Basic Acoustic Guitar Lessons (#5): Pre-training for bar chords
Now it is time to take your guitar playing to another level. At first, this may be frustrating. If you are a beginner acoustic guitar player, and have overcome some frustrations and have learned to play many of the common non-barred chords, trying to learn bar chords may at first seem like you are starting all over again. Bar chords put different kinds of pressure on the fingers and chording hand (left hand for the right-handed player), and can seem to be a challenging task to produce a clean and uniform task at first. However, perseverance was the key when first learning to hold, strum and chord some of the most commonly used guitar chords like, C, G, D, A, E, Em, and Am, and perseverance will be the key to successfully incorporating bar chords into your rapidly growing repertoire. Additionally, bar chords, when mastered, will open up a different world for the acoustic guitar player, but musically and intellectually.
Looking at the diagrams, the bar chord is simply a chord whereby a single finger covers multiple strings. Before, common chords allocate 1 finger tip per string, per fret. In bar chords, one finger can lay across several strings of a fret, either replacing the nut of the acoustic or electric guitar, or replacing a section of the nut.
Bar chords for the A form.
Remembering the A chord from previous lessons, first play the alternate form of the A chord by using fingers 2-3-4 on strings 4-3-2 of the second fret consecutively. Be sure to strum all strings except for the 6th string (the largest E string). Now, slide this A form chord up from the second fret to the 4th fret. Next, take your index finger of the same hand (chording hand) and lay it across strings 5-4-3-2-1 of the second fret. What you have just done, is moved the “nut” to the second fret of the acoustic or electric guitar. Hold the chord firmly and strum only strings 5-4-3-2-1 (avoid string 6). If you have chorded correctly and firmly, you have now played the B chord barred. Congratulations! Continue to practice this A form barred all along the fret, as you will see that with every fret you move toward the body of the guitar, you will increase the chord by ˝ step chromatically. If you are not familiar with chromatics, do a bit of research to understand what a chromatic scale is. In essence, when you slide this B form 1 fret toward the body of the guitar, you will be playing a C. If you move it 1 more fret closer to the body from this C position, you will be playing a C # (C sharp), and so on.
Bar chord alternate for the A chord form.
Next, play the B chord again as described above. This time, instead of using fingers 2-3-4 to chord the A form, try using only finger 3 across those 3 strings by bending it significantly. You should be barring strings 5-4-3-2-1 with the index finger on the 2nd fret now, and you should be barring strings 4-3-2 on the 4th fret (instead of using fingertips 2-3-4). This is another way to perform the A form barred to produce the B chord.
Bar chord for the Am form.
Finally, to learn some minor chord forms that are barred, refer to the chord Am (minor). Using the alternate form of Am, with fingers 2-3-4, strum the Am. Now, slide this form toward the body of the acoustic guitar so that the second finger is on the 3rd fret second string, and the 3rd and 4th fingers are on the 4th fret, 4th and 3rd strings consecutively. Now, with the index finger, bar strings 5-4-3-2-1 of the second fret. When you strum this chord, you have just played a Bm barred chord.
Continue practicing these A form and A minor forms of bar chords while moving up and down the neck / fretboard and you will play nearly every minor chord in at least 1 form.
This lesson on bar chords in A form for the acoustic and electric guitar have been provided by Aaron Schulman, a guitar player and teacher since 1990, web publisher and owner of a web development company in Ohio, Aim Advantage. You can research honest guitar reviews to help you in purchasing your first beginner acoustic guitar at his guitar reviews site here at StrumViews.com.