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How to Play Guitar: The Bar Chord

by DamienR (follow)
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Guitar (12)      Music (8)     
The bar chord is a full sounding, fairly complex chord used in all types of music. Sometimes the power chord - a simpler, and grittier version of the bar chord - is used in the bar chord's stead, but if you want that full sound, nothing else will do.

The term bar chord is a bit of misnomer because there are many different types of bar chords. Any chord where you use one finger to hold down multiple string on the same fret is a bar chord, however, there is one chord used far more often than any other. It is this chord, which will be illustrated in this lesson, which is most often called upon when a bar chord is talked about. It is known as the bar chord.

Time: This lesson will take about five minutes to complete. If this is your first time doing a bar chord, then a lot of practice will be required to gain the strength in your fret board hand before the chord feels comfortable.

A Guitar


Like power chords, bar chords can be done on any fret. To get used to the fingering, strength and flexibility required, this lesson will have you higher on the fret board, where the frets are closer together. The higher positions on the fret board require less strength and flexibility which means it’s a great place to start learning bar chords.

Bar chords take all five fingers. Place your index on the 7th fret on the low E string. Now place your ring finger on 9th fret on the A string and your pinky finger on the same fret but on the G string. Now place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the D string. To finish the chord off, lay your index finger flat against the fret board so it is still holding down the low E string but it is also now holding the B and high E strings down on the seventh fret. Your index finger is barring all the strings on the seventh fret, which is where the term bar comes from.

Guitar bar chord
Chord chart for bar chords

Guitar bar chord
Here is the bar chord finger formation

There are all kinds of great ways to use bar chords. Here is an example of a picking rhythm used Bruno Mars during a live acoustic performance of The Lazy Song.

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