Barre Chords E String

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

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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Hi there. We're having a look at some barre chords. These chords basically are getting their name from the E string, and we are able to move them up the neck.

We are going to look at the major chord, the minor chord, the seventh chord and the minor seventh. I'm going to show you how they work.

Ok, our major chord basically is constructed from our first position E chord. What we are doing is pretty much replace those fingers with our second, third and fourth finger, and we are able to shift that chord up and barre right across that first fret. The best way to achieve that barre is the keep that thumb down low, and that will flatten your first finger. Make sure your remaining fingers, your second, third and fourth are standing up nice and high on the tips. Don't let them collapse back. Make sure they are nice and high.

And we have our FMaj chord...The reason that's called the FMaj chord is basically because all of these chords are getting their name from the E string. If I'm to play that first note on the first fret I have an F note. If I'm to move it up, I have an F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, B like E doesn't have a sharp, so we go straight onto C, C#, D, D#, and then we are at the octave on the 12th fret, which is back to an E again. And enables me to move that barre chord up what we call a semi-tone at a time.

FMaj, F#Maj, GMaj, G#Maj, AMaj, A#Maj, BMaj, CMaj, C#Maj, DMaj, D#Maj, and it gets a little uncomfortable on 12 but finally our EMaj...

Theoretically, if we are moving up the neck we are basically working in "sharps" (#), so we are coming up as I've just done previously. If you are descending down the neck we can basically talk of the notes or the chords as "flats" (b), and this is the way the "flats" work.

So, let me just take it from the A. If I descend down a fret, that becomes Ab (A flat). You'll also know that it's G#, same chord. A -> Ab, G -> G#. So descending from A: A, Ab (or G#), G, Gb (or F#) and finally F.

Apart from being movable chords, barre chords are also great because just by simply moving a finger or two we can change a chord from a major to a minor or a minor seventh. So I'm going to go through those shapes with you right now.

Ok, so we look at our FMaj chord again on the first fret, and to achieve a minor, all I need to do is lift off that second finger, lay it beside my first finger... and I have an Fm chord. I can then move that chromatically, F#m, Gm, G#m, Am, etc...

Put my fingers back on to my major chord, and lift my little finger off, the pinkie, and I now have an F7 chord. Likewise that can move up chromatically: F#7, G7, G#7, A7, etc.

If I remove my middle finger and my little finger, my pinkie, I have a minor seven chord... so there we have four chord shapes: major, minor, minor seven and seven.

Probably a good thing to do is to just try to think of a chord, any chord at random, like I want to have a crack at an Am7 chord, so what I'll do is work where my A position is: F, F#, G, G#, A (up on the fifth fret), and my minor seven shape was middle finger off, and them my little finger off, play the chord.

So if you memorise your four chord shapes, and we've got 12 positions on the neck if my maths is correct, I think that is 48 chords. Hopefully that should help build up your chord vocabulary. Good luck with it. Have fun!

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