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Practicing Barre Chords

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This tutorial provides a way of systematically practicing all the basic barre chord shapes. This tutorial assumes you know the four basic shapes: E major, E minor, A major, and A minor. Once you know and can play those four shaped barre chords in any fretboard position (rooted on any given fret) it is time to learn to move them around the fretboard. It is time to practicing switching back and forth between them in order to practice using them as you would when playing them in a piece of music.

First we will practice moving one shape, the E major shaped barre chord, down and up the fretboard. In the video I explain and show that it is important to keep your fretting hand in essentially the same shape, in this case the E major barre chord shape, while sliding it down and up the neck.

Start at the fifth fret, forming an A major barre chord. Play the chord, then slightly release pressure of your thumb and your fingers. But still maintain the same shape or finger and hand placement. Keep your hands, fingers, thumb in contact with the strings and neck. Slide your hand, fingers and thumb down the neck, keeping the same overall placement and alignment to the strings. When you have moved down two frets (with your index finger barring the third fret), then resume applying pressure on the strings with your fingers and thumb.

Think of your hand as a movable vice that you can use to slide up and down the fretboard to clamp an E major shaped barre chord in any position that you need.

Next try moving the shape up from the fifth fret A major to a seventh fret B major chord. Get used to moving them back and forth from A major to G major, then back to A major; follow that by going up to B major and then back again to A major.

Repeat as necessary in order to get comfortable and confident with this physical process. When you can do it properly, then try moving the other shapes up and down the fretboard. Try the E minor shaped barre chords, then the A major shaped barre chords, then the A minor shaped barre chords. Keep at it until you can manage them all, because you will need to be able to do them in even time with music very soon!

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Practicing Barre Chords