The cool thing about barre chords is that you can move them up and down the guitar neck to create new chords of the same type, e.g. you can play any major chord, using only one chord form, by simply moving it up the neck by the required number of frets. This post will give graphical representations of these “chord forms” and explain the simple methods used to move these shapes to the right fret. From there, a few practice sessions will have you able to play any barre chord without needing to look it up! :)


I should point out that – unlike my other posts – this post will not necessarily offer you tips on getting them to sound right and dealing with beginner difficulties. Not to worry though, I’ve written lots of posts like that! This post has my complete guide to playing barre chords and will have you sounding great in no time! :D This post you’re reading, however, will serve as a graphical reference that will pretty much act as a “dictionary” – of sorts – off all the possible barre chords – while explaining how to figure them out on your own. Let’s begin! :)


Preliminary Explanation (necessary)


There are two main “families” of barre chords – E- and A-based. They get their names because they work on the principle of changing the key of the open E and A chords – thus changing the name as well. A good way to explain this is the use of a capo.


A capo is a small device that guitarists use to clamp down all the strings of a chosen fret – thus shortening the vibrating length and increasing the pitch. If, for example, you put a capo on the first fret, any chord you play in front of it would be increased in pitch by a half-step. Consider the example below.


|–C———————————————————–| – e


|–C———————————————————–| – B


|–C——-I————————————————–| – G


|–C——————-R————————————–| – D


|–C——————-M————————————–| – A


|–C———————————————————–| – E


1st Fret   2nd Fret   3rd Fret   4th Fret   5th Fret    6th Fret


C = Capo, I = index finger, M = middle finger, R = ring finger


The above diagram shows a chord form that should be familiar – the E major chord. The only difference is that it’s being played one fret higher and in front of a capo. This raises the key by one half-step (as I mentioned earlier) – making this an F Major Chord! You can play an F Major Chord the same way by using your index finger as a “capo” and playing the remaining notes with your middle, ring, and pinky fingers- respectively. This is the principle of how barre chords work – changing the key of an open chord you already know by moving it up the neck and putting a barre in front of it! :)


Now, I’ll show you how to work out what chord you’re playing when you “change the key” as I said before. Chords are named after their root note and musical notes go in a cycle as follows :


A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, and back to A again.


# = sharp and b = flat – Note that one chord’s sharp is equivalent to the next chord’s flat. Also note that there’s no B sharp (and therefore no C flat) and no E sharp (so no F flat). Hopefully, you can look at that and see how I got an F Major barre chord by moving it up by one fret! :)


Now, I mentioned earlier that barre chords are based of either E- and A- open chords. For that reason, I’ll illustrate a chart of all the main variants of both chords – in open chord format. After that, I’ll gives some graphic examples of moving them up the neck to create new chords.


Major Barre Chords Chart


I already illustrated the Open E Chord earlier. Here’s how you would play an F# Chord as a barre.


|———-I—————————————————| – e


|———-I—————————————————| – B


|———-I———–M————————————–| – G


|———-I———————-P—————————| – D


|———-I———————-R—————————| – A


|———-I—————————————————| – E


1st Fret   2nd Fret   3rd Fret   4th Fret   5th Fret    6th Fret


I = index finger, M = middle finger, R = ring finger, P = pinky finger


If you look properly at this diagram you’ll see that it resembles the diagram I used earlier. You simply substitute your index finger for the capo and move the entire chord shape up by one fret – thus barring the second fret. This changes the key, again, making this an F# (Major) chord – following the same musical note pattern I showed.


Hopefully, you get the idea now so I’ll just illustrate the other possibilities – with minimal explanation – and leave you to figure them out! :)


Starting with the other E-based Chords :


Minor Barre Chords Chart


F Minor Barre Chord


|–I———————————————————–| – e


|–I———————————————————–| – B


|–I———————————————————-| – G


|–I——————-P————————————–| – D


|–I——————-R————————————–| – A


|–I———————————————————–| – E


1st Fret   2nd Fret   3rd Fret   4th Fret   5th Fret    6th Fret


I = index finger, M = middle finger, R = ring finger, P = pinky finger


Basically an E Minor Chord moved up by one fret – with a barre n front. You can move it up the neck by one fret to get F#m (F sharp minor) – by another to get G minor – and so on. You get the idea. :)


Dominant 7th Barre Chords Chart


F7 Barre Chord


|–I———————————————————–| – e


|–I———————————————————–| – B


|–I———M————————————————| – G


|–I———————————————————-| – D


|–I——————-R————————————–| – A


|–I———————————————————–| – E


1st Fret   2nd Fret   3rd Fret   4th Fret   5th Fret    6th Fret


I = index finger, M = middle finger, R = ring finger, P = pinky finger


Same principle. E7 chord pushed up by a fret.


Minor 7th Barre Chords Chart


F Minor 7th Barre Chord


|–I———————————————————–| – e


|–I———————————————————–| – B


|–I———————————————————-| – G


|–I———————————————————-| – D


|–I——————-R————————————–| – A


|–I———————————————————–| – E


1st Fret   2nd Fret   3rd Fret   4th Fret   5th Fret    6th Fret


I = index finger, M = middle finger, R = ring finger, P = pinky finger


E Minor 7th – pushed up by a fret.


Major 7th Barre Chords Chart


F Major 7th Barre Chord


|–I———————————————————–| – e


|–I———————————————————–| – B


|–I——–R————————————————-| – G


|–I——–M————————————————-| – D


|–I——————–P————————————-| – A


|–I———————————————————–| – E


1st Fret   2nd Fret   3rd Fret   4th Fret   5th Fret    6th Fret


I = index finger, M = middle finger, R = ring finger, P = pinky finger


E Major 7th – up by a fret.


Again, here’s the cycle for moving these chords up the neck.


A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, and back to A again.


Now you can play any chord as an E-based barre chord! :)


I’ll update this post soon with the A-based versions! Remember, I have lots of tips on playing barre chords here! If you like this post, please share it using one of the icons below and subscribe to my blog! You can email me at admin@ihatebarrechords.com with any questions/comments. :)