May 7, 2020 by Klaus Crow
Today I have a great list of songs for learning and improving your bar chords. I’ll also show you how to apply bar chords to a song.
Once you have practiced open chords and spent some fair amount of time learning beginner songs you are ready to learn bar chords. While you can apply bar chords to any song you like, there are typical bar chord songs that are a perfectly suited for the bar chord practitioner.
For your first bar chord song it’s a good idea to use a combination of open chords and bar chords. Bar chords are a bit tricky in the beginning so start with a song and implement bar chords as well as the easier open chords. You can turn any chord into a bar chord, so pick one or two to start with. With practice you can gradually build up the amount of bar chords you put in a song. When you feel comfortable enough you can play your songs using solely bar chords.
There are four main bar chord shapes you can use in your songs: E-shape, A-shape, Em-shape and Am shape (see diagrams below).
The A-shape bar chord can be played in two ways: The A-shape (second diagram on the left) that uses the standard fingering and the A-shape (first diagram on the right) with the alternative fingering which is also a very popular one. Eventually you want to learn both of them.
You can move each bar chord shape up and down the neck which changes the name of the chord. This way you can play the bar chord shape in every key. A full explanation of this can be found in How to Play, Locate, Memorize and Practice Bar Chords
SETTING UP BAR CHORD PROGRESSIONS
By using the E-shape and A-shape you can play each bar chord in two ways. For example: The “C” chord can be played as an E-shape bar chord on the 8th fret or as an A-shape chord on the 3rd fret. They are both C chords only on a different position on the neck. (See Major and Minor Bar Chord Shapes lists below).
If you have a chord progression like / G / C / G / D / make sure you choose bar chord shapes that are positioned close to each other, so it’s easier to change from one chord to the next without having to slide all the way up or down the neck.
Let’s see which bar chord shapes to choose for the progression / G / C / G / D /. For the “G” chord pick E-shape on the 3rd fret, and then for the “C” chord choose A-shape on the 3rd fret and for the “D” chord choose “A-shape on the 5th fret). You can see these bar chord shapes can all be played pretty close to each other, which makes life easier.
Of course there are chord progressions where you might have to slide all the way up the neck, but try to make it as easy as possible. Here’s a list of bar chords to choose from ( 2 shapes for each chord) and use for your songs:
MAJOR BAR CHORD SHAPES
A chord = play E-shape on 5th fret or A-shape on 12th fret
Bb chord = play E-shape on 6th fret or A-shape on 1st fret
B chord = play E-shape on 7th fret or A-shape on 2st fret
C chord = play E-shape on 8th fret or A-shape on 3rd fret
C# chord = play E-shape on 9th fret or A-shape on 4th fret
D chord = play E-shape on 10th fret or A-shape on 5th fret
Eb chord = play E-shape on 11th fret or A-shape on 6th fret
E chord = play E-shape on 12th fret or A-shape on 7th fret
F chord = play E-shape on 1st fret or A-shape on 8th fret
F# chord = play E-shape on 2nd fret or A-shape on 9th fret
G chord = play E-shape on 3rd fret or A-shape on 10th fret
G# chord = play E-shape on 4th fret or A-shape on 11th fret
MINOR BAR CHORD SHAPES
Am chord = play Em-shape on 5th fret or Am-shape on 12th fret
Bbm chord = play Em-shape on 6th fret or Am-shape on 1st fret
Bm chord = play Em-shape on 7th fret or Am-shape on 2st fret
Cm chord = play Em-shape on 8th fret or Am-shape on 3rd fret
C#m chord = play Em-shape on 9th fret or Am-shape on 4th fret
Dm chord = play Em-shape on 10th fret or Am-shape on 5th fret
Ebm chord = play Em-shape on 11th fret or Am-shape on 6th fret
Em chord = play Em-shape on 12th fret or Am-shape on 7th fret
Fm chord = play Em-shape on 1st fret or Am-shape on 8th fret
F#m chord = play Em-shape on 2nd fret or Am-shape on 9th fret
Gm chord = play Em-shape on 3rd fret or Am-shape on 10th fret
G#m chord = play Em-shape on 4th fret or Am-shape on 11th fret
BAR CHORD SONGS LIST
Okay, “The Bar Chord Songs List” that what you came here for.
Most of the songs in the list below are originally played with bar chords or partly with bar chords. Some of the songs are actually played with open chords, but are a perfect match to play with bar chords.
