09 March, 2009

HOW TO play barre chords - Part 1

This post will be specifically on how to play a barre chords. So, the first thing we have to ask is, "What is a barre chord?" Well, a barre chord is given its name because it basically barres a whole fret with a finger.

In chord books that you might have purchased before, or seen online, it would look something like this:

Translating the above picture into playing your guitar would look like this:

Looks hard to play? Yup, I must admit that at first, it will come across as a hard chord to play mainly because of the barring. Your index finger has to do most of the work because it has to be able to press down the fret hard enough for you to get a clear sound when each individual string is played.

There you go, that's basically what a barre chord is. BUT here comes the more interesting part. With this barre chord pattern, you can play a lot of other chords. I'll just give a brief description of what else you can play. More will be explained perhaps in a more detailed post.

From the F chord shown above, other chords can be played when you keep the same pattern. For example, if I move everything up to the next fret (2nd fret), keeping the same chord pattern, it would make it a F# chord. If I move it to the 3rd fret, it would be a G chord. Just moving it to different frets would give you different chords.

Here's the list of chords you can get just by moving your F pattern up the fret board:
1st fret: F
2nd fret: F#
3rd fret : G
4th fret: G#
5th fret: A
6th fret: Bb
7th fret: B
8th fret: C

Pictorially, it looks like this:

And it just goes on and on. However, I would not recommend you play so high up the fret board. The most I would go would be until the B chord (7th fret).


Elaine said...

Thanks for the info.

You can also learn by simply buying some instructional software like rock band instructional DVDs.

Anonymous said...

Any tips for the barre chords? Cause with F barre chord, I could get the strings ring well except the "B" string (the last but one). I could not pressurize the index finger alone without the other three fingers.


daniel said...

Hi anonymous, for barre chords, the only tip I can give is to make use of your thumb to press against the back of the fretboard to give your index finger more strength so that the notes can be heard.

Imagine crushing something between your thumb and index finger

Anonymous said...

Seriously, thanks for this!

Joshua Hinchliffe said...


I've just got to grips with it. It is very rewarding when you finally get it. the secret is to practice pressing as hard as you can without any other notes, just your finger across the bar.

Dev said...

Dear Daniel

Are there any good songs that I can play in these Barre chords.