Click here to download a PDF file of Intro to Barre Chord Theory.

The second most common barre chord shape is the “A Shape”. This is the way I normally play an A major chord:

A Major Chord

There are various ways to play this chord. It really doesn’t matter how you play it now, because we are going to free up our 1 finger to act as our temporary capo, then fret the strings 2, 3, and 4 in the second fret like this:

Now we will slide it up the fret board and add the barre. Notice how each major chord is changed by half-step increments:

Bb

Bb

B

B

C

C

C#

C#

D

D

Any way we modify an A chord, we can modify the A shape barre chord, and alter each barre chord accordingly. Thus we can use an Am shape, and then move it up the fretboard to create minor chords. We can call this the “Am shape”. Look at the images below:

Am

Am

Am Shape

Am Shape

Bbm - 1st fret (Am Shape)

Bbm - 1st fret (Am Shape)

Dm - 5th fret (Am Shape)

Dm - 5th fret (Am Shape)

Em - 7th fret (Am Shape)

Em - 7th fret (Am Shape)