Bar Chords On Guitar : A Guide for Guitar Teachers

Bar Chords offer guitar teachers an easy introduction to guitar music theory?

The ability to play (and understand how to locate?) Bar Chords can in some ways be regarded as the point where a player passes from the beginner to the intermediate stage of guitar playing? When looking at developing familiarity with Bar Chords  teaching and learning should not just be about “Where do I put my fingers?” but should become increasingly concerned with “How does the neck of the guitar work?”

By making our students aware of the names and locations of root notes on the (low) E and A strings we can help reinforce  the  concept of whole and half step intervals in a way that makes sense to them in a practical (rather than purely theoretical) way. Once our student can understand these two intervals they have the tools to study the theory that underpins scale and chord construction?

“The Bar Chord Root Finder” that comes as a part of the teachwombat materials is simply a representation of the guitar neck with the names of the notes to be found at each fret of the E and A strings on it. By “hanging” the relevant Major (or minor) bar chord shape from the root notes as required our guitar students can develop an understanding of the “map of the neck”

Bar Chords or Power Chords?

If bar chords seem like a step too far why not try “power chords”?

They will begin to realise that some notes are separated from their alphabetic neighbours by an interval of a whole step (for example C and D?) whilst others (B and C or F and E?) have only a single fret (a half step) between them.  From a technical point of view it can be a good idea to introduce full bar chords after students have spent some time mastering power chords as many of the same technical elements are involved but at a more basic and “novice friendly” level. Of course the “Bar Chord Root Finder” works in exactly the same way for (the technically less demanding) power chord shapes and will serve just as well as a way of helping to develop an understanding of how the neck of the guitar works.

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