The Truth About How to Play Bar Chords on Acoustic Guitar

Bar chord is also known as barre chord or sometimes barr chord. So, the first thing is, don’t get confused about these terms. They are the same thing. Now, you are here that’s why I would guess that you have the basic idea of the guitar. I know that in the core of your heart you have the question which is, "what is a bar chord?Don’t worry I am here to answer all of your questions. A bar chord/barre chord is a type of chord that is applied on a guitar or other stringed instrument.

Normally, open string guitar has 6 pitches which are E-A-D-G-B-E. If you want to make more tones than these 6 open string tones, then you have to apply different chords. So, bar chord is one type of chord that uses one or more fingers to press down multiple strings and this is across one single fret of the fingerboard. In this technique, fingers are used as a bar for pressing down the strings that’s why it is called bar chord technique. Bar chord is also called Move-able chords. So, why it’s given this name? Because in the bar chord technique fingers are frequently move up and down to make different tones. Bar chord technique is popularly played in popular and classical music.

Sometimes it looks like a barrier for beginners to learn bar chord technique. But believe me, it is a lot easier than other techniques. Have faith in you and start the journey with us for learning the technique of bar chord.

Now, we are our main section where we teach you how to play bar chords on acoustic guitar?. You see we are frequently saying these terms which are bar chords, open chord. But do you know what is chord? Don’t worry before starting our main tutorial we are going to enrich with some knowledge that will help you to understand our tutorial clearly.

Things We Should Know First

So, at this point let’s see what is chord and what is the difference between chord and note. A note is a pitch of a single string which means plucking a single string. The chord is a combination of many different notes. It may be got you clear if we compare note as letter and chord as a word. Another thing we should know before starting is the symbol ‘Em’ or ‘Am’. Don’t get panic these symbols are nothing but the short form of E minor and A minor. 

Sometimes strings are written in numeric forms like 6-5-4-3-2-1 from the thickest string to the thinnest one. Fingers are often written as T(which are referred to Thumb)-1-2-3-4. So, hope you get all the above the things. If you don’t then please learn them in details before starting our tutorial. But, I hope you can also learn from this tutorial without having details about Chord box or other things. So, if you are done above and feel confident then we are good to go.

Things You Might Need

Don’t worry about the title. If you have a guitar you are ready to go. But here you might collect these things also to feel confident.

  • An acoustic guitar,
  • A pick,
  • A suitable place to sit.

That’s all. So, let’s begin our journey.

There are several barre chord shapes are exists such as E shape, Em, A shape, Am, F shape, G major, Dmaj7 etc. Here, we are discussing only some essential bar chords.

E Major Barre Chord Shape

1. At first, take a suitable place to sit and take your guitar.

2. Now, place the first finger (Index finger) on the first fret and press the sixth string.

3. Next, place middle finger of yours on the third string or B string, second fret. Similarly, place ring finger of yours on the fifth string, third fret and place your pinky on the fourth string, third fret.

4. Now, to make sure your finger placement on the string, pick all the strings one after another. If you get unclear sound then press the fingers a little bit harder to get the clear sound.

These are the simple steps to play E shape barre chord. But you have to have patience and determination to get clear sound. Because for the beginners it seems quite hard at the first time. 

E Minor Barre Chord Shape

1. This barre chord shape is a lot easier than the E major barre chord shape. At first, put index finger of yours on the sixth string, first fret.

2. Now, as before place ring finger of yours on the fifth string, third fret and place your pinky on the fourth string, third fret. So, you can see that it’s mostly similar to the E major but the difference is E minor shape doesn’t use the middle finger.

These are the steps for E minor barre chord shape. Practice it more and more to get the expected sound. As before it seems a little bit challenging for the beginners.

A Major Barre Chord Shape

1. After finishing the above stage then try this chord. Because if the above stages are not completed properly then it seems a lot challenging to you. 

2. Now, to play this chord put index finger of yours on the fifth string, first fret.

3. Next, place middle finger of yours on the fourth string, third fret. Similarly, place ring finger of yours on the third string, third fret and place your pinky on the second string, third fret. Remember this, in this chord shape we don’t pick the sixth string. 

That’s it for this A major barre chord shape. Practice again and again and mostly have patience.

A Minor Barre Chord Shape

1. This chord is similar to E major shape. But the difference is it uses different strings. So, why wasting time! put index finger of yours on the sixth string, first fret.

2. Now, place middle finger of yours on the second string or B string, second fret. Similarly, place ring finger of yours on the fourth string, third fret and also place your pinky on the third string, third fret.

If you correctly place all your finger then you good to go. As before, practice this chord shape with patience. 

So, these are the four essential barre chord shapes. The best thing is by moving the frets with same frets you can play F major chord, F# major chord, G major chord, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E and back to F. Through these shapes you can play twelve different keys each.

Some tips for you

1. Don’t place your finger totally flat on the strings. If you do so you can’t get expected outcome.

2. Practice all the chord shapes on a daily basis.

3. Memorize all notes of 5th and 6th string. It will help you to play bar chord easily.

Things you should keep in mind

Don’t grab the neck of the guitar tightly like when you play open chord while playing the bar chord. Because it will be harder for you to place the other fingers properly. Just place your thumb slightly pointing towards the ceiling.

Final words

Barre chord or Bar chord is quite difficult for the beginners to start with. So, it is recommended to first learn open chords properly and after then start the barre chord. Many beginners seem this chord as a barrier. But by practicing hard anyone can play this chord easily. This chord is the most popular chord. Because you can sing several songs with this chord. So, my suggestion is for you to have patience and keep practicing. Meanwhile, you will get the necessity of this chord. That’s all for this post. Good luck on your journey.

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