7.2 Introduction To Barre Chords

Andy | September 1, 2015 | 6 Comments

An introduction to Bar (or Barre) Chords

So what is a bar chord? We’ve all heard people talking about them, well here is a definition:

It is a type of guitar chord, where one or more fingers are used to press down multiple strings across the guitar fingerboard (like a bar pressing down the strings), enabling the guitarist to play a chord not restricted by the tones of the guitar’s open strings.

Barre chords are often referred to as “moveable” chords, as the whole hand may easily be moved up and down the neck. In other words, there are no open strings being played.

As you learn more and more songs, you will learn more chords (and there are hundreds of them) some of which have marvelous names and sound and can be difficult to play – Gb major9 for example

What a chord is called is based on several factors such as the scale and the notes played (we’ll save this for another time) but what we do know, is that it is easy to impress someone by saying you have just taken up the guitar and today learnt how to play a Gm11. That’s right…..a Gm11!

(The full name is actually Gm11 over C)!!! This comprises these notes: (from low E string to top E string) G, C, F, Bb, D and G. An this can be applied to this chord shape anywhere on the neck, using the low E string note as the naming convention and the A string as the “over” part. In this case, Fm11/Bb on the 1st fret and the F#m11/B on the 2nd fret.

The majority of people have heard of the A, B, C, D, E, F and G chords and, probably the terms major, minor and probably sevenths. But an 11th over another chord?

So, courtesy of GuitarCoach Mag, we are going to show you how to play Fminor 11/Bb, F#minor11/B and Gminor11/C (the “/” represents “over.”

And here are the tabs.

As an aside, you can also play all the open strings together i.e. E,A,D,G,B and E to create the Em11/A chord. Now practice these chords to help you strengthening your fingers for when you start playing barre chords. Although a bit of fun and digression, this is all useful stuff for when you start to learn barre chords.

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Comments (6)

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  1. john picker says:

    I partly agree however i think its good practice to encourage strengthening the left hand with reference to bar chords early.Its very difficult to achieve otherwise and could be frustrating later on. Personally i would leave this insight in

  2. Robin Haynes says:

    I agree. If you’re going to introduce bar(re) chords in this first series, I certainly wouldn’t confuse the issue with all the talk about altered chords. The concept of bar chords is pretty simple: you move the open chord shape up the neck and use your finger as a way of “moving” the nut up the neck. I’d keep it pretty simple at this point.

  3. Gary Stout says:

    In fifth paragraph, text says “An this can be applied” should probably read “And this can be applied”

    This jump into more advanced chords will probably lose most beginners. You’ve shown, thus far, a couple major and minor chords without even explaining what makes a minor different from a major. Covering extended chords and inversions without basic theory will be intimidating. With the preceding videos and lessons you given a beginner hope that learning guitar will be fun and it’s something they can do. Overwhelming them with this, at this point, could make them think ‘I’ll never be able to learn all of that, so why bother.’ Don’t lose them this soon, you’ve just hooked them and gained their trust.

  4. Brian Armstrong says:

    Good idea going forward but got a bit lost trying to understand additional chords.

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