How To Play The E Bar Chord

Learning the E bar chord is essential if you want to become an epic guitarist. We’re going to show you EVERYTHING you need to know about the E bar chord.

E Bar Chord

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 6 awesome ways to play the E bar chord on guitar.
  • How to play the perfect barre chord.
  • 3 essential barre chord tips.

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The two most common ways to play an E bar chord are:

  • E bar chord (Root note on the low E string.) (6th string.)
  • E bar chord. (Root note on the A string.) (5th string.)

Let’s learn them.

E Bar Chord (Root Note On The Low E String)

Before you learn how to play this chord, you must know how to play the open E chord.

Open E Chord

E Bar Chord

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

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  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 1st fret of the D string. (1st string.)
  • Strum ALL the strings.

Is this chord too hard? Go here to find easy versions of this chord: 4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

This is THE most common way to play an E chord. Let’s learn to play this chord as a barre chord.

E Bar Chord

This chord is EXACTLY the same as an open E chord. However, this shape has been moved up 12 frets to the 14th fret and now includes a barre across the 12th fret.

E_Bar_Chord_(12th_fret)

  • Barre your first finger across all the strings on the 12th fret.
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 14th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 14th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 13th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Strum ALL the strings.

This chord may also be referred to as the ‘E shape barre chord’.

Bonus Tip!

Most beginners refer to barre chords as ‘bar chords’. However, the correct spelling is ‘barre chords’. For example: ‘The E barre chord’.

E Bar Chord (Root Note On The A String)

For this E bar chord, the root note is found on the A string. (5th string.)

Learn more about root notes here: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

You may also see this chord referred to as the ‘A shape barre chord’. This is because this E bar chord uses a standard A major chord shape. Let’s compare.

Here’s an A chord:

E Bar chord

Learn to play this chord here: 3 Easy Ways To Play The A Chord On Guitar

Here’s an E bar chord (A shape.)

E_Bar_Chord_(A_Shape)

Can you see how this barre chord uses the A shape?

To play this chord:

  • Barre your first finger from the 7th fret of the A string (5th string) to the high E string. (6th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 9th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 9th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 9th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)

Why do barre chords work?

The great thing about barre chords is that they are ‘moveable shapes’. This means that you can play over 20 different chords off of 2 chord shapes.

To do this, you must move your barre chord to a different fret. This changes the key of the chord.

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Moveable Shapes On The E String

To change the key of your E shape barre chord:

Move it to a different fret.

When you move the E shape barre chord to a different fret, you are changing the root note of the chord. The root note changes the key of the chord.

Learn more about root notes here: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

Here are ALL of the root notes on the low E string (6th string):

root note low E string

For example, if you wanted to play an A barre chord, you would move your barre chord shape to the 5th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)

For now, just concentrate on moving your barre chords to the following frets.

  • 3rd fret. (G note.)
  • 5th fret. (A note.)
  • 7th fret. (B note.)

Each of these frets relate to the fret markers on your guitar. If you struggle to remember the notes, just try and remember the word ‘GAB’.

Moveable Shapes On The A String

We can also apply the same concept to the A shape barre chord. However, this time we must move the A shape barre chord to a different fret on the A string.

You must know what the root notes are on the A string. Here they are:

A notes

For now, just focus on moving the A shape barre chord to the:

  • 3rd fret. (C note.)
  • 5th fret. (D note.)
  • 7th fret. (E note.)

To remember each note name, just think ‘CDE’.

What is a barre chord?

Barre chords serve the EXACT same role as a capo. However, instead of a capo clamping down on a fret, your finger is.

Learn about capos here:How To Use A Capo

The rest of your fingers play a classic open chord shape such as:

  • E Shape.
  • A Shape.
  • C Shape.
  • G Shape.

Usually you have to change the fingering of these chords, however the shape stays the same.

Here is a classic example of a barre chord:

barre chord

Why should I learn barre chords?

Barre chords are essential to know if you want to become an intermediate guitarist.

Here’s why:

  • Learning barre chords enhances your chord knowledge.

Some chords cannot be played in an open position. Learning barre chords allows you to play more advanced chords.

  • Having a good knowledge of barre chords enhances your repertoire. 

If you can play barre chords, we guarantee that you will be able to play more songs.

You can learn how to play songs here: 10 Easy Songs On Guitar

  • Learning barre chords enhances your technique.

Barre chords can halt your progress as a beginner guitarist. Learning barre chords enhances your technique and dexterity.

How do I play barre chords?

Barre chords are tricky for most beginners. So we’ve come up with 6 quick & easy tips that will help you master barre chords.

Tip#1 Keep Your Thumb Behind The Neck

When playing barre chords, you must keep your thumb behind the neck. Your thumb should be straight with your thumb nail pointing towards the ceiling.

