Learning Guitar Chords Is Easy (When You Use These Patterns)

Memorising every single guitar chord could take a full lifetime, not to mention all the variations like add7, add9, diminished and inversions – but with these simple barre patterns, you’ll be able to play any chord in any key anywhere on your fretboard!

Barre chords are created when you lay your index finger like a “bar” across each string, starting either from the 6th or 5th/E or A string respectively. This allows you to set up a simple pattern with your remaining fingers to play any chord you like – and when you move this pattern up and down the fretboard, this enables you to play the same chord in ANY key! Pretty cool, right? Barre Chords are an excellent way to open up the neck of your guitar and make the process of learning new songs much more enjoyable without having to trawl through chord chart after chord chart looking for that one chord that might simply be easier and sound more pleasant as a barre chord.

Once you familiarise yourself with the pattern for each common chord like in the video above – you can even take it a step further by learning the second stage barre chords for less common chords and inversions. Once you get the hang of these simple barre patterns, you’ll actually start to notice these common patterns throughout your favourite songs – Stairway to Heaven and Nothing Else Matters are two excellent uses of barre chords, not to mention almost ever rock song ever written that features a simple Power Chord to provide depth and punch to a song.

How To Play Guitar Chords Easier

Now that you’re getting the hang of barre chords, you might be wondering how to learn more open chords too, and the secret is held within this simple key;

There are tons of chord books and online chord resources that will show you absolutely every single chord imaginable in a plethora of different positions and manners – the key is learning how to reach chord charts quicker and more efficiently, allowing you to play new songs quicker and more efficiently. To many beginner and even intermediate guitarists, chord charts really can seem like another language and can be quite tricky to follow, but you can streamline this process by learning these simple keys:

  • x = Muted string
  • o = Open string left to ring
  • Solid Line at the top = Guitar Nut
  • Solid Line through the middle of a fret = Barre
  • Solid Dot in the middle of a fret = Fretted note
  • Number in the middle of a fretted note = Suggested fingering
  • Light horizontal line = Literal fret
  • Vertical line = Guitar string

These simple 8 rules will open up your ability to read chord charts with ease. Sure, you can work it out on the spot pretty easy, but when you train your brain to immediately identify each of these keys in the chord chart, you will learn to look at the chart while being able to fret and play the chord instantly without the need to fumble with finger positions or muted strings.

Learning To Play Guitar Easier

With over 30 years experience studying the guitar, I’ve come to the well founded conclusion that great guitar playing, just like great singing, is all about your foundation. When learning how to sing, it isn’t about the complicated advanced techniques like compression and vowel modification – your ability to sing well is created by your ability to breathe correctly and form your vowels in the right way. This same concept applies ten fold when it comes to guitar playing – you can repeat scales to a metronome all day long if you like, but if the fundamental aspects of guitar like your posture, how you’re holding the guitar, how you’re holding the pick, foundation techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs, clearly fretted and picked notes, slides etc aren’t up to scratch, then your ability to apply your technique in the real-world-setting of a band or in a full song is going to suffer.

Becoming a great musician is all about your musical foundation – and barre chords really are a great place to start.

If you have any questions about learning to play barre chords easier, feel free to leave any feedback below!


How To Play Barre Chords Easier

What if you could take one simple pattern and move it anywhere you and play any chord in any key with ease? Barre Chords really do open up the neck of your guitar in an incredible way by making this possible with a set of simple and easy to remember patterns which can be repeated all over the fretboard. Simply identify the root note of the chord (ie: a C note for a C major chord, an E note for an E minor chord) on either the 6th or 5th/E or A string on the guitar and use the patterns I’m about to show you to unlock any chord you could ever wish to play.

Barre chords rely on your index finger sitting across every string in unison to create a barre, or “bar” as it’s commonly called, with a recognisable pattern with your remaining fingers. This bar-and-pattern chord setup can travel absolutely anywhere on the neck of your guitar so you can play any chord in any key with ease.

Lets take a look at some of the most common Barre Chord Patterns:

With these simple patterns, you can navigate your fretboard with ease. You’ll also start to notice many of these chord patterns throughout your favourite songs – from rock ‘n roll to folk, heavy metal and even pop music. Barre chords are super simple to remember, and even easier to remember. The key to a great barre chord is your guitar foundation – the base elements such as your ability to hold the guitar properly, sustain and healthy posture, use your fretting and picking hands in unison along with basic techniques like hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, clear articulation of each note on the fretboard and a running knowledge of chords, scales and the common patterns and positions that make up the neck of your guitar.

You’ll soon start to notice that many of these patterns feature in your favourite songs, whether they’re played as a full chord or even picked by the fingers to great dramatic effect.

How To Play Power Chords

You would have noticed the power chord played at the end of each set of barre chord positions from the E and A string respectively. Power chords are featured heavily in rock, blues, metal and pop – and really do add a punch and kick to your tone when an open or fully strummed chord might not fit. You can play power chords in various ways, either with your middle finger as a bar over the two higher notes, just two notes at the first and fifth of the chord, or the way that I’ve demonstrated the power chords using three fingers for added dexterity and freedom in your playing. When it comes to rock, the power chord really is king!

The coolest thing about power chords is that they can be play as just two or three notes absolutely anywhere on your guitar, and there really is no tricky finger positions to remember. Have you ever learned a Metallica or Nirvana song on the guitar before? That’s right, they’re mostly power chords – from Master of Puppets right through to many Soundgarden and Foo Fighters songs, the power chord is featured heavily and really helps create the powerful sound many of these heavier and rockin’ bands are known for.

When you have access to the same simple and effective keys to guitar freedom enjoyed by your favourite guitarists and the Pros, guitar playing truly becomes a joy and your progress will be astounding! The best thing I ever did was take charge of my own guitar playing by setting up a good foundation of great technique and helpful tools like barre chords and fundamentals of guitar playing.

If you have any questions about learning how to play guitar barre chords, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!