Free Online Guitar Lessons
Playing Barre Chords
Now that you know how to play barre chords, how and when do I use them in songs. This lesson will show you how to utilize bar chords...
Playing barre chords in songs
When playing chords containing sharps (# in musical notation) and flats (b in musical notation), you'll usually play the barre chord version of the chord. For example, more complex chords like G#7 (G Sharp seventh) or Bb (B Flat), barre chords are the way to go, since they're easier to play than the open chord versions of these chords.
As you continue to learn and use bar chords, you'll realise when to use open chords in a song, and when to use barre chords. Sometimes there isn't an open chord for what you want to play, in which case the choice is real easy :-)
Frets and Keys
By now you know that the wonder of playing barre chords, lies in the fact that you can keep the same formation and just shift your hand up and down the fretboard to change the keys. But which frets are which keys?
This image on the left shows you what keys you'll be playing in when using the E-major and A-minor shape barre chords.
When using the E-major shape the letters on the E-string indicates what key you'll be playing on in the corresponding fret.
When using the A-minor shape the letters on the A-string indicates what key you'll be playing on in the corresponding fret.
Huh? Hang on, here's an example...
If you're playing the E-major shape on the 3rd fret you're playing the G major chord.
If you're playing A-minor shape on the 5th fret, you're playing the D minor chord.
If you're playing the E-major shape on the 7th fret you're playing the B major chord.
If you're playing A-minor shape on the 7th fret, you're playing the E minor chord.
At this point, if all the theory behind barre chords seem like a confusing riddle to you... DON'T WORRY!
You'll Learn playing barre chords as you need to use them. The best way to do that is to download a guitar chord chart, so that when you need to play a barre chord and you don't know what it looks like you can have a reference handy.
That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about barre chords. The Next lesson will teach you all about the chords used in rock and metal music.
Proceed to Power Chords!
Here's a bar chord exercise to try out...
In the video, I'm playing the barre chord versions of these four chords in succession:
Am - Dm - G - E
I've included the chord charts - have a go and see if you can do it!
1 - Am
2 - Dm
3 - G
4 - E