Tag Archives for " Bar Chords "

“I HATE Bar Chords :(“

pulling-out-hairEvery now and then I hang out on various forums online, just to get a feel for what people are talking about in the guitar world.

Well, this past week, one post I watched with interest was titled “I HATE bar chords 🙁

That was it – there wasn’t really anything more than the title, and yet it was interesting to watch what other “advice” people offered.

One of the themes went along these lines – if you hate bar chords so much, then don’t play them. After all, you should only do what makes you happy, and if playing bar chords makes you unhappy, then don’t do it.

Well… where should I start?

First off… if we actually LIVED by that advice, do you think anyone with a sweet tooth (like me) would ever eat another chunk of broccoli in their life? I wouldn’t lol.

There are all kinds of other things in life that require short term “pain” in exchange for long term gain.

Yeah, I know, it’s a bit cliché, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

The other thing that is very true is that initially there’s a bit of “pain” in learning bar chords. You’ll have to work your fingers in new directions they’re not used to, so that’s to be expected.

But…. and here’s the cool part…

Once you’ve learned bar chords, the world is your oyster.

  • No longer are certain keys or songs outside your capability to play.
  • No longer are key changes an issue.
  • No longer is your playing limited to simple sounding open chords.
  • No longer will all your chords and songs have to sound the same…

Bar chords bring freedom to explore the rest of the fretboard, and get a lot of new sounds out of your guitar than the bottom four frets can offer.

That’s why every player should make the effort to learn bar chords – it really is that important.

Plus – if you learn bar chords the way I teach, there’s not even much pain involved. I’ll give you tips ‘n tricks and strategies to minimize the pain as much as possible, all while learning new chords and building finger strength.

Check it out – Bar Chords Made Simple.

So you’ve got your open chords down… what’s next?

ferrari-vs-beetleAll guitar beginners progress at different paces – no different than how kids develop. I was walking at ten months (which is early), but apparently it took Einstein until four years old before he spoke his first word (late).

I’ve seen some guys tear right into learning to play guitar, and blow past seasoned players like a Ferrari past a Volkswagen Beetle.

But its more common to see players take the minivan route, stopping all over town while running errands… picking up skills and tidbits wherever they can find them.

Point is, players often start with their open chords, learn a few songs, maybe even learn the pentatonic scale…

Things like that.

One of the very next skills that really needs to be added to that bag of tricks is bar chords. Bar chords are often bypassed initially, because they do require more finger strength to play. However, there’s a HUGE benefit to being able to play bar chords, because they effectively allow you to play pretty well any song you’d like, in ANY KEY.

Once you know a few bar chord shapes, the sky is the limit.

You’re no longer held back from playing songs that include a chord or two outside of your vocabulary.

And if the band wants to change the key of the song?

No problem, you can follow right along, shifting all the chords into another key easy peasy.

If you’ve never taken the plunge on bar chords before, I really do encourage you to do so.

I’ve made it easy for you with my Bar Chords Made Simple course.


Shortcut to Playing The Blues

Here’s another lesson from Colin Daniel (from RiffNinja.com), this one is a shortcut to playing the blues. Basically, you’ll learn two bar chord shapes which are used particularly frequently in the blues. Those are the “7” chords. The two shapes are based on an E7, and an A7.

If you want to learn more about bar chords, I recommend checking out my course Bar Chords Made Simple.

In this short lesson, you’ll also learn a little about the 12 bar blues, and how you can transpose this 1,4,5 progression into other keys. That’s a super helpful concept to wrap your mind around.

Remember, if you have any questions, please ask them in the comments area below.

Also, the scale that Colin is noodling around in is the pentatonic minor scale.

Watch on Youtube

1 Learn how to play bar chords

Bar Chords Made Simple

Bar chords is one subject that stumps quite a few guitar players, mostly because initially they are harder to play than open chords.

A bar chord (sometimes also spelled barre chord) is called that because you essentially create a ‘bar’ with your index finger, fretting all six strings at once. Then, you create the chord shape after that with your remaining fingers. Naturally, this type of chord is going to require more finger strength, because you’re physically pressing down more strings than with open chords.

The fact that bar chords require a bit more strength to play however, should not be a deterrent. It should simply be a good healthy challenge to take your playing up a notch. Let me explain why.

Being able to play bar chords adds so much versatility to a guitar player. With bar chords in the bag, there are no limitations to which key you can play in, which chords you can use… everything becomes roughly equal. An Eb bar chord is just like playing an E, a Bb like a B.

