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Uncle Bob's Guitar Lessons
Lesson 7 - The Big, Bad Barre Chords
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What Are Barre Chords?

Just the mention of "Barre Chords" to some guitar players will make them run screaming from the room, and this is helpful information to know because this might help you to rid yourself of someone you didn't want to hear play anyway.

In any case, while barre chords are more of an intermediate topic, they're nothing to be afraid of.

Why Do We Need Barre Chords?

The diagrams that I've been showing so far work great when you're in a key where the chords work nicely in the 1st position of the guitar neck, have open strings in them, etc. But not all chords are built that way, because not all scales are built that way.

For example, the B flat major scale looks like...

So, unfortunately this presents a problem in building a chord, in that the notes you need to build a Bb major chord, (Bb-D-F), don't readily line up to make a nice, neat chord without some serious work.

Here's where barre chords come to the rescue - a barre chord allows you to create a new 1st position anywhere you want be by laying one of your fingers across several strings, thereby creating a new "top" of the neck. (It's sort of like being a human capo.) In the case of "E-Form" barre chords, for example, you are simply moving the E Major chord up the neck.


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