How to Play Bar Chords on Guitar


Are you just beginning your journey as a guitarist and wondering what bar chords are? There is no need for you to keep worrying about that as we will focus mainly on how to play bar chords. First of all, let us consider what bar chords are.

What do we mean by bar chords?

When we talk about bar chords, they mean the creating of a bar right at the back of the chord shape by making use of your first finger.

For your information, you can still call ‘bar chords’ ‘barre chords’. These two expressions have the same meaning.

A lot of beginners have seen bar chords as a kind of stumbling block in their musical journey, but with this article and consistent practice with patience, you will know how to play it. Now, let us get on with our main topic for today.

How to play bar chords on a guitar

Mastering the technique is important if you really want to perfect playing the bar chords. Many guitarists learning how to play it make the mistake of using the same grip that they have been using to play normal open chords. The sad truth is that it can never work. The first technique you need to learn is the A chord.

People mostly make use of 3 fingers while playing this chord. But, to make your barring skill more enhanced, try to use only the first finger to play the A chord.

How to do it:

Make sure that your 1st finger is barred across the second fret these three strings, D, G, and B. It is important for you to begin from here as you just have to focus only on your 1st finger.

For you to correctly bar the A chord, make sure that your thumb is being placed just at the back of the neck and ensure that your thumbnail points to the ceiling.

Playing the D major 7 chord

What you need to do is to bar your 1st finger across your guitar’s second fret of G, B, and E (high) strings.

To make your skill advanced, you can try to change between the A chord that you have barred and this one.

After you have mastered the technique of the A and D major & chord, the next one to try out is the F# Minor chord (F#m).

The F# Minor chord

The easiest way you can play the F#m chord is this:

  • Try playing D major 7 chord
  • Your third finger should be placed on the D string’s fourth fret.

This particular chord is somehow tricky. This means that you do not have to be in a hurry while learning to play it. Rather, you have to take your time. Playing bar chords is difficult, so it is normal for you to learn it in a long period compared to the regular open chords that can be learned within a short while.

For your bar chords practice session, try to play the progression of the A, D Major &, and F# Minor chords. Ensure that you are fully happy and satisfied with these chords before thinking of trying more complex things. 

Does the Guitar Matter?

In short, not very much. New guitars or vintage guitars will both feel the same when playing a bar chord. In regards to acoustic versus electric, the hand and finger motions will also be the same. So, pick whichever version of guitar you like best!


To practice the barre chords, it is better for you to begin with one song you know that has just a single barre chord and try learning it. Just make sure that you have not selected a song that has multiple barre chords until you have completely mastered it.