How To Play The G Bar Chord

Want to learn the G bar chord? You’re in the right place!

G Bar Chord

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 5 must-know ways to play the G bar chord.
  • 6 quick & easy tips that will make your barre chords sound amazing.
  • The no1 secret that will accelerate your guitar progress.

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The two most common ways to play a G bar chord are:

  • G bar chord. (E Shape.)
  • G bar chord. (A Shape.)

Let’s learn how to play them!

G Bar Chord (E Shape)

In the guitar world we refer to this barre chord as the ‘E Shape’ because it is based an open E chord. Let’s compare.

Here’s an open E chord:

E Chord

Learn to play this chord here:4 Easy Ways To Play The E Chord On Guitar

Here’s the G Bar Chord. (E Shape.)

G Barre Chord (E Shape)

Notice how BOTH chords use the E shape. The only difference between them is that the G bar chord uses your first finger as a barre over the 3rd fret.

To play the G bar chord:

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

You may also see this chord referred to as ‘G bar chord (root on the E string)’. This is because the root is found on the low E string. (6th string.)

To learn more about root notes go here: Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

G Bar Chord (A Shape)

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

Here’s an open A chord:

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

Here’s a G bar chord (A shape)

G Chord

Notice how both chords use the A shape.

To play the G bar chord (A shape):

  • Barre your first finger on the 10th fret from the A string (5th string) to the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 12th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 12th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 12th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Strum from the A string. (5th string.)

You may also see this G bar chord refered to as the ‘G bar chord (root on the A string)’. This is because the root note is on the A string.

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

Why do barre chords work?

The best thing about barre chords is that you can play over 20 different chords off of two chord shapes.

This is because barre chords are ‘moveable’. The same chord shape can be moved to a different fret. This changes the key of the chord.

Let’s apply this concept to the E and A shape barre chords.

Moveable Shapes (E Shape Barre Chord)

To change the key of the G bar chord (E Shape), all you have to do is move this shape to a different fret on the low E string. (6th string.)

By doing this, you are changing the root note of the chord. The root note is the first note in a chord and defines the key.

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

G Bar Chord

Move your G bar chord to ANY of these frets to change the key.

E.g; To play an A barre chord, move it to the 5th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)

If this is overwhelming, concentrate on moving your G bar chord to the following frets:

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

The notes line up with the fret markers on the side of your guitar. To remember each note, just remember ‘GAB’.

Moveable Shapes (A Shape Barre Chord)

We can apply the same concept to the A shape barre chord. However this time we have to change the root note on the A string.

Here’s a list of ALL the root notes on the A string.

A Bar Chord

If you find each of these hard to remember, just concentrate on:

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

These notes match the fret markers on the side of the fretboard. Remember ‘CDE’ when trying to memorise each note.

What is a barre chord?

Barre chords share the same role as a capo. Capos are used to clamp down guitar strings on each fret.

Learn about capos here: How To Use A Capo

When you play barre chords, your 1st finger is doing the job that a capo would.

Here’s what a barre chord looks like:

G Bar Chord

Why are barre chords useful?

Barre chords are useful because:

  • They extend your chord vocabulary.

Some chords just aren’t possible to play without barre chords. If you can play barre chords you are instantly enhancing your chord knowledge.

Chords form 99% of ALL guitar music. If you have a good knowledge of barre chords, you have a good chance of being able to play ANY song.

Learn how to play songs here: 10 Easy Songs On Guitar

  • Barre chords enhance your dexterity and technique.

Barre chords are tough. There’s no hiding that. However, if you can play barre chords you will enhance your guitar technique.

Learning barre chords WILL make you a better guitarist.

Quick Tip!

Most beginner spell barre chords like this ‘Bar Chord’. However the correct spelling is ‘barre chord’. For example. ‘The G Barre Chord’.

How do I play barre chords?

Barre chords can be a massive road block in a beginner guitarists journey. However, we’re going to show you 6 quick & easy tips which will help you master barre chords.

Tip #1 Keep Your Thumb Behind The Neck

Make sure you keep your thumb behind the neck. Don’t let your thumb come over the top of the neck when you play barre chords.

Your thumb should be:

  • In the middle of the neck with your thumb nail pointing towards the ceiling.

