The Gm7 chord uses the third finger as the bar much like the B♭ chord in the major chords.