In this lesson you will learn the four most fundamental and important guitar barre chords also called bar chords.
Barre chords are chords in which you press down two or more strings together with only one finger. Barre chords are great because they are moveable. You can play a barre chord shape on any fret. So, that means you can play multiple chords with only one barre chord shape.
There are a few different shapes of barre chords in guitar. The most common, important and fundamental barre chord shapes are the E major shape barre chord, E minor shape barre chord, A major shape barre chord and the A minor shape barre chord.
The E shape barre chord
The second image above shows an F major barre chord as example. This chord is derived from the E shape barre chord.
Notice that the fingerings 3, 4 and 5 are exactly the same as an E open chord. Hence the name E shape barre chord. The only difference is that the F major chord has moved up one fret from the open E chord position and the strings on the first fret is barred with the second (index) finger.
Now, if you move up by one fret from the F major chord while still holding the same chord shape, it becomes an F sharp major barre chord. And then if you up one fret again, it becomes the G major barre chord and on and on. The more you move a barre chord shape up the fret, the chords will change sequentially. This applies to any barre chord shapes. Keep that in mind.
The E minor shape barre chord
In the above illustration, the F minor barre chord is derived from the E minor shape. The fingering positions 4 and 5 are exactly the same as an E minor open chord with the only difference being shifted up a fret and barring of the strings on first fret. Hence the name E minor shape.
The A shape barre chord
The above illustration shows an example of A sharp major barre chord. The notes barred by the finger number 3 is the same as the A major open chord but moved up one fret and the strings on the first fret is barred by the first finger.
In this barre chord shape, you bend the top joint of your third finger and press the three strings (2nd, 3rd and 4th strings) together. You are using only one finger (3rd finger) as opposed to 3 fingers used in open A minor chord.
The A minor shape barre chord
The above illustration shows an A sharp minor barre chord as an example. This chord’s shape is derived from the A minor open chord. The notes pressed by the fingers 2, 3 and 4 is the same as the A minor open chord but moved up by one fret.
In advanced guitar playing, you can also create 7th, suspended and other chords from those same barre chord shapes by modifying one or two notes. For now, you should focus on the major and minor shapes. You don’t need to learn the 7th, suspended and other chords for now. We will cover them in a later post.
There are more uncommon barre chord shapes like the C shape barre chord and the D shape barre chord. They are not really that important. And by using the barre chord shapes you learned in this post, you can play all the chords that the uncommon shapes can play. So for now, you just need to learn the important ones that you saw in this post above. We will cover the uncommon barre chords in a later post.
Major and minor barre chords chart