Barre chords are chords which use your first finger of your fretting hand placed all across the fretboard, holding down all six strings.
Barre chords are often moveable which simply means you can play the same chord shape to create different chords. It is possible to play a whole song by using the same barre shape, all depending on the chord sequence of the song.
Most beginners will start off by learning to play open chords, since they tend to be easier. Once they will start using barre chords they may experience some trouble getting all those six strings to sound clear. Most beginners do not realise that you do not need to play all those six, guitar players will use often only four strings out of a six string barre chord, it all depends on the sound you want.
For this article I will give you one useful barre shape: It is the shape which forms the open E-chord. This shape can be used for moving chords up and down the fretboard. Here is the E barre shape starting at the fifth fret creating a A chord:
Look at how you leave out the top E and B string, you do not play them at all! The chord gets its name from the Root note which is found on the low E string at the fifth fret. Move the whole chord shape where the low E becomes an open string. The A and D string will both be fingered at fret two and the G string is fretted at the first fret. Recognize the E shape now? This is where the barre chord gets its name from!
Okay, now move the chord shape back to fret five and use four fingers to play the chord, no need to barre with your first finger. Your first finger in used to play fifth fret on the E, use your other three fingers to play the rest of the remaining three fretted strings. Once you have the chord underneath your fingers ( you may have to move your wrist a little to get the chord to sound clean) start moving the shape up and down the fretboard to create different sounds. Remember the low E string is where the chord gets its name from. This exercise is also great for learning your E string all across the fretboard.
Be patient at first, your main goal is to get the chord to sound clear and clean while you move up and down the fretboard. No need to rush things as you will master this shape in time, just relax and enjoy the different sounds you can now create with this new chord shape.
Happy playing and hope to catch you soon again for more.