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Barre chords and aha moments


Roger Bostwick
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In studying barre chord shapes, I came to one of Jonathan’s Aha moments. Upon looking at the relationship between the chord shapes and the E and A strings being barred ( 6 and 5 strings respectively), I came to a realization. I’ve attached chord shapes for the A, Am, B, Bm chords. I’m curious to see if you all see the same thing that I see.46354465-750B-466F-9BBD-8BDF1089838F.thumb.png.f43ceff8c141e921451b251055205184.png35EC02C3-343A-4785-B117-7151A163227B.thumb.png.46f26af950b933406fdebd1fe8066df5.png7BA729A4-0484-46BC-8CAE-799FDFF9E53D.thumb.png.8e69ec5edf6af412b083caaf0f1f3bc2.pngAEA91CCA-5501-4AAA-B7E5-E93BF479C180.thumb.png.a775eddd9dfb67b7a404a9b333d38a5e.png

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So, you may or may not notice that the chords being barred across all 6 strings ending on the low E string (major or minor) are played in the open E or Em shape beginning above the barre which has now become the nut, and thus makes the chord moveable in the same shape. A and Am are thus barred across all 6 strings at the 5th fret. The same applies to chords being barred across 5 strings ending at the A string, only these chords are played in the open A shape. Thus a B and Bm are barred across 5 strings ending at the 2nd fret of the A string.

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After much practice, I have found these barre chords becoming second nature and much easier to move along the neck on my Tele. They are far more challenging on an acoustic. I had the most trouble with the A major shape, but found a personal solution for me by, in essence, playing a double barre by barring across five strings with my index finger with the root note on the A string and using my ring finger, which for me is flexible at the first joint, to barre across the D, G, and B strings.

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  • 4 months later...

I have now mastered the barre chord shapes in the C A G E D positions, which expands my mastery of the fretboard, pentatonic scales, and arpeggios in each of these positions. It’s now a matter of working on chord changes in the different major and minor keys and adding new licks to my repertoire.

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