For lead players, bar chords allow you to play along with the rhythm in a tight grouping close to where you’ll be soloing, allowing quicker and easier access to the scales you want.

For rhythm players jamming with others, bar chords allow you to play the same thing as the other players, and yet sound different. An open G sounds quite a bit different from a G played elsewhere on the fretboard, and the two played simultaneously sounds great. They really complement each other. So if you’re able to throw in the odd bar chord here and there, or even play your entire part using them, you’ll really be adding a new flavor to the song.

Because I’ve seen quite a few guitar players struggling to learn bar chords in particular, I decided to make a proper guitar lesson focusing on exactly that subject. The result is Bar Chords Made Simple, my newest 2 hour guitar lesson. At that link you’ll find a free guide that explains in detail how you can get started with your first bar chord.

Learn how to play bar chords

Who Should Learn Bar Chords?

This course is aimed at guitar players who have at least a minimum level of experience in playing open chords. If you’re comfortable playing chords like G, C, D, E, Am, Em, etc, then you’re ready for this course as a next step.

Likewise, perhaps you’ve played guitar for quite a while, but for whatever reason you’ve just never got around to mastering bar chords… if that is the case, then this course is also for you.

You’ll get a good, although brief, introduction to the fretboard, so this is a useful course for those who want to move on to soloing later on.

If you’ve ever attempted to learn bar chords before, and yet never quite managed to master them, then this course is for you. I’ve included a few “cheater” ways of getting part-way there without having to go all the way; nice half-way steps to get started with. I’ve also included finger exercises that will really build up your finger strength, stamina, and stretchability. (Sorry, I just had to throw another ‘s’ in there).

In Bar Chords Made Simple we’ll go through from the ground up, assuming nothing, so you’ll have a systematic approach to the fretboard and guitar chords that will serve you well, forming a great foundation for future studies.

Click Here To Get Started


Playing Bar Chords on an Acoustic Guitar?

It seems as though there’s a widespread myth out there that the acoustic guitar is a completely different instrument than the electric guitar, and that subsequently, you can’t play things on an acoustic guitar that you can play on an electric guitar.

Well, for the most part, that’s a load of hooey.

The fact is, the electric and acoustic guitars are very much the same, and pretty much everything you can play on an electric guitar you can play on a properly setup acoustic guitar.

I’m not talking about tone; there are obvious differences between the tone you can get out of an electric versus an acoustic. In that regard, they are indeed quite different instruments.

But I am talking about things like playing bar chords, scales, riffs, being able to solo; pretty much any of that stuff is 100% playable on the acoustic guitar as well as the electric guitar.

As I mentioned earlier, the key is in having a properly setup guitar. This video will talk about one of the biggest issues that people run into with acoustic guitars – the action is too high, making it incredibly hard to play certain types of chords.

Guitar setup is an important thing – not to be overlooked. The better your guitar plays, the more likely you are to play, and the more you’ll enjoy playing, all of which are good things!

Video Problems? Watch it on Youtube.

What IS Guitar Theory?

Guitar TheoryIf you’ve been on my email newsletter for any amount of time, or if you’ve been hanging around Guitar Tips Weekly very much, you’ve probably heard me talking about guitar theory at some point or other.

So what IS guitar theory, and how in the world is it going to help us become better guitar players?

After all, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do right? Very few people are interested in learning theory for theory’s sake – certainly not me! However, if learning guitar theory can have a practical application, and if it can help me become a more versatile guitar player, than that is something I want to pursue.

How To Apply Guitar Theory To Your Playing

In this video I’ve give you a very brief introduction to HOW theory can be applied to the guitar. I used the A Major diatonic scale pattern as a starting point, and then showed how you can give each note in the scale a number. Each number then becomes the root note for a chord in that key, and by using bar chords, we can relate chords directly to each note in that scale.

So hopefully you can see that very quickly we can build from a simple scale to finding all the relevant chords in a given key, as well as all the notes we’ll need for soloing! The further you dig into guitar theory, the more you begin to see how it all fits together in a very logical manner. Most importantly, by understanding guitar theory, you can apply it ‘on the fly’ while you’re playing!

In the video I also mention my Unlocking the Guitar combo pack, which includes both my Unlocking I IV V course and my Guitar Scale Patterns course. Going through those lessons will give you a very good foundation in guitar theory, and they’re packed with useful examples and ways that you can begin using these concepts in your playing.

Video Problems? Watch the Guitar Theory Introduction on Youtube.