E6 Guitar Chord: The Ultimate Guide

The E6 guitar chord is one of the coolest guitar chords around. In this free lesson we’ll share with you 7 of the best ways to play this chord.

E6-guitar-chord

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In this free lesson you will learn:

  • 7 essential ways to play the E6 guitar chord.
  • 3 quick & easy chord hacks that will make you sound amazing.
  • The top-secret tip that will allow you to use the E6 guitar chord in ANY musical situation.

What is the E6 guitar chord?

The E6 guitar chord comes from the major chord family.

  • The easiest way to think of the E6 is that it is almost exactly the same as a regular E major chord however it just has one added note, that note is the ‘6th’ note.
  • Don’t worry too much about what this is right now or where it comes from just use it as a way of easily remembering the chord.

Don’t know what an E chord is? Don’t worry, you can learn it here:

e6-on-guitar

When is the E6 guitar chord heard?

The E6 guitar chord is used frequently in pop, blues, 60s rockabilly music and motown.

  • The chord itself has a vintage and retro sound and as a result of this was used by artists such as Elvis, Duane Eddy and Aretha Franklin.
  • One of the best examples of the major 6 guitar chord is the first chord in ‘Lenny’ by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Check out this video to hear it in action:

 

Why do I need to know this chord?

As guitarists, 90% of our playing involves chords. Learning new chords is just like adding another tool to your toolbox.

It’s ALWAYS useful to add chords to your vocabulary. New chords bring new sounds, new excitement, more options and most importantly more fun!

Now let’s learn the main chord for this lesson, the E6 guitar chord.

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Where should we send it?

Open E6 Guitar Chord

This is the most common way to play the E6 guitar chord.

  • This chord is found in the open position and can be challenging to play as it uses all four fingers.
  • This chord has a rich, vintage sound to it.

Need extra help on how to play guitar chords? Go here:

How To Play Guitar Chords: A Beginner’s Guide

Here’s the chordbox:

E6-guitar-chord

Don’t understand this image? Go here:

How To Read Guitar Chordboxes

To play this chord, do the following:

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

Notice that on the A, D and G strings that this is just a regular E major chord.

All you need to do is add your pinky on to the 2nd fret of the B string and hey presto, you’ve got yourself an E6 guitar chord.

E6-guitar-chord

Stepping-Stone E6 Guitar Chord

This next version of the E6 guitar chord is known as a slightly easier version of the open E6 guitar chord.

This is the chord that you would use if you couldn’t quite manage the open E6 guitar chord.

Here’s the chordbox:

E6-guitar-chord

As you can see, it’s very similar to the open E6 guitar chord. However we have just removed the 2nd fret of the A string.

Here’s how to play this E6 guitar chord:

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

Notice how this chord doesn’t use all of the strings like the open version. When you play this chord you need to strum from the D string.

  • This can be challenging but with patience and practice, you’ll get there.
  • This chord would also work perfectly as a secondary guitar part due to it having a brighter sound than the previous chord.

Need help with skipping strings while strumming? Click here:

How To Skip Strings While Strumming

E6 Guitar Chord – Two Finger Version

This E6 guitar chord is the easiest version that you will learn in this guitar lesson.

It only use two fingers and is great for beginner guitarists.

Here’s the chordbox:

E6-guitar-chord

As this is only a 3-string version of the E6 guitar chord it doesn’t sound as big as the previous two versions of this chord.

However this chord is perfect for building your finger technique.

Here’s how to play this essential guitar chord:

  • Place your 1st finger on fret 1 of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on fret 2 of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Strum from the G string. (3rd string.)

When can you use this chord?

As the E6 guitar chord is closely related to an E major chord, whenever you see it in a song you can directly replace it with an E6 guitar chord.

This will give your chord progression a totally different flavour reminiscent of early motown and soul.

Try this as an exercise, take this chord progression:

E6-guitar-chord

Now, replace the E guitar chord with an E6 guitar chord. Here’s what that chord progression looks like:

E6-chord

Now you know how to use the E6 guitar chord in a musical situation, let’s take a look at some other versions of this cool retro guitar chord.

E6 Guitar Chord – Movable E Barre Shape

Unlike the other versions of the E6 guitar chord, this version uses a technique known as barring.

  • Barring can be difficult for most beginners and it can certainly act as a roadblock. Although it’s tricky at first when learning barre chords.
  • It is a HUGELY beneficial technique to get under your belt.

Here’s a quick video from Mike with 3 top tips which will improve your barre chords instantly:

Here’s the chordbox for this cool chord shape:

easy-e6-chord

To play this chord, do the following:

  • Barre your first finger over the 12th fret.
  • Place your 2nd finger on fret 13 of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on fret 14 of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on fret 14 of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Strum from the E string. (6th string.)

E6 Guitar Chord – Moveable A Shape

Another popular variation of the E6 chord is the moveable A shape. This shape is more than likely to be the shape that you’ll use the most.

  • The primary reason for this is because it’s placed in the middle of the fretboard.
  • Although the moveable E shape is useful to know, it can be difficult practically because of the short spacings in the upper frets.

