Barre Chords A String

In this lesson, Charlie goes over a bit of basic guitar theory. Here you will learn about moving barre chords based on the A string.

The diagrams below show the position of the fingers on your left hand to play a small set of the chords used in this lesson. The rest can be easily derived from this following the instructions in the lesson.

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A string barre chords. These are chords that take their name from the A string and they are moveable chords. We looked in a previous lesson at the barre chords getting their name from their E string, so this is just another set of chords that move up the neck chromatically from the A string. Let's have a look at them.

Here are the notes if you are moving up the A string chromatically or if we are ascending and descending we have the notes: A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, and we are at our octave, back at A. If we were descending, it would be A, Ab, G, Gb, F, natural semitone to E, Eb, D, Db, C, natural semitone to B, and then finally Bb or A#.

Ok, so let's take a look at our first chord, which is our major chord. This is basically coming from our first position A chord. For those of you that know the shape. It's pretty much first finger on the D string second fret, second finger on the G string second fret, and third finger on the B string second fret. And what we are doing is achieve that same group of notes by placing our third finger down over those three notes and flattening it. You will have to push out your wrist out a little bit so you can really flatten down that third finger. You almost need to get a little bit of a bend in that final little finger joint that you got at the top there. You've got almost to push that wrist out and get a little bit of a buckle in that finger. Now what we do is just take that up a fret so that we've got some room to put down our first finger on our A# or Bb note. We just lay that across. We are only really playing the Bb note, which is the A string. And we strum from that note all the way down to the top string, which is the E, which is muted. We are just letting that third finger touch that string. And there's our Bb chord, and again, if I decided to move that up I'd have my B Major chord, my C Major chord, C#, etc.

The next chord we're going to look at is our seventh chord. Once again if we take the shape from the first position shape, our A7 shape. This time we place those two notes with our third and fourth finger and barre across the first fret with our first finger. We can also just lay our second finger alongside to give that first finger a little bit of support. Make sure that the very tips of the third and fourth finger are down on the strings. Don't let them lay back. Make sure they're standing up nice and high. And, of course, we are in the Bb position again. I'm not going to play my low E string... and we have our Bb7th chord.

The next chord in the set of chords of the A string is the A minor shape, A minor chord, just swap those fingers around starting with the second, third and fourth, and we have our A minor shape. Move it up a fret. Barre straight across that first fret, make sure I keep my fingers nice and high. I want to make sure my finger tips are on those strings. Don't let them collapse. Keep a lot of the weight on the outside of the first finger. So, it's slightly tilted towards the head stock of the guitar. Pressing down on that, again I miss my low E string, and strum from the A string down... That would be my Bb minor chord.

The final chord in this set of chords is my minor seventh chord. Very simply achieved by going back to my Bb minor shape and lifting my fourth finger and now it gives me my minor 7th shape, Bb minor 7th. Remembering, I'm strumming from the A string down.

For those of you that have worked through the barre chords of the E string and also now the A string, one of the exercises that I'd suggest that you do, is look at your major chords on both strings starting from the F of the E string, and going to the Bb of the A string, and then just work up chromatically F, Bb, F#, B, G, C, G#, C#, A, B. That's quite common in what we call a "one-four" progression. It's something that you will do quite often. Then repeat that process for the minor chords: Fm, Bbm, F#m, Bm, Gm, Cm, etc... and do the same with the 7ths, and the minor 7ths.

I do suggest that you memorise the E string shapes and the A string shapes separately. Good luck with it, have fun and we'll talk to you next time.

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