Putting barre chords into practice

Knowing which chords belong to which keys and how to play them in various barre forms (i.e. the CAGED system), and as part of standard progressions, is a game changer for  guitarists; it firmly moves players from beginner levels into intermediate. The ‘barre’ opens up the fretboard but couple it to knowing chords in a key and this makes most songs accessible, enables easier transposition and jamming – it’s a must-know technique/know-how!



This lesson assumes you have already started playing barre chords and looks at the practicalities of playing them all all over the neck in different keys – it’a pretty much theory free zone! We’ll look at:

  • E and A shape major, dominant, maj7, minor and min7 barre chords (and maybe a few others such as maj7).
  • A quick revision of how best to play barres and how you find them on the neck.
  • Diatonic chords are chords you find in a major key i.e. if you’re playing a song and you know its key then diatonic chords are the ones you’ll likely be using.

Know your different shapes, where to find them and what they’re likely to be in a song then you’re free of music sheets and you can jam.

One other key advantage of this jamming element is that you can transpose keys – no rushing to drag that capo out and put it on the 10th fret!

What you get:

  • 2 page chord prep sheet
  • 1 x 90min online lesson
  • 11 page lesson PDF
  • 14 x video examples
  • 3 x backing tracks
  • Guitar neck reference sheet
  • CAGED system reference sheet

Course suitability

This lesson is ideal for anyone who has:

  • Just started to tackle the barre chord  and wants to go up to the next level.
  • Already been playing barre chords for a while but still struggles to see ho wthey can be used to their full potential in songs and when playing with others.

If you can understand the basic principles of chords in a key and it’s the same ‘formula’ regardless of key then you’ll be tacking all genres and styles of music.

Important – part of the process is learning the notes on the bottom  two strings i.e. low E and A. Although not formally part of this lesson we might touch upon the CAGED system – it really helps to crystalise how the shapes fit into positions on the neck and how they overlap with and relate to each other.

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: intermediate and above on this lesson (acoustic or electric). You should have at least started to play barre chords. If you’re still trying to get into barre chords then you’ll still get tons from this lesson.


What’s included for each lesson?

Comprehensive lesson PDF and supporting videos taken in-lesson.


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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