A Lesson For All Beginners and Struggling Guitar Players: Barrechords and Two Minor Chordshapes You Should Know






Today I will introduce you to two OPEN MINORCHORDS most of you will already know.
Here are the two chords:

             Am     Em

      E  —0——-0——————

      B  —1——-0——————

      G  —2——-0——————

      D  —2——-2——————

      A  —0——-2——————-

      E  ————0——————-

Okay, now what you can do with these chordshapes is to create different chords with the same shape. You can do this by barring your first finger across all the strings.
Before we will try any new chords, play the given chordshapes with the following fingers:

         Am : finger 2 (middle finger) for fret 1 on Bstring, finger 3 (ring finger) for fret 2 on Gstring and finger 4 (pinky) for fret 2 on the Dstring.  When you use this fingering you will notice this fingering is different from what most people tend to use. Notice that your first finger ( index finger) is not used at all. Great!! We will use this finger for the barring. Keep using this fingering anytime when you need to play minor chords which use the Am-shape.

       For Em use this fingering: finger 2 (middle finger) for fret 2 on the Astring, finger 3 (ring finger) for fret 2 on the Dstring. Again observe this fingering is different from what you usually use. Finger 1 is free, free to do all the barring you will need to create different minorchords along the fretboard.

Just another observation before we will create different chords: The Rootnote for the Em chordshape is the open low Estring, the Rootnote for the Am chordshape is the open A string. When you will move your first finger across the fretboard to create barre chords the place where the rootnote is will not change, what will change is the pitch (= the name) of the chord.


What is Barring?

   Good question. It is the act of placing your FIRST finger across the fretboard to play all six strings. Try this, just use only your FIRST finger, place it anywhere on the fretboard: fret 5, fret 2, fret 7, fret 10 ect. Try to create a sequence of numbers which sound good to your ears instead of just playing any random numbers, also try to play with a particular rhythm, so you are actually making music.
This type of excersise will make your first finger stronger, it will be more used to playing barrechords when you get to actually playing real barrechordshapes.

      Let us now use the Am shape, and only the Am shape to play the following chordsequence. I have put the fretnumbers underneath the chords, they indicate where you put your first finger, and also tell you where the Rootnote is on the A-string.


          Bm       Dm     C#m     Em    :]      Play four strums for each chord, all using Am shape
          (2)        (5)      (4)        (7)

      Now play this chordsequence, again using only Am chordshape, while barring your first finger on the frets indicated underneath:


        Fm        Cm       Ebm      Bbm     :]
        (8)         (3)       (6)        (1)

   Okay, getting used to it? Right let us now use the Em shape, and only Em shape for the following sequences:

      Am      F#m        Gm      C       :]
      (5)       (2)          (3)       (8)                             Again, the fretnumbers indicate where 
                                                                             to place your first finger 
                                                                             and it also indicates where the 
                                                                             Rootnote of the chord is.

       Abm    Fm        Bbm      Am      :]
       (4)      (1)         (6)        (5)


         Playing Ideas:

    @  Change the rhythm of the strumming, create a rhythm you like, copy the rhythm of a song you like ect.
This in order to make your strumming less mechanical.

    @  Play songs you already know which use open minor chordshapes with the Am and Em shape, play those songs now with the new barrechordshapes, it will make the chords sound different, as you play the shapes higher on the fretboard.

    @   Start experimenting with mixing different minor chordshapes, play songs where you will be using both the Em and Am shape as barrechords.


    Overal Observation: 

   Try to apply, whatever it is you have learned, for songs and ideas you already play. By doing this will learn so much. You yourself are your own best teacher, as noone really knows what you like best. Music is an individual artform, yes you can learn from others, but you need to experiment with whatever you have been shown and create things yourself. It does take time, sometimes it seems to take forever, but just carry on and do not give up!

Hope you enjoyed some of these ideas, and hope to see you again some time soon!