Free Online Guitar Lessons
How To Play Bar Chords
So you've mastered the basic guitar chords, you've got some techniques and scales nailed down and you're able to impress your friends and family some songs... Time to move on to some heavier stuff that will, in the beginning, seriously stretch your finger and hand strength.
By now your hands and fingers should be strong enough to attempt to play what is known as bar chords. It's also spelled barre (but pronounced 'bar', as in the place where the bartender works), and I'll use both terms interchangeably.
The chords that you've learnt thus far, such as the ones shown on the basic guitar chords page, are known as open chords since there are usually a couple of strings open when you play these. Barre chords are different...
Barre chords are a type of guitar chord where your index finger is used to press many strings on a single fret. Look at the picture below for a graphical illustration:
No Serious guitarist can be long without learning and mastering bar chords. This video based lessons will teach you how to play bar chords on the guitar...
In this picture on the right, the index finger is fretting every string on a fret. This forms the basis of a barre chord. Your index finger thus acts as a 'bar' pressing down many or all of the strings on a single fret. The rest of your fingers will now finish the chord formation by fretting other strings to the right of your index finger.
The great thing about barre chords is that, unlike with the open chords, they don't come in many shapes and sizes - what I mean by that is that there aren't many chord shapes you have to memorize. When learning how to play bar chords you'll see that you basically keep you hand in the same position and simply move it up and down the fretboard (in that position), to change keys. Makes life very simple...
If it sounds confusing now, don't worry, in the lesson that follows I'll use some video to show you what I mean. You'll know exactly what it's all about.
If you want to have a second look at the nine basic open chords go to the basic guitar chords page.
Otherwise proceed to the Barre chords lessons.
But it's so difficult!
This is a common complaint when someone is just starting out with barre chords. Remember that Barre chords are significantly more difficult to play than open chords since they require more strength and effort from your fretting hand.
When starting to learn barre chords, your index finger (and entire hand) will likely get very tired. If you're a new guitar player, you should first learn many open chords before learning barre chords.
If you're serious about learning everything there is to know about barre chords, I also recommend you check out some of the amazing video lessons by Jamplay. They are currently offering a limited free trail (more info on my Jamplay review page) with access to any of their over 4,000 lessons, which include songs and techniques from many genres.
I've done a short review on the "why" and "how" of Jamplay here, as they continue to dominate the Internet Guitar market, and for good reason: their material (which I myself use) are truly of high quality.