Here’s some Barre Chord Shapes – The A-string rooted Bar Chords Explained.

Barre Chords pt.2

We’re going to blast through this chapter. These next 2 barre chords share the exact same concepts and approach. However, we will be using 2 fresh finger shapes, both of which are rooted from the A-string.

Quite simply, we’re going to play what you know already – an A Major and A Minor chord in their ‘open positions’ and just move them up 1 fret. Boom! Same chordal structure, that gets a different finger shape and therefore, providing us with a new chord.

So, by playing your A major and your A minor chordal shapes up 1 fret with these new fingerings, you’ll simply be playing an A# major chord and an A# Minor chord. This is because our root note is now on the 1st fret of the A string instead of our ‘open A’.

*because of those “enharmonics” that you learned about in the previous chapter on “notes on the fretboard”, these could also be called Bb major chord and a Bb Minor chord .

These charts below show the major and minor barre chord shapes that are played when starting on the A string.  Just like the major and minor shapes for the E string, these are simply a way to give the same chord, a different sound.

Caption: Don’t worry if your high
E string doesn’t ring clear on this
major shape. 4 notes is sufficient for
this chordal shape!

Very soon (if not already!), you’ll be able to play any major and any minor chord starting from your A string using these shapes and your knowledge of the notes on the fretboard. See if you can find a D Major barre chord starting from your A-string and compare it to your D major open position chord. And hey, while you’re at it – why not find a D major chord starting from your E-string major barre chord position!


  • Play the A major barre chord shape from the 5th fret of the A string to get a D major.
  • Play the E-major barre chord shape from the 10th fret of the low E-string to get a D major.
  • Play the ‘open position D major chord, you’d use that shape we’ve played a lot like in songs like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – (They are all the same chord!)

To Sum Up Barre Chords On The A-String

  • On these A string rooted barre chords, you do not play the low E string.
  • On the major shape, it’s nearly impossible to let the high e-string ring with the 3rd finger barre – so honestly, don’t worry about it! Just get 4 strings to ring clearly (the A, D, G, B strings). Additionally, you don’t have to barre your first finger – only your 3rd finger barres.
  • Some people find it best to mute the low E-string by touching it with the tip of their first finger while playing these A-string rooted barre chord shapes.
  • There is a power chord inside of each barre chord shape. You can think of any of the 4 barre chord shapes as “extensions of power chords”.
  • You will find your A Major and A Minor chordal shapes inside of these A-string rooted barre chords.
  • Barre just means using one finger to hold down strings.

Thanks for checking out the video and article of A Shape Barre Chords | Part II: Bar Chords Explained. 

If you like what you see, get access to our full length, free beginner guitar course “5 Minute Guitar” at 

And check out our other guitar products like our 1-on-1 webcam lessons, books, courses and more at 

Thanks and keep on rippin it! – Will Ripley & Mike B