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A-Shaped Barre Chord Fingering Question

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(@dcmarshall)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 41
Topic starter  

I'm (hopefully) progressing on this form of the barre chord. I'm playing it with my first and third fingers barring the appropriate strings. Two questions, though: (1) should I be trying to mute the low E string, or should I just barre that as well; (2) should I be muting the high E string or letting that ring?

Thanks for any guidance you can provide.


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

The best thing to do with the low E is to allow the tip of your index finger to rest against it, which is an effective mute.
The high e can be played. "E" is the 5th of an A chord and, so, forms part of the basic triad structure.
So why don't you play the low E, if it's part of the A chord? You could play it, but it would change the sound of the A chord - try it and see what you think. It also changes it's name to A/E, as E is now the bass note, in the chord (in a "normal" chord the root note is in the bass).

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

Im confused by greybeard's answer.
barred A has the sixth string (low E) barred at fret five; making that E an A.
essential for a proper barre chord.IMO.

I use my index finger to barre all the strings, then use the appropriate fingers for the other notes fretted after the fifth fret.

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(@dcmarshall)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 41
Topic starter  

Greybeard, thanks for the tip about muting the low E string with the index finger.

Also, I may not have worded this right in my original post, but to be clear, my questions related to the "A Shaped" movable barre chord format/fingering, and not simply to an A Barre Chord.

Thanks again to all for any advice.


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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

Sorry, if I confused you. The A shape does not play the low E string, even though it is part of the A triad (E is the 5th).
When you play the A shape barre, you don't play the low E, even though you could, being part of the A chord. The root is on the A string.
When you play an A shaped barre, you want to mute the low E string - so you simply put your index finger up against the low E string.
Sorry, I've been writing Project Management analyses in German for the last few days - the change to English can be mentally challenging. But I knew what I meant

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


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(@guitarteacher)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 46
 

You may find it easier to bar all six strings (I believe Greybeard was referring to touching the sixth string to mute it, not barring - correct me if I'm wrong, GB). Bar chords with their roots on the fifth and even fourth strings are often easier to play with a full bar. Of course, the right hand must discern the correct number of strings articulate.

GT

If you want to be good, practice. If you want to be great, you must constantly change the way you think.


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(@dogbite)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

bizarre. I think we're talking about two different things.
A shape (open A) is three fingers at the second fret.
if so, I dont play the low E. I simply pick shy of it.
the high E string is muting by my big fat fingers.
I leave the A string open, my index finger is pointing somewhere into space.
sorry for the mix up.

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(@bennett)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 297
 

As a relative beginner, I have personally found that the best way to begin achieving success with "A-shaped" barre chords is to use my ring finger to bar strings 4 through 2, and to have my index finger simply FRET (ie. no barring) the root note on the 5th string.

I then simply play strings 5 through 2. This requires a degree of control I initially didn't think possible with the strumming hand, but it's actually working. As time has gone on, my index finger is getting closer to naturally wanting to bar anyway. Nevertheless, I found this a good way of starting since it lets you focus on the ring finger barre first.

I hope this helps in some small way. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


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(@dogbite)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

you are limiting yourself if you use the ring finger to barre that A.
I use the index finger; it then allows my other fingers to stretch out and play the other strings around the chord....I get the 'boogie' thing going.
I always try to leave most of my fingers open to playing notes.

index on string 2-4 then my ring finger can get to fret four playing strings four and three.
then really stretching reach for fret five. try it and you'l hear something quite common. slide those two stretched fingers to fret five and seven and you have Smoke On The Water.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@bennett)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 297
 

you are limiting yourself if you use the ring finger to barre that A.
I use the index finger; it then allows my other fingers to stretch out and play the other strings around the chord....I get the 'boogie' thing going.
I always try to leave most of my fingers open to playing notes.

index on string 2-4 then my ring finger can get to fret four playing strings four and three.
then really stretching reach for fret five. try it and you'l hear something quite common. slide those two stretched fingers to fret five and seven and you have Smoke On The Water.
Hehe, I think we're all getting confused here. I'm talking about the A-shaped BARRE chords, not an OPEN A chord. ;)

For example (just to clarify):

B major chord = x2444x
C major chord = x3555x

I think this is what's being referred to as "A-shaped barre chords" as in the OP. :)

From little things big things grow - Paul Kelly


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(@steeder)
Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 17
 

Ok - I am confused, but I *think* I understand what everyone is talking about...

After re-reading all of the posts it looks to me (with only 15 months under my belt so take with a liberal grain of salt) like folks are talking about 3 distinct things in this thread:

1) The A shaped barre chord (also known as the "bane of my existance") where you barre the index at fret two (A through e strings & muting the low E) plus ring at fret 4 (D through B strings) = B chord
2) A regular open A chord at fret 2 (I play this with middle/ring/pinky)
3) E shaped barre chord where you barre all 6 strings at fret 5 + G string (middle) at fret 6 + A (ring) & D (pinky) at 7 = A Chord

Am I on track or missing something obvious?

Steed

"Confused in Cansas"


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(@dcmarshall)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 41
Topic starter  

Thanks Bennett. You've correctly described what I'm talking about - the "A Shaped Barre Chord" and not the "Open A Chord". I guess my problems, as much as anything, have to do with the "right hand control" of only striking the 5th, 4th, 3rd (and possibly 2nd) strings to produce that particular barre chord. Hopefully, as in everything related to guitar, with practice, this will become second nature.


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

this is wacked.

either it is an A barre chord or an A open chord.
what is this A shape business.

Im confused because someone posted making the A barre chord with the ring finger barreing.
that's crazy. the index bars and the other fingers shape the rest of the barre chord.

I think we all make barre chords in the same manner.

I better get outta here, as I think I am the one confused.

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(@dcmarshall)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 41
Topic starter  

OK, I sure someone more experienced than I can state this better, but here goes:

Open A Chord: xx222x

A Shaped Barre Chord: Root Note on the 5th String - movable up the fretboard
Example: x5777x (i.e. a "D" Chord in Barre Form)

E Shaped Barre Chord: Root Note on the 6th String - movable up the fretboard
Example: 577655 (i.e. an "A" Chord in Barre Form)

Dogbite, I think you're talking about the first example. My questions related to the second example. And we've all danced around the third example.

It is a wonder we can ever keep this stuff straight! Thanks again to all for the responses and the guidance.


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(@pauljohnson)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 6
 

Hey that's alot of talk on how to play a barre chord..
I say get some suggestions, try some, maybe your own and do
what feels natural. Making your own style and technique is what made some amazing
players. know of guys like Django Reinhardt who basically used two figures for everything!!
or Jeff Healey who's blind and plays over the top of the neck!! These guys are sick players and
they never did what any one told them. it's important to learn lots of different ways to do the same thing as
well as do what feels natural!

http://www.guitargrind.com Free Guitar Video Lessons - Just Opened!


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