Barre or Open Chords

Registered User
Joined: 09/07/19
Posts: 17

I am currently working on a song that has F to Fminor chord progression which I play with both chords as barre chords. The song also contains repeating F to G chords which I am currently playing as open chords, but experimented playing both as barre chords as well.

This got me thinking, is there some logic as to when to play barre chords vs open chords, or does it just come down to what sounds best to me in the context of the song?

# 1
Guitar Tricks Admin
Full Access
Joined: 09/28/05
Posts: 3,274

Hi there,

Choosing to play a barre or non barre chord is up to how the song is intended to be played. Some songs call for it, some don't. It's also totally okay to adjust your chords when learning a song as well, give your own spin on it.

Sometimes, as a beginner guitar player, barre chords can be tough to play on a song, so it's also okay to play a non-barre version just to get some fingers down.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us.
# 2
Carl King
GuitarTricks Video Director
Joined: 10/08/07
Posts: 466

Hey Nick!

Barre chords have a few uses:

1. If you are playing with another guitarist, and they are playing open chords, you can play those same named chords as barre chords in a different position / inversion higher on the neck to change up the sound. That way, you're not both playing exactly the same thing. It adds some extra color and variety. Anders covers this in his Acoustic course.

2. Barre chords can help you play in different keys quickly, since your index finger is working as a capo. If you're playing a song with G and C barre chords in 3rd position (let's assume key of G), and you want to move everything up to key of A (A and D chords), you just play the same shapes at the 5th fret. If you tried to do the same thing with open chords it would be all different chord shapes. That's why learning those basic barre chord shapes on 6th and 5th string are so handy, especially for rock music...

3. Barring also simply gives you bigger chords, since you can hold down more strings at once. 6 strings and only 4 fingers...

Hope that helps!


Carl King[br]GuitarTricks Video Director / Producer

# 3
Registered User
Joined: 09/07/19
Posts: 17

Thanks for the feedback. It all makes sense and I guess it's like a lot of things with guitar, if it sounds good to me, then it is good!

# 4
Full Access
Joined: 04/17/13
Posts: 684

Barr chords... the original capo

Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 5