So let’s assume that, from reading my other posts, you’ve got a handle on barre chords (if not then you need to look at the Categories section to read all my beginner advice posts :) ), the next step is to know when to, or not to, use barre chords – when you have a choice. This post is a simple one really and it pretty much explains itself.

As a guitarist, your choice of chord form (whether barre or not) should be based on “economy of movement”. This simply means that – given a choice between varying fingerings for the same chord – you should choose the one that best allows easy transition from the chord you’re switching from and the chord you’re switching to – it’s trial and error until you get a feel for what you’re most comfortable with. :P

An example would be a song progression that requires you to switch from a Bminor chord (check my other posts for the fingering or open this link in a new tab to see a diagram. ) to a G Major chord – playable as either a barre or an open chord.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you can already play a G Major open chord. To play it as a barre you simply slide the B Minor Chord form up the neck, by one fret, to number 3 and also move the chord form across the neck by a string (so, for example, you were fretting the the 5th (B string) with your middle finger – you would now use it to fret the 4th (G string). Open this link in a new tab to see a diagram,

Most people, including me, find it easier to switch from B minor to the G Major Barre (instead of the Open G) because you can move the chord – as I described above – without changing the position of your fingers! :D This is a lot easier than releasing your fingers from the formation and forming a G Major Open Chord – especially for beginners who have trouble freeing their fingers from a barre chord grip to play an open chord.

So the scenario above is a classic example that I discovered when it’s actually simpler to use the barre version of a chord you could play an “easier” way. It varies depending on the song/progression that you’re playing but the important thing to remember is that you should keep your mind open to using barre chords when they work better in a particular situation. Take advantage of them – when it fits the progression – and don’t let all the hard work it takes to get the hang of barres go to waste by avoiding them! :P

Now you should read over the example I gave earlier so you have a good idea of how to decide for yourself if a progression would be easier played by substituting a barre chord or two. You can email me your comments at :) Vote in the poll on the sidebar so I can know if I’m doing a good job and subscribe!!! :D

P.S. If you’re just learning how to play barre chords you might want to check out my earlier posts for tips! You can find categories to help you do that in the sidebar too.

Hopefully I’ll find time to upload a video tomorrow but schoolwork has me sooo busy… :(