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.

The next step is to learn how to move these shapes along the fretboard to unlock all the major and minor chords.

Navigate The Fretboard

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

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.)
  • EXCEPT 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

Quiz – Find The Note

(hover/click to reveal answer)

E string - 3rd fret


E string - 1st fret


E string - 5th fret


E string - 6th fret

A#/ Bb

E string - 8th fret


E string - 12th fret


A string - 2nd fret


A string - 1st fret

A#/ Bb

A string - 5th fret


A string - 6th fret

D#/ Eb

A string - 8th fret


A string - 10th fret


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!

play a barre chord using the a shape along the fretboard use the am shape on the fretboard sliding the e chord shape along the fretboard sliding the em shape along the fretboard

2017-05-18T12:45:46-08:00 May 27th, 2016|Categories: Article, Resource|Tags: |