Barre Chords 2

Barre Chords 2

In Barre Chords 1 you learned what barre chords are, how they work, and how to play them. In Barre Chords 2 you will  learn how to play a second major barre chord shape. I also provide a handy chart for looking up major barre chords.

The next shape is based on the A major open chord shape. The root note of this chord is found on the 5th string

A (major) open chord

A (major) open chord

When you take the open A chord shape, move it up one fret and bar across all of the strings on the 1st fret, you have a B Flat (or A Sharp) barre chord.

B Flat barre chord

B Flat barre chord

Move the barre chord shape up another fret to the 2nd fret and you have a B barre chord.

B barre chord

B barre chord

As you move up the fretboard you are moving up the chromatic scale. So the 3rd fret will be a C chord, the 4th fret will be a C Sharp (or D Flat chord), and so on. Each fret you move up the fretboard is one more half step up the chromatic scale.

C barre chord - 5th string root

C barre chord - 5th string root

So using the two barre chord shapes you have learned, you can play any major chord in two positions on the fretboard. A C chord can be played at the 3rd fret using the 5th string root chord shape (above), and 8th fret using the 6th string root chord shape (below.)

C barre chord - 6th string root

C barre chord - 6th string root

Optional Fingering

Here is an optional way of fingering the 5th string root barre chord that some players find easier and faster to grab. I use this fingering.

In this fingering, you still use your 1st finger to bar across all six strings, but instead of using your other three fingers to play the rest of the chord, you use your third finger to bar across the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. You mute (do not play) the first string. I usually use my 2nd finger to help my 3rd finger hold the three strings down. I do this by placing my 2nd finger partially on top of my 3rd finger. It sounds odd, but it works for me and adds strength to my 3rd finger.

Major Barre Chord Chart

Here is a digram with three major barre chord shapes (based on the E, A and C open chord shapes) and the resulting chord when played at each fret. 

The following chord progression uses two major barre chord shapes. Give it a try. If your fretting hand starts to cramp after a while, which is common when playing barre chords, take a break and rest your hand. Never play with pain. Listen to your body. If it hurts, take a break. Normally you will use a mixture of barre and open chords, which usually prevents the cramping that comes from playing only barre chords for extended periods.

Next time we'll look at Minor barre chords. 

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