Example Song #1 – Open & Barre Chords in F#m

This track is intended as an exercise for students who have recently been introduced to Barre Chords. Once they are familiar with the shapes this track is a good way of learning how Barre chords can be used in a song. Students will be playing Barre Chords along with the Open Chords they’re already familiar with.

You can remind yourselves of the chord shapes by referring to the Basic Open Chord and the first Basic Barre Chords lessons.


It can also be used as a backing track for solo guitarists. The key is F#m.

Barring 7th Chords

This lesson focuses on Maj, Min and Dom 7th barre chords with roots on the E and A strings. Dim and Aug 7ths will be covered in another lesson, (although in the Open 7th Chords lesson, you will find one barre chord for the Dim7 rooted on the A string), as will roots on other strings.

Compare the following chords to the Major and Minor barre shapes you have already learnt. Seeing the physical difference in what your fretting hand is doing, and noticing what notes are being replaced or altered will help you get a better understanding of music theory in general. It also serves as a good starting point towards altered chord theory as the sound of 7ths is so easily recognized.

The chords in the Open 7th Chords lesson were all diatonic within the scale of C Major. Differently, here we will be examining chord shapes with no real regard to a specific key. You may want to refer back to that lesson to remind yourself where these chords lie within a diatonic scale. You could also try playing the barre open 7th chords you already know as barre chords. It may also be useful to refer back to the first Basic Barre Chords lesson, as some of those shapes are used and altered here.

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Here are some tips to help you fret each chord.
F#Maj7 – There’s 2 ways to fret this chord. The first option assumes you have an especially large thumb, in which case you fret the 2 middle strings with your 2nd and 3rd fingers, then the B string with your 1st finger, using your thumb to fret the root on the E string. Option 2, you use your first finger on the root note, your 2nd finger to get the B string, and your 3rd and 4th fingers on the middle strings. You also need to try and mute the A string, whichever fretting you choose.
F#Min7 – Here you can use your 2nd finger to get the root note on the E string, and your 3rd finger barres the other 3 notes. You can use a combination of both fingers to mute the A string.
F#7 – This is the easiest 7th chord of all. Play the F#Maj barre chord, then simply release whatever finger is fretting the D string. Done.
BMaj7 – Use your first finger to fret the root on the A string, then your 3rd finger to get to the D string. The, use your 2nd finger on the G string, and your 4th finger on the B string. Take care not to play either of the E strings.
BMin7 – This is pretty simple. Play the Bm barre chord that you already know, then raise whatever finger you have f the G string.
B7 – This is also really easy. Play a B barre chord, and raise whatever finger you have on the G string.

Barre Chords 3: Introduction to Triple Stops

     You may already be used to the idea of double stops, where you use a pair of notes as part of a lead section or melody. Technically speaking, power chords are double stops because they don’t contain enough notes to be a proper chord. Triple stops are similarly used in either lead or melody sections, but they don’t usually use their root note as their lowest pitch. You may recognize this idea if you’ve looked into Chord Inversions. Triple stops are regularly employed as the rhythm section for any kind of music which doesn’t require the additional mid-low range of the guitar’s deeper strings – reggae, funk, jazz, etc.

     As before I’ve colour-coded the notes in accordance to what “job” they’re doing. (Root = Red; Perfect 5th = Green; Major 3rd= Light Blue; Minor 3rd= Dark Blue). I’ll give you all of these chords in roughly the same area to begin with.

Shape 1
This will hopefully look familiar by now, it’s the upper-half of the full Maj and Min barre chords. We also looked at these in Barre Chords 2, but they had a root note a it’s base. You should be able to play the Major shape using 2 fingers, and the Minor with only one.

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Shape 2
These are the upper-part of barre chords rooted on the A string. These actually do contain the root note as the deepest pitch.image

Shape 3
You’ll remember these from Barre Chords 2 as well, they’re very similar to the Open D chord shape. The reason I’ve written these chords as Eb is so you can see how they are moveable up and down the neck. If you wanted to play a D triple stop, you only have to move this shape down a fret. If you wanted to play an E, you’d only have to move it up a fret.
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Example Song Exercise.
This example song uses almost all of the chords from above, (except the Eb Minor shape). Bar 1 is a Minor 5, 4, 1 progression in Bm, which you will become familiar with if you play a lot of standard blues songs. Bar 2 is a Major 5, 4, 1 progression in D, (which happens to be the relative Major scale of Bm). Bar 3 starts on the Bm triple stop, then uses the nearest shapes to descent to D Maj at the end of the bar. Bar 4 is a G Major triple stop.
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Barre Chords 2: Root On The D String

There are 2 shapes commonly employed on the D String. I’m only giving you with one shape for each as you should be comfortable, (or getting that way), with the idea of moveable chord shapes. Be aware that these chords are the same collection of notes, but in a slightly different order – This is called a different voicing. Notice that the root note on the D string, 3rd fret, is the same throughout.

The first shape you might recognise from the first barre chord lesson – we’ve lost the notes on the E and A strings. These chords lose some of their low-end “fullness”, but you’ll likely find them easier to play. This lower end can make a chord sound a bit too cluttered, especially when using any amount of distortion, reverb or other such effects. You’ll find these kinds of chords in reggae music, or in soft rock and country, often playing a slightly higher-pitched voicing of chords played on an acoustic guitar, or piano.
The Xs here indicate notes that should not be played. It’s up to you whether you want to simply not play them, or whether you want to mute the strings. Muting will give more of a percussive element to these chords, but will require you to move your barring finger further into the centre of the neck, and perhaps wrapping your thumb around the neck to mute those strings.

If you are familiar with the idea of CAGED chords then the second shape here may look familiar. If not, here’s a brief explanation: The CAGED system is a way of playing multiple voicings of any given chord, and it focuses on the shapes from the open position. You may notice that these chords look very similar to the open D chord shapes, the only difference is that you have to fret the note which would normally be on an open string. Strictly speaking, this shape is not a barre chord because you are not using a finger to barre multiple strings. I’ve included them here for two reasons. Firstly, it will give you alternate voicings for the previous chords. Secondly, (and more importantly), root notes on the G, B and E strings will be covered together in the following lesson.

As before I’ve colour-coded the notes in accordance to what “job” they’re doing. (Root = Red; Perfect 5th = Green; Major 3rd= Light Blue; Minor 3rd= Dark Blue).