Each song title contains a YouTube link to the original song. The “Chords” link will give you the chords and lyrics and the “More Chords” link will show the official chords and tablature. The list is broken down in two sections for beginners and intermediate guitar players. Below the list are some extra tips and tricks to improve your bar chord practice.
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Enjoy the songs and your practice!
BEGINNER BAR CHORD SONGS
1 – Lightning crashes – Live – Chords – More Chords
2 – Wicked game – Chris Isaak – Chords – More Chords
3 – Creep – Radiohead – Chords – More Chords
4 – This is the life – Amy McDonalds – Chords – More Chords
5 – I got you – Jack Johnson – Chords – More Chords
6 – Use somebody – Kings of Leon – Chords – More Chords
7 – I’ll be waiting – Lenny Kravitz – Chords – More Chords
8 – I’m yours – Jason Mraz – Chords – More Chords
9 – She moves in here own way – The Kooks – Chords
10 – Hotel California – The Eagles – Chords – More Chords
11 – Under the bridge – RHCP – Chords – More Chords
12 – Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix – Chords – More Chords
13 – I shot the sheriff – Bob Marley – Chords – More Chords
14 – Sitting on the dock of the bay – Otis Redding – Chords
15 – Valerie – Amy Winehouse – Chords
16 – No rain – Blind Melon – Chords – More Chords
17 – Sitting waiting wishing – Jack Johnson – Chords – More Chords
18 – Show me the way – Peter Frampton – Chords – More Chords
19 – Polly – Nirvana – Chords – More Chords
20 – Rockin’ in the free world – Neil Young – Chords – More Chords
INTERMEDIATE BAR CHORD SONGS
1 – Another brick in the wall – Pink Floyd – Chords – More Chords
2 – Cocaine – Eric Clapton – Chords – More Chords
3 – Driver’s seat – Sniff ‘n Tears – Chords
4 – Got my mind set on you – George Harrison – Chords – More Chords
5 – Locked out of heaven – Bruno Mars – Chords – More Chords
6 – Sultans of swing – Dire Straits – Chords – More Chords
7 – Lean on me – Bill Withers – Chords – More Chords
8 – Michel – The Beatles – Chords – More Chords
9 – Moonlight shadow – Mike Oldfield – Chords
10 – Roxanne – The Police – Chords – More Chords
11 – Hit the road jack – Ray Charles – Chords – More Chords
12 – Mr. Blue Sky – ELO – Chords – More Chords
BAR CHORD TIPS AND TRICKS
Bar chords seem challenging (sometimes almost impossible) in the beginning, but don’t worry it gets better with practice and eventually they become fun, super useful and even a necessity. So, hang in there, you got this!
Don’t practice the bar chords for hours on end until your fingers fall apart, but practice in short sessions (one or two songs) multiple times throughout the day.
Practice the Effective Exercises To Make Barre Chords Sound Clean. To learn to play bar chords properly and in a confident manner the exercises in the post above will help you get there faster.
If you want to search for more advanced bar chords shapes and types check out Yourguitarchords.com
Go get ‘m!
If you have any questions or remarks, please leave them in the comments below. I appreciate it.
Lightning crashes was my first bar chord song.
Keep up the good work.
Klaus Crow says
Lightning crashes is a great one to practice bar chords, because the strumming part is easy,
for the most part it has a B and F# major bar chord and an open E chord which makes it a perfect starter.
ilhan emecen says
Thank you. It was an informative post. I wish you success.
Klaus Crow says
Happy barring :)
Hi Klaus Crow,
This is a wonderful post. I am particularly interested in playing bar chords. This is a good guide for me. I am excited to practice.
Klaus Crow says
A lot of guitar players who use bar chords in songs tend to visualize where to go
from one place to the next on the neck, because when you’re just using E-shape and
A-shape bar chords they all look the same. Don’t fall into that trap. Memorize the chord names as well. If you’re playing a E-shape bar chord on the 7th fret, say “B chord” in your mind.
Brian Kelleher says
First thing I learned on the guitar was bar chords – wild thing. I think I was already playing in a punk band before I found out there were other chords.
Klaus Crow says
As the saying goes: “All roads lead to Rome”
Good for you Brian. Power chords and bar chords are the number one thing you need as a guitar player in a punk band. You did good. :)