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guitar lessonBasic Acoustic Guitar Lessons: Pre-training for bar chords

In this lesson, we will be learning a few forms of common chords in preparation for bar chords. A bar chord is simply where a particular finger acts as the “nut” (at least partially) or a “bar” that chords more than 1 string at a time. Up until this point, lessons have included using the fingertips to press 1 string into the fretboard at a time (1 string per finger). After learning this lesson, you will be ready to begin barring chords and experiencing more intermediate and advanced chord all across the fretboard. For the beginner acoustic guitar player, most chords that are learned early are simple, common major and minor chords closer to the head or nut of the guitar. Barring, which we will discuss in the next lesson, allows the acoustic or electric guitar player to do all sorts of new guitar techniques, including improvising, transposing, and using alternate voices or forms of the same chords.

For this lesson, we will revisit E, A, Em, Am and some variations that will be used for bar chords.

Take a look at the E chord. Then look at it's alternate. Try strumming while sliding this E form chord up and down the fretboard. Listen to the differences. You will notice that when you chord the E form on different frets, that there are a few locations where the chord will sound good or “right”, and other places where it will sound weird or “off”. We will not get into the specifics of this in this lesson, but just experiment and use your ear, then if you have time, look up alternates on other chord charts to see which of those E form chords worked and why they did. In all music, it is equally important to train the ear as it is to train rote music reading. Practice both forms of E until you are comfortable using both forms..

guitar lessonNext, observe and practice the different forms of the A chord on the charts. Different forms of A and E are used for different songs as alternate forms will prove more suitable for songs based on the other chords in the song.

Now, practice the different forms of A minor and E minor, and their alternate forms. Continue practicing these different forms, as well as switching between the chords until they become easy to you. Once these come easier, barring and playing new songs will be more easy to pick up. Additionally, as you listen to songs on the radio, try to hear the chord progressions and then find them on your acoustic guitar. This will help you train technically: learning the technical chords and proper way to read music and guitar chord charts, while also equally working on recognizing chords and chord progressions in songs and training the ear to recognize these things. Both forms of practice will not only help make music more enjoyable, but it will also help the beginning guitar player to quickly become a more advanced guitar player while also being able to blend in and play in a group of more advanced players.

Aaron Schulman has written numerous lesson on guitar playing and has played avidly since 1990. He owns a web design company in Ohio and also has written real-life reviews for guitars based on positive and negative guitar experiences. Before buying a guitar, consider reading more at to help you find the best beginner acoustic guitar for your investment.


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