Unlock The Fretboard – Play In Any Key Using Barre Chords (For Beginners)

Learning barre chords for beginners can be a daunting task – let’s overcome this together!

In Part I of our barre chord lesson (which you can find here) we learned the most common major and minor shapes and we started to work on building finger strength. Barre chords are not an easy task for beginners, but they are very powerful and well worth the extra effort. As a result, learning how to play barre chords will help you UNLOCK the fretboard and play in ANY KEY!

Navigate The Fretboard

use the notes on the low e and a string to place your bar chords for beginners

You can “count up” from the open string using this simple set of rules:

  • Usually go up 2 frets to get to the next note (from C to D = 2 frets, from D to E = 2 frets, etc.)
  • However, when you are going from B to C, or E to F – they are only 1 fret apart (see below)
a simple trick for learning the notes on the guitar fretboard
  • To find # (sharp) and b (flat) notes, first find the natural note, then go up or down from that note to get the sharp or flat version of it (go up from D to get D#, go down 1 fret to get Db)
to play sharp and flat notes just go up or down from the natural note


  • E String, 3rd fret = G
  • E string, 1st fret = F
  • E string, 5th fret = A
  • E string, 6th fret = Bb (or A#)
  • E string, 8th fret = C
  • E string, 12th fret = E
  • A string, 2nd fret = B
  • A string, 1st fret = Bb (or A#)
  • A string, 5th fret = D
  • A string, 6th fret = D# (or Eb)
  • A string, 8th fret = F
  • A string, 10th fret = G

Moving The Barre Chord Shapes Around The Fretboard

So here’s the basic premise:

  1. Find the root of the chord you wish to play (if you’re trying to play F#minor then find the F# note, if you want to play B major then find a B on the fretboard)
  2. Line up your barre finger (first finger) with that note (for E major and E minor chords, your root note needs to be on the E string. For A major and A minor, your root needs to be on the A string)
  3. Play!
the a barre chord is a tricky one, but super duper useful
the am barre chord on acoustic is a bit easier than the em shape
learning barre chords will allow you to move the e chord shape along the fretboard
sliding the em barre chord for beginners along the fretboard

There are many issues that prevent guitarists from learning this essenstial skill. To help, I’ve created a gradual path from the basic chords all the way to barre chords that will help ANYONE learn how to play them. With this step-by-step path, you will develop the strength and technique to finally conquer barre chords!

Click here

Part 1 – Most Common Shapes + Building Initial Strength
Part 2 – Navigate The Fretboard + Learn To Play Barre Chords In Any Key
Part 3 – Four Tips That Make Barre Chords Much Easier To Play