At this point in the barre chord quest, we will be tackling the third shape, the Em chord shape. However, there is still a lot to be done on the previous shapes to get them sounding confident and clear, so in the song at the end of this course, we use all three shapes to keep you working hard! If you love a bit of soulful, then you're in for a treat...
Our third chord shape is based on the Em open chord. The easiest way to learn this chord is by taking the E shape major barre chord and removing the second finger. The tricky bit, however, is then getting the G string to ring out nice and clearly! It will take some work, so don't be put off if you can't get it the first time, not many people do! The shape can be found in the fretboard diagram.
When practising this chord, as well as moving it around the neck, make sure you push down hard and it sounds as clear as possible. Remember that this chord shape is always a minor chord, but depending on what fret you place it on, you get a different root note. For example, if you put the shape on the 3rd fret you get a G Minor chord. If you put it on the 7th fret you get a B minor chord, and so on! Here is the chord progression to play:
If you are unsure as to where these chords are, see the fretboard diagrams for the shapes.
Now that we have an E shape minor barre chord and an A shape minor barre chord, it is worth talking about why we need both of them. As we mentioned before, with either of those shapes you can play any minor chord you want, so if that’s the case why bother learning two shapes?! Well, the answer is twofold:
Let’s say that you had a chord progression that went Am /// G /// Dm /// Am ///. This is a very common progression and one you will definitely have to play at some point. If you started the A minor chord using the E shape version, you would be on the 5th fret. If you then used only the E string version to play the rest of the chords, you’d get these shapes, which can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
As you can see, the jump from G major to D minor takes you a long way up the fretboard! This is really not what you want to be doing, especially if you are singing at the same time! You are far better off moving the Dm chord onto the A string and using the following shapes, which also can be found in the fretboard diagrams.
The other key point is that you may prefer the sound of one chord over another. If you have a D minor chord to play, using these barre chords, you can play one on the 5th fret A string or one on the 10th fret E string. As the latter is higher up the fretboard you will get a different vibe and tone from it than the A shape chord which is further down. So the second point is that creatively you may want one or the other.
Our third barre chord song is a minor 12 bar blues! The song is based in a 6/8 time signature, which will be the first test. Beyond that, the song uses a combination of all 3 barre chord shapes we have learnt so far on the course. The good news is the song is relatively slow, so you have plenty of time to get the changes right! Listen to the song and then move onto the next lesson.
We will start by looking through the rhythm part of the song. We need to get a grasp of the 6/8 time signature, and for the purpose of this video, we will be learning a classic minor blues guitar pattern. In the fretboard diagrams, you will find the B minor chord we are using as well as the 6/8 strumming pattern.
Let's now take a look at the chord chart and where we will play this selection of chords. The great thing about any blues track is the repetitive nature of it, and this track is no different! So, once you have learnt the section below, you simply loop it 4 times for the track. The chords can be found in the fretboard diagrams, as well as the chord chart as shown below.
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