E Shape Barre Chord Exercises
Here's where we start having fun
with barre chords. In the exercises below, you are to figure out the barre
chord that needs to be played, and apply them to strumming basic quarter
These are all E Style Barre chords
because they focus on the E Major open pattern, but are simply moved up the
neck. Moving a chord up the neck requires the note to change.
Remember the E Style Barre chord
format, with the image below becoming an F barre chord, due to its placement
on the 1st fret of the guitar:
You can play each exercise below
using the same concept. Notice in the tablature below that all notes are
complimentary to the overall E Style Barre chord pattern.
Here's how the 4 barre chords for
the first exercise are tabbed out, in no particular order:
Without using a metronome, play
each of the four barre chords above at any tempo. Just drill into your head
what each of the barre chord shapes above are.
Remember the note order. We are
playing the chord progression G, A, C, and D. Which one is which above? Do
You should if you remember the note
order. The lowest note is your root, so our first tabbed out exercise above
would be an A barre chord, because the root note is on the fifth fret of
the Low E string. This also happens to be the lowest note. That being said,
the order above is as follows:
- Barre Chord 1 = A Major Barre
Chord (lowest root note on Low E = A)
- Barre Chord 2 = B Major Barre
Chord (lowest root note on Low E = B)
- Barre Chord 3 = C Major Barre
Chord (lowest root note on Low E = C)
- Barre Chord 4 = D Major Barre
Chord (lowest root note on Low E = D)
That should make sense considering
we've just learned the Primary notes on the guitar.
This one is just a variation of
the exercise above using quarter notes. Notice that the pattern is still
Not only can we play an E chord
in the open position, but we can also play an E chord at the 12th fret, like
this (we've included the dot inlay on the 12th fret):
As you can see, we'll be moving
down the fretboard this time. Consider it descending.
Now we'll introduce the minor version
of the E style barre chord. It's quite similiar to E major (you basically
just take a finger away and rearrange your fingers). Here's what it looks
This looks quite similiar to a power
chord. The good news is that if you can play a barre chord, you can most
definitely play a power chord. Power chords are much easier since you don't
use all strings.
Note: Textbooks will show that you
play the minor version of a barre chord the way seen above, but I want to
include how I would play this barre chord. I completely DISAGREE with what
you see in various books and what instructors teach you. The original placement
just doesn't make any sense. If you remember, the Major barre chord is fingered
(with your 1st finger) as this:
So....Why not stick with the overall
format using the finger placement above? I am including how other books show
you to finger the following barre chords for all exercises from here on out,
but I think you'll find my way the easiest.
Let's take a look at a more logical
Do you see any real difference between
these two barre chords?
Only a subtle one. The major (the
first image above) shows your 2nd finger played on the G string on the second
fret, where the minor version doesn't show the second fret being played on
the G string. It shows it as a barre from your 1st finger. Um...then why
in the world would teachers try to confuse you like this?
Simply LIFT UP your 2nd finger.
Bam! You've just created the minor version without having to re-adjust your
finger placement. Pretty easy now, right? That technically means that once
you learn your E Major barre chord style, removing this added note creates
a minor (at least in the E style barre chord) so you've leared two barre
chords for the price of one.
(There are more of these further
down the page)
Note: The following two supplemental
exercises are the same. Why?
Because F# is the same as Gb. G#
is the same as Ab.
It wasn't my intention to trick
you, but I always like to note when a chord might LOOK different when it
really isn't. Remember that secondary notes have 'dual' names.
Even MORE Exercises
These exercises weren't on the DVD
due to space restraint, but they are great practice. Each added exercise
will offer alternate finger placement options as explained above. (when needed)
Added Exercise 5
The minor 7th version of the E style
barre chord is another popular variation. It looks like this:
You are basically omitting every
note except the 1st finger barre (on all strings) and the new note, which
appears above. Again, just because the Em7 in open position can be fingered
this way, remember to take everything you've learned about the E Style barre
chord and apply it here. You'll then add another series of barre chords learned
to your arsenal!
Same situation as the E Major Style
Barre chord, with the 2nd and 4th finger omitted. If you've barred your 1st
finger (or thumb) correctly, those notes will ring as they should.
Added Exercise 6
And finally here is the dominant
7th version of the E style barre chord:
Now, here's where the books start
making sense again. This is technically the same as the E Major barre chord
style, without the added 4th finger on the D string. Ahh...Eureka!
Added Exercise 7
Sharps and flats (# & b) can
be confusing as they have dual names, but they mean the same thing. Why is
this? Since the guitar was created with the piano in mind, we still have
to assign notes based on Western Music.
In other words, the # & the
b is interchangeable.
What did you notice about the example
Did you see that you played the
tenth fret twice? Good. Just checking to make sure you were paying attention.
It's easy to get lost in strumming, especially when you are planning on a
new chord. This time, there's no change on the second and third measures
Now let's get really tricky!
Added Exercise 8
Pay special attention! The major
chords are mixed with minors, minor 7th, and 7th chords now.
Added Exercise 9
Added Exercise 10
How did you do?
I neglected to mention ONE VERY
IMPORTANT thing on the DVD, and I apologize for this. Here it is:
When you use your thumb, it obviously
isn't possible to barre all six strings with it, so for whatever your thumb
won't reach, simply use your 1st finger instead. This is usually only applied
to the high E string and sometimes the B string, so I think you'll be able
to figure out how to barre it by just looking at what notes you can't barre
with your thumb.
Here are a few samples using the
As you can see, there isn't MUCH
of a change, but there is one.