Dansm's Beginner's Guide to Chords

What Are Barre Chords?

Barre chords are an integral part of playing guitar. Probably 80% of all chords are barre chords in various forms. A barre chord is formed when you use your index finger to fret all the strings at one fret, then add other fingers to form a chord. This use of the index finger is called a "barre." Once you have barred the strings, that fret, in effect, becomes the "nut," and any chord you build on top of the barre regards that fret as the nut. Take a look at an example:



As you can see, the barred second fret in the right image simply has an E chord built onto it, forming an F# chord. In other words, an F# chord is simply an E chord with the nut at the second fret. These chords are called E-derived barre chords because they are formed similarly to E chords. There are also A-derived barre chords, which are formed similarly to A chords. Both of these are covered in my guide to barre chords. I hope this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.
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1997 Daniel E. Smith. Last updated 12-20-97