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Barred Major Shape

Posted on: January 13th, 2010 by dville

There is no reason to memorize an entire chord chart. Simply learn a few basic chord shapes you can then manipulate to create other chords. One of my favorite basic chord shapes is the one I call the Barred Major Shape. As you can see from the diagram I’m barring all the strings at the 1st fret and fingering the first string at the 4th fret to form a C# Major chord. It’s as though I’m using my index finger as a movable nut. Lift the index finger off and fret the 1st string at the 3rd fret and we are back to our old familiar open C Major chord.

To alter a chord we must know where the notes of the chord fall on the strings. The notes of a C# Major Chord are C# E# G#. As you can see from the diagram G# is the 5th of the chord, C# is the root (1) and E# is the 3rd. The 8th is C# an octave above the root. Now that we know the number of each note of the chord we can start making new chords. For example, fret the 3rd fret of the 1st string with your ring finger and you’ve got a C# Major 7th chord. Move the note down one more fret, using the middle finger and you’ve made a C#7 chord. Now lift the middle finger off, leaving the barre in place, and you’ve made a C#6 chord.

Move the barred major shape up to the second fret and you’ve got a D Major Chord and so on. This shape is also a good starting point for single-note major scale and arpeggio practice.

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