Let’s learn this cool chord shape:

To play this chord shape, do the following:

  • Place your 1st finger on fret 7 of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on fret 9 of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on fret 9 of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Barre your 4th finger across the 9th fret of the B and E string (2nd and 1st string.)
  • Strum from the A string. (5th string.)

The hardest part of this chord is barring over on the B and E strings on the 9th fret with your pinky.

To crack this, the best way to do this is to break the chord up into two sections.

This chord shares a very similar shape to the A shaped barre chord, so to begin with, do this:

  • Play the normal A shaped barre chord off the 7th fret on the A string.

Once you can do this, you can then add in the next note on the 9th fret of the E string.

  • All you have to do here is ‘roll’ your finger over to the high E string.

This will give you that classic ‘sixth’ sound and you’ll be in the realm of vintage guitar goodness in no time!

The E6 guitar chord is commonly heard in genres such as Motown and 60s soul.

If you’ve never listened to any songs from this genre, you can check out this article from NME to get an idea of where to start:

The Best Motown Songs Of All Time

e6-easy-guitar-chord

E6 Guitar Chord – Moveable C Shape

This version of the E6 chord is very similar to the open E6 guitar chord as both of these guitar chords use four fingers.

  • The main difference here is that this chord is placed in the middle of the fretboard.
  • This chord is perfect for those moments when you want to ‘sit’ in the mix.

Here’s the chord shape:

Beginner-e6-on-guitar

To play this chord do the following:

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

As this chord utilises your pinky on the root note, it can be tricky to land this chord right off the bat.

Therefore, when playing this chord, the best way to play is to start with your 1st finger, then your 2nd, then your 3rd and then finish with your 4th finger.

Your 1st finger is the strongest so you should always lead with this finger. If you need extra tips with playing guitar chords, go here:

Guitar Chords: The Ultimate Guide

E6 Guitar Chord – Another Moveable A Shape

Not only is the E6 guitar chord used in genres such as Motown, 60s pop and Rockabilly. It can also be seen in genres such as Gypsy Jazz and Bebop.

This particular voicing is commonly used by guitarists such as Django Reinhardt and George Benson.

So if you’re a jazzer, this is the shape you want.

Beginner-e6-on-guitar

To play this guitar chord, do the following:

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

The trickiest part of this chord is fretting across the D and G strings, so watch out for that part!

The best way to do that is to use the whole of your fingertip on your 1st finger and then press down on both strings.

3 Easy Tips & Tricks That Will Turbo-Charge Your Guitar Chords

Now you’ve learned 7 of the best E6 guitar chord voicings, now it’s time to share with you some essential tips that will make you sound amazing. Let’s dive in!

Squeeze Your Hand Every Time You Learn A New Chord

This may sound silly, but this is one of the best guitar tricks out there. Anytime you learn a new chord, squeeze your hand.

  • This ‘engages’ your muscle memory and allows your hand to remember the chord quicker. However, there is one caveat to doing this.
  • You must know how to play the chord correctly BEFORE you do this.
  • Unfortunately, our muscle memory has no indicator of what is right or wrong.

So, if you practice a chord incorrectly and then squeeze your hand, you’ll be teaching yourself to remember the chord incorrectly.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’ve got your chord spot on:

  • Make sure your fingers are in the right place.
  • Make sure that each note is ringing out clearly.
  • Make sure that you can remember how to play the chord without looking at a chordbox.

Beginner-e6-on-guitar

The ‘Countdown’ Method

This is such a cool way to practice guitar chords. Here it is:

  • Open up a timer app on your phone or website browser. Google has a fantastic one which you can find here: Google Timer
  • Set a timer for 20 seconds and then see if you can play the E6 guitar chord in this time.
  • Reduce the timer to 15.
  • Then 10.
  • Then 8.
  • Then 6.
  • Then 4.
  • Then 3.

This is a great way of testing out your guitar chords! It instantly shows you how well you know your chords. If you find the time too quick in certain places, adjust your timer to a range that is comfortable for you.

Practice Using This Chord In A Musical Situation

One of the best ways to integrate a chord into your playing is to immediately use it in a musical situation.

As a practice exercise you could do this:

  • Take any song that you know that has an E chord in and then replace it with an E6 guitar chord.

If you do this with every song that you know that has an E chord in, you’ll become an E6 guitar chord master in no time!

e6-easy-chord

What Have I Learned Today?

In this guitar lesson we’ve covered 7 variations of the E6 guitar chord as well as some other cool concepts which you can apply to your guitar playing today.

Here’s a quick list of everything we’ve covered:

  • 7 versions of the E6 guitar chord, this includes the following:
  • Open E6 guitar chord.
  • Stepping-stone E6 guitar chord.
  • Two string version of the E6 guitar chord.
  • E6 guitar chord: moveable E shape.
  • E6 guitar chord: moveable A shape.
  • E6 guitar chord: moveable C shape.
  • E6 guitar chord: moveable A shape V2.
  • How to use the E6 guitar chord in a musical situation/
  • 3 cool tips and tricks that will improve your chord practice.

A lot of the chords in this guitar lesson are tricky to finger, so make sure that you take time with each voicing and enjoy the journey! Good luck.

e6-easy-chord

Where Do I Go Next?

If you enjoyed this lesson, you may also like these lessons:

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