Like this:

Thumb Position

Tip #2 Use The Side of Your First Finger When Barring Chords

The easiest way to barre chords is to use the edge of your first finger. Here’s why:

  • It enhances chord clarity.
  • It’s easier.
  • It sounds better.

Try not to use the fleshy part of your finger when barring as it will be MUCH harder. Use the side of your first finger.

Tip #3 Use Your Thumb And Fingers Together

Make sure your use thumb and first finger when playing barre chords. Push your thumb into the back of the neck, and press down with your fingers.

You need the support of both parts of your hand when playing barre chords. This WILL make your chords sound amazing.

More Barre Chord Tips!

Here are 3 essential barre chord tips from Mike:

There are so many reasons why learning the guitar is awesome. Check out this article by MusicRadar to find out why: 10 Reasons To Love Being A Guitarist

The Open G Chord

Before you learn how to play the G bar chord. It’s essential that you know how to play the open G chord.

In the guitar world we refer to this as the ‘open G chord’ because it uses open strings.

G Chord

  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string. (1st string.)

Easy G Bar Chord

If you find barre chords difficult. Try this easy version!

G Barre Chord (Easy)

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

Download a free beginner chord guide and learn easy versions of every chord

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  Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is one of our most popular guides and will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.

 

Other G Bar Chords?

There are 3 other G bar chord shapes, these are:

  • The C Shape.
  • The D Shape.
  • The G Shape.

Let’s learn them!

G Bar Chord (C Shape)

We refer to this G bar chord as the ‘C shape’ because the core of this chord is based on an open C chord. Let’s compare.

Here’s a C chord:

C Major Shape

Here’s a G Bar Chord (C shape):

G Barre Chord (A Shape)

Notice how the C chord shape fits within the G bar chord.

To play the G bar chord (C shape):

  • Place your 4th finger on the 10th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 9th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 8th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)
  • Barre your first finger over the 7th fret of the G (3rd string) and E string. (1st string.)

G Bar Chord (D Shape)

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

In the guitar world, this chord known as the ‘D shape’ because it is based on an open D chord.

Here’s a D chord:

D Chord

Here’s a G bar chord (D shape):

G Barre Chord (D shape)

Can you see how the both chords use the SAME shape.

To play the G bar chord (D shape):

  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th fret of the D string. (4th string.)
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 7th fret of the G string. (3rd string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 7th fret of the high E string. (1st string.)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 8th fret of the B string. (2nd string.)

You could also play a regular D chord and move it up to the 7th fret.

G Bar Chord (G Shape)

This G bar chord uses the exact same notes as an open G chord, however this chord is an octave higher.

G Bar Chord (G Shape)

  • Place your 4th finger on the 15th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 14th fret of the A string. (5th string.)
  • Barre your first finger over the D (4th string), G (3rd string) and B strings (2nd string) on the 12th fret.

How do I practice barre chords?

Here are 3 awesome ways to practice barre chords.

1) Whenever you learn a new barre chord, squeeze your hand.

Whenever you learn how to play a new chord, squeeze your fretting hand. This engages your muscle memory and helps you to learn chords quickly.

However, it’s important that the chord is right. Otherwise, you will be teaching yourself to remember the chord incorrectly.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that your chord is right:

  • Make sure it feels good and doesn’t cause any pain.
  • Make sure it sounds good.
  • Make sure you can play it with confidence!

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

2) Every time you see a G chord, replace it with a barre chord shape.

The best way to practice chords is to use them within a musical context. Don’t rely on the chords already know. Use the ones that you don’t.

For example, here’s the chord progression from ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben. E King:

G Major | E Minor | C Major | D Major

For everytime you see a G major chord, you could play the following chord shapes:

  • Open G chord.
  • G Bar Chord. (E Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (A Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (C Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (D Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (G Shape.)

This is a great way of enhancing your chord vocabulary and finger technique.

Guitar Learning

3) Move Between Each Barre Chord Shape.

A great way to practice barre chords is to move between them. Start from the lowest chord on the fret board and ascend up until you reach the highest one.

You would play each bar chord shape in this order:

  • G Bar Chord. (E Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (D Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (C Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (A Shape.)
  • G Bar Chord. (G Shape.)

This is a fantastic way to test how well you know the G bar chord.

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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