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!