Previously we were discussing the CAGED method for learning chord fingerings. This time we’ll learn the more popular E & A barre chord forms. We discussed the names of the notes on string 5, which we can also use to identify the root of the A form barre chord:
The notes on strings 1 and 6 are optional. Strings 2, 3, & 4 can be played by 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers, but this is generally not done this way. The vast majority of guitar players use the 3rd finger to barre these strings, as well as bend the finger at the knuckle off the fretboard just enough to mute string 1. Some people prefer to use the 4th finger for this task. The note on string 6 can be muted by allowing the tip index finger to touch it, while fretting the note on string 5 with the flat part of the finger. This takes some practice and patience, so keep working on it.
For the E form chord, we’ll need to know the names of the notes on the 6th string in order to identify the chord:
This chord fingering utilizes the first finger in a barre, covering the note on strings 1, 2, and 6. The barre finger will be touching the other strings, but we don’t need to worry about those because the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers will be fretting notes in front of the barred ones.
Try using these two chording fingerings in a common song progression. This progression uses the G chord and the C chord at the 3rd fret (A form), and then we move the A form to the 5th fret to add a D chord.
Here’s another version of the same chord progression, using E and A form chord fingerings, but in a different key. As you may notice, we’re starting with C(A Form), going to F(E Form), and G(E Form). You’ll want to get learn these forms in every key and get away from using the Form names, as the naming gets confusing, and certainly won’t work with players of different instruments.
Try the same with the C and G Form chordsin the next chord progressions. Use the notes of the E and A strings to figure out which form you should use to get the correct chords, and then use the E and A Form chords to play these, too.
Don’t forget to have fun with it! Try putting the chords in each one of these progressions in different orders, such as E–>D–>A, etc. Additionally, try playing the patterns shown here in different keys: Ab (Ab–>Db–>Eb), E (E–>A–>B), B (B–>E–>F#). Use the E and A string diagrams to figure out what fret you should start at to do these progressions in various keys. Make Music!