Tag Archives: Barre

Twelve minor barre chords explained with only one chord shape

Barre chords are tough cookies. If you want to understand them better, you have to understand the theory behind them. Otherwise, you are always rehearsing the same action as if it were the first time. This blog teaches you to play twelve minor chords with just one basic barre chord fingering.

Here’s a completely logical statement: each chord has its own fingering on the guitar neck. Sounds about right, right? Or maybe not if you take some time to think this through. 

A simple calculation

A simple calculation based on the above statement shows that you have to learn at least 24 unique grips on the guitar neck – twelve tones multiplied by two because we’re taking majors and minors into account. And what if you also incorporate the strings on which the root note of your chord lies? That is 24 chords times six strings… 

Yeah, that’s 144 unique grips on the guitar neck. And we’re only talking about major and minor chords! You can click here for an overview of all the chords, which you can learn by heart. Or you just read this blog and save yourself a lifetime of misery. 

Twelve minor chords with just one fingering

Last time we explained how you can play twelve major chords with the lower E string as a reference for the root note. Now we are going to introduce you to the world of the minor chords. Again you only need one fingering to play twelve minor chords. 

Fun fact: it’s the same shape as explained in the previous blog only played one string higher – on the A string. This makes sense because the Am chord is essentially the same fingering as the E major only applied somewhere else on the fret board. Grab your guitar and play an E chord. Great! Now play and an Am chord. You see what we mean, right?

Unraveling the secret of the Am chord

Do you remember how we approached barre chords in the last blog? Right, you slide up the fingering of the basic chord – in this case the Am – a fret up and you compensate for the nut of the guitar by placing your index finger flat and pushing down all the strings beneath it. The fret under your index finger on the A string determines which chord you play in minor. See the picture below for an overview.

Fingering of minor chord with root note on the A string

In other words, the fingering you use to determine which major chords you play from the low E string is applied to the A string when playing minor chords. Try it out! Which minor chord do you play when you position this fingering on the fifth fret? Yes, that’s a Dm. And on the ninth fret? Cheating on the overview is allowed… Yes! That is indeed a F#m.

24 chords with only one barre chord fingering

Congratulations! You can now play 24 different major and minor chords with just one fingering. Did you expect this to be possible? Whatever your answer is, the fret board is now a lot clearer.

Now try to jam to songs that seemed like hocus-pocus before you read this blog post – because of the strange barre chords that is. You don’t have to be afraid of that anymore. Next time we’ll explain a third fingering with which you can unlock twelve chords on the guitar neck. But until then: happy jamming!

Do you know what secrets are stored in the E major? Basic theory about major barre chords explained

We have written lots of blogs about basic chords, triads you can easily find at the top of the guitar neck. But the fretboard has much more to offer than an Em, A, D and all their friends high up on the axe. Don’t you want to explore the whole range of your instrument? It’s time to learn some barre chords.

In this blog post we will explain how you can unlock the full potential of the fretboard, using the basic knowledge of the E chord. Beware, this could get pretty theoretical and physically painful at times, but it’s definitely going to be worth your while. 

All you need to know is E

We’ve explained how to play an E chord before. Just check out this blog post if you forgot. Something kind of tells us you didn’t, so let’s get this party started. Grab your guitar and play an E chord. Try to use the following fingering: ring finger on the second fret of the A string right next to the pinky on the D string, middle finger on the G string first fret. Nothing to it right?

Now prepare for your mind to be blown. Move the fingering of the E chord up a fret – this means your ring finger is on third fret A string next to your pinky on the same fret D string, which logically positions your middle finger on the second fret G string. If you strike this chord it will sound kind of strange and well-harmonized at the same time. Try it.

The ring finger needs more muscles

The chord you’re actually playing is an F major with an E in the bass. Let’s turn it into a full-blown F chord shall we? Place your index finger flat on all the strings first fret. Try to push everything down as hard as you can and then some more – and yes we know this is a painful job if this is your first time playing a barre chord. 

Fingering of major chord with root note on the lower E string.

Your main focus for the moment should be that the tone underneath the first fret of the E string sounds bright. Why? Because this is your root note, which means it is very important to hear a clear F when you’re trying to play an F chord.

All the root notes for barre chords on the E string

Now you know how to play an F major, so you probably also know how to play a G, a B or maybe even an C# don’t you? No? Think again… Look at the fingering of your F chord and remember what makes it an F. Yes that’s right, the root note does! What if you use the same fingering on a different root located on the lower E string? 

Ah, now you’re starting to get it, aren’t you? It really is that simple. The only thing you have to remember is which tone corresponds to which fret. Luckily, we made a diagram so you can fake it ‘till you make it. Let’s try it out. Which major chord are you playing if you position your fingers starting with your index finger on fifth fret? Okay. And ninth fret? 

Practice makes perfect

Congratulations, you have just played the A and the C# barre chords. Kind of feels like amazement and disappointment at the same time, huh? On the one hand you just realized how easy it is to play any major chord using the E string as a root reference. On the other hand… well that spoiled the magic idea of how difficult barre chords actually are. 

But the fretboard is far from unlocked. We’re not there yet. This is just a taste of things to come. Next time we will teach you the magic behind the Am, so stay tuned. But until then: happy jamming!