Like this:

E bar chord

Tip #2 Use The Edge Of Your First Finger

The best way to barre chords is to use the edge of your first finger. This is the easiest way.

Don’t use the fleshy part of your first finger, this is much harder.

Tip #3 Use Your Thumb And Fingers Together

Barre chords require bit of extra power from your hands. When fretting barre chords, don’t just rely on your first finger.

Use your thumb and fingers together.

  • Push your thumb into the back of the neck whilst squeezing the chord with the rest of your fingers. 

Think of the motion of a clothes peg. When both points of the peg are together, your clothes are held in place.

Think of your thumb and fingers as the two points of a clothes peg. They MUST work together to make the the barre chord sound amazing.

Bonus Video & Tips!

For extra barre chords tips, watch this video. Mike will show you everything you need to know about how to play barre chords:

For more guitar chord tips, go here: How To Play Guitar Chords: A Beginner’ Guide

Easy E Bar Chords

If you still find barre chords difficult, have a go at playing this barre chord shape. This chord shape breaches the gap between open chords and barre chords.

Easy_E_Barre_Chord_

  • Place your 3rd finger on the 14th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 13th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Barre your 1st finger over the 12th fret of the B (2nd string) and E string. (1st string.)

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide.

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Other Barre Chord Shapes?

Here are some other ways to play the E bar chord:

  • The E bar chord. (C shape.)
  • The E bar chord. (D shape.)
  • The E bar chord. (G shape.)

Let’s learn them!

E Bar Chord (C Shape)

We refer to this bar chord as the ‘C shape’ because it is based on a open C chord.

Here’s a C chord:

C Chord

Learn to play the C chord here: Easy Ways To Play The C Guitar Chord

Here’s a E bar chord (C shape):

E_barre_chord_(C_shape)

Can you see how this chord shape uses the C shape?

To play this bar chord:

  • Place your 4th finger on the 7th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 6th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Barre your 1st finger over the 5th fret of the G (3rd string) and E string. (1st string.)

E Bar Chord (G Shape)

This E bar is known as the ‘G shape’ because it is based on an open G chord.

Here’s an open G chord:

G chord

Learn to play the G chord here: 4 Easy Ways To Play The G Chord On Guitar

Here’s the E bar chord (G shape):

E_bar_chord_(G_Shape)

Notice how the shape of a G chord fits in the E bar chord.

To play this chord:

  • Place your 4th finger on the 12th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 11th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Barre your first finger over the 7th fret of the D (4th string), G (3rd string) and B string. (2nd string.)
  • Strum ALL the strings.

If you fancy an added challenge, place your pinky on the 12th fret of the high E string. (1st string.)

E Bar Chord (D Shape)

Even though this strictly isn’t a barre chord, it’s useful to know if you want to enhance your fret board knowledge.

E_bar_chord_(D_shape)

  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th fret of the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 5th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Strum from the D string. (4th string.)

Which barre chord shape is best?

If you’re new to barre chords, we recommend learning them in the following order:

  • E bar chord. (E shape.)
  • E bar chord. (A shape.)
  • E bar chord. (C shape.)
  • E bar chord. (D shape.)
  • E bar chord. (G shape.)

It’s not essential that you know how to play EVERY single bar chord. However, it is incredibly useful as it extends your knowledge of the fret board.

Playing guitar is good for your mind and body. Find out why in this article by Guitar World: 10 Reasons Why Playing Guitar Is Good For Your Mind And Body

How do I practice barre chords?

Here are 3 essential tips which will help take your barre chords to the next level.

1) Squeeze your hand every time you play a barre chord correctly

Once you’ve learned how to play a E bar chord shape, squeeze your hand. Squeezing your hand engages your muscle memory and helps you remember the chord.

It’s important that the chord is correct. If you squeeze your hand and the chord is incorrect, you will be teaching yourself to play the wrong chord.

Make sure that:

  • Each note rings out clearly.
  • It doesn’t cause you any pain.
  • It feels good to play.

If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to becoming a barre chord master.

2) Every time you see a E chord, replace it with an E bar chord

The best way to practice barre chords is to use them in a musical situation. Any time you see an E chord in a song, use a barre chord shape.

3) Practice moving between each barre chord

A great way to test how well you know barre chords is to practice moving between each one. Start from the lowest chord on the fret board until you reach the highest.

You would practice each E bar chord in this order:

  • Open E chord.
  • E bar chord. (D shape.)
  • E bar chord. (C shape.)
  • E bar chord. (A shape.)
  • E bar chord. (G shape.)
  • E bar chord. (E shape.)

If you fancy an added challenge, do this in reverse. Start from the highest point on the fret board, and descend down to the lowest point.

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

NGAEM

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