Why Learn Bar Chords?

why-learn-bar-chordsMany guitar players are intimidated by the prospect of learning bar chords, and I’ve found there are two common reasons for this. Either they’ve tried playing a bar chord before, and found it very difficult, or they just don’t know where to start. How do you get around the neck, so as to put a chord on the fifth fret that has no relation to anything in the open position?

Bar chords present a few challenges, to be sure, but instead of magnifying the challenges today I’m going talk about the benefits of learning bar chords. Once you get a really good reason in you mind of why you would want to learn how to play bar chords, then the challenges will automatically seem less to you.

One of the biggest reasons is versatility. Bar chords give you the ability to create chords in places on the fretboard that you can’t otherwise, and this gives you new sounds and tones to play with. Bar chords played alongside open chords sound absolutely great, so this really helps strengthen you as a rhythm player. A rhythm player who knows his bar chords is able to play the same thing as the rest of the band, and yet in a different position, so instead of just adding to the noise, you’re actually adding a unique part that can shine through a little.

Bar chords open up the rest of the guitar to the rhythm player. Even if you don’t want to get into soloing or anything like that (although especially if you do!) you can become a stronger rhythm player by mastering your bar chords. You won’t be locked into the bottom four frets anymore…

Another reason to learn bar chords is that some chords simply can’t be played open, and they can be played as bar chords. Ever try playing an E flat major chord? It is so much easier if you know how to play it as a bar chord. Sure, that’s an uncommon chord, but there are quite a few others out there in the same boat.

For more reasons why you can benefit by learning bar chords, checkout this article.

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