Master the barre chord

Knowing how to form barre chords and change between them is a game changer for  guitarists; it firmly moves players from beginner levels into intermediate. The ‘barre’ opens up the fretboard, makes most songs accessible, enables easier transposition and jamming – it’s a must-know technique/know-how!



The barre chord is a wondrous device to employ on the guitar. It  quite literally opens up the neck and makes hitherto difficult pieces more accessible.

The full barre is a movable nut/capo made using your first finger but there are also partial barres. In order to make a barre chord there are a number of techniques to take on board:

  • How to make the clamp between 1st finger and thumb.
  • Developing hand strength to make the clamp and dexterity to play fretted notes cleanly.
  • Learning the root notes of various barre chord forms i.e. mostly the low E and A strings.

Is it worth the struggle? Yes! You’ll be able to:

  • Play many, many more songs.
  • Transpose without resorting to a capo.
  • Jam along more easily with fellow musicians.

From the outset you’ll have an additional 11 chords for every barre version made with a standard open chord; so with the four basic major, minor, dom7 (7) and min7 shapes you’ll have 48 chords at your disposal. Basically – more bang for buck.

There are a lot of related subjects (e.g. the CAGED system, easy chord theory, etc.) that will not be discussed – we focus strictly on learning how to form and change barre chords correctly (without strain or injury) and applying them to great songs. Lots of playing exercises in this lesson using parts of some great songs e.g. ‘Sittin’ on the dock of the bay‘ and ‘Ain’t no sunshine‘; but this course is not about teaching the songs!

This lesson is ideal for anyone who:

  • Wants to take on the barre chord for the first time (learning to play them correctly from the outset and save yourself lots of wasted time).
  • Has already tried barre chords but struggled to simply play them and make them them sound clean.

Lots of practice is needed to form, change the chord shape with the same barre, find where to position them on the fretboard and move to other barre shapes but they are invaluable for all genres and styles of music.

Best advice – take your guitar to your local guitar shop and ask a technician to give the  guitar a professional set-up (with new strings); it’s amazing the difference to its payability – much easier on the fingers in general and it will make playing barre chords easier and more comfortable!


Level: all are welcome on this lesson (acoustic or electric). You’ll learn the key techniques and know-how intermediate and above.


What’s included for each lesson?

PDFs and some in-lesson recordings as required.


What’s it like on a course?
The bulk of each lesson is obviously the teaching (usually with a minimum number of questions taken along the way) but we dedicate the end slot for Q&A. Being online means that players can elect to either have total privacy with their mic mute and video disabled or switch them on and join in with questions or even work along with the tutor. The lessons, over and above the outlined specific subjects, try to give you the tools for self-improvement.

A quick note about the materials
We’ve always recognised that the real work takes place after a course and that’s why we pay special attention to the materials in order to help with home practice. The earlier you book, the earlier you get access to the core materials.

Course suitability in general
Check out our guide to player levels v course categories. The course is online and materials are provided and so it might still be useful for players who consider themselves below the required standard.

Overall objectives and a reality check
Yes – our courses are there to look at the advertised subject matter but we also like to challenge players and give you great techniques and practical theory/know-how to work on in your own time. Don’t expect to completely nail a whole song or to be able to fully in command of all techniques or understand every bit of practical theory on the course; it’s fantastic if you can but be patient and work diligently through the material at home. Apologies to anyone who hates the use of above split infinitives!

Call us for a chat at any time
Whatever level you are, you’ll have lots of takeaways to work on later. If you’d like to go through the course please call or email.

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