E Form Barre Chords


Here are the E-form family of barre chords. They all come from the open E chords and they are probably the most popular of the barre chords, mainly because they use all six strings and therefore it's easier to strum through them, as you don't have to worry about avoiding any strings. You'll see and hear in the videos how you'll need to readjust your hand to accommodate the barre, which is done with the index finger extended across all six strings, represented by the red bar in the diagrams below. You'll also see that as you move higher up the neck, it gets more difficult to play barre chords as the frets get closer and closer together. On acoustic guitars, your hand will also wind up against the body of the guitar, so you will find that you can't go much further than the 9th or 10th fret. That's OK, though, because any given chord can be found in many positions on a guitar.

After a while, you begin to know where the best positions are. In the videos above I play through the chords in a variety of ways, strumming some, picking through others. The diagrams below show the 4 main flavors. Imagine them anywhere on the neck. You will see which are which in the videos above. Don't worry too much about remembering every last name, that will all come with time, but I recommend you start by locking in the E, F, G, A, B, C and D chords first, the sharp/flats will slot into place soon enough. If you get confused, just remember that chords, like notes, are named alphabetically from low to high.

Use the fretboard markers to help you remember where each one is positioned. Trust them, they will never move, and every guitar has the same set of markers. They will, in time, become your best friends.

E-form - Major: The most common major barre chord, based on the open E shape. You'll need to extend the index finger across all six strings to reach the bass note on the thickest string. The bass note names the chord, so make sure you know the names of the notes on the bass string. That's easy: they start at the open E and go up alphabetically from there, with sharp/flats between all but E-F and B-C. You can see that the two treble strings and the bass string are held down by the index, so you need to apply pressure at each end.

E-form - 7th: This E7 shape marches up the neck just like the E shape. That orange note is another flat 7, which is the note that makes the chord a 'seventh'. You can either play it with your pinkie or leave it out; either way, it's the same chord. In the video, I add it to the shape here and there so you can see how it's done and hear how it sounds. Once again, the bass note names the chord. You might find this one a little more difficult to get a nice sound as the index fingers needs to get that 7th note on the 4th string ringing nicely, so a little more pressure is needed.

E-form - minor: The most common and fullest minor barre chord you can play on a guitar is based on the open Em shape. Here the third string becomes a barre note, so, once again, you'll find that the index finger needs more pressure to get those four notes ringing properly. You'll see in the video how my middle finger moves over to the top of the index and helps out by adding more pressure. The bass note names the chord once again. The beauty of the guitar is that once you learn one E form barre chord flavor, you've learned the positions of the other three flavors since they all have the same bass note.

E-form - minor 7th: This is the 7th version of the E minor form. In this case, you will need to get five of the six strings ringing out under the index finger. Once again, that orange note is an optional extra flat 7 ... play it or leave it out, or alternate between the two when strumming. Either way, it's still a minor 7th chord, just a different 'voicing'. Use the pinkie to grab it if you do want it in there. In the video, I throw it in here and there as I move up the neck. Listen to the difference in sound.


The A form barre chords →