A Minor Shape Barre Chords (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 12:36Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:32) Musical Introduction Welcome back to the basic guitar series with Mark Lincoln! Get your guitar out and get ready to learn!
Chapter 2: (07:37) Warm-up, Type 2 Minor Barre Chords Before moving on with the lesson be sure to review and warm-up by doing the following:
- Warm-up the hands.
- Stretch the wrists.
- Play the major and minor open chords.
- Warm up your strumming muscles by relaxing the wrists and letting the pick flow over the strings.
- Play the E major chord with the "new" fingering and play the type 1 barre chords.
- Play the A major chord with the "new" fingering and play the type 2 barre chords.
- Practice the "slanting A" technique.
- Practice the type 1 minor barre chords.
We are now ready to move on!

Okay! So we've been talking about the formation of barre chords, and you'll remember from last week that the Em chord is the central configuration for the formation of the type 1 minor barre chords. Remember to finger the Em in the "new" way to facilitate playing the barre chords. Now, play an Am chord in the "new way":


Put your middle finger on the B-string first fret, your third finger on the D-string second fret, and your pinky on the G-string second fret. I don't think I have to tell you where we're going from here. Remember where your half a whole steps are, and away we go!

Move up two frets or a whole step in order to make the B minor chord:


Notice that the Am chord shape is present but on the third and fourth frets of this chord. Try to use the finger glue technique and simply slide the Am configuration up to the third and forth frets without pulling your hand off of the neck of the guitar. Also, because this chord is played on the A D G B and E strings, you’ll notice that the low E-string has an "X" beside it, indicating it should not be played at all. All of the type two barre chords, whether they be major or minor, are played in this fashion. Try to barre strings A D G B and E (the high E string) if you can. Otherwise, just play the high E string. You should notice at this point that if you play the Bm chord holding down just the high E rather than barring A D G B and E, it is identical to the chord that I initially showed you when we began talking about the open chords. Let's play the Cm now:


Once again, notice the placement of the Am configuration. This time however, it occurs at the fourth and fifth frets. Try to slide your hand up from the Bm chord into this new position without removing your hand from the fretboard. I hope you remembered that the change to Cm should only be a half step up or one fret from the Bm!

Here's Dm, which as you should know by now, is a whole step up from the Cm. It looks like this:


As usual, the numbers refer to the appropriate frets to be held down in case you get confused.

Chapter 3: (04:28) Exercises Exercise 1
Play Am in the "new way” leaving your first finger free to form barre chords. Use this strum: or "down-up down-up." Don't forget to use the "snap strum" technique. Envision your strumming hand as if it were on a giant rubber band. Play this chord until you become comfortable with the "new way" of forming it and also become more comfortable with the snap strum. After playing the "down up" strum, be sure to experiment and try strumming patterns of your own.

Exercise 2
Play the Am chord in the "new way" and then play the Bm, Cm and Dm chords without taking your hand off of the fretboard. Make sure you remember where the half and whole steps occur: between B and C and E and F (I know, I know, you're tired of me telling you that!). Play this exercise with this strum: or, you guessed it, "down down-up down." Make sure that you're making good contact with the fretboard and you're not producing too much fret buzz or muting sounds. Remember that you can check where the problem is coming from if you are having one by playing the strings individually. Try to keep your fingers as perpendicular to the neck as possible.

Exercise 3
Play the Am chord then the E major chord both in the "new way." Use the strumming pattern of your choice. Focus on making good contact with the fretboard and producing a solid tone. Play Am four times and then E four times alternating between the two chords. I'm hoping that you'll notice that the fingering configuration is the same between the Am and the E major - just on different sets of strings.

**Note: The configuration of the type 1 major barre chord and the configuration of the type 2 minor marre chord are the same. Watch what I mean.

Here is the type 1 barre for A major:

A Major

And here is the type 2 barre for Dm:

Dm 5th

Do you see that the configurations are identical except for the fact that the A is played on the E A D G B and E strings, and the Dm is played on the A D G B and E strings? Pay attention to this observation as it's easy to mix-up type 1 majors with type 2 minors. Watch which strings are being held down. If you get confused, go back and play either the E major or the Am as a reminder of where your hand should be.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

kangelovkangelov replied

I find it much easier to play the "sloped A" with my second finger than the third. This is the case even low on the neck where the frets are large. Is this an acceptable playing style? Will I need my second finger for something else?

lordspudlordspud replied

are the two bar chords type one bar chords but with the pinky and 3rd finger up one string

daniel garciadaniel garcia replied

Hey Mark, I discovered that I have this one problem playing barre chords...I had fractured my wrist in the past and now it doesn't twist all the way like my right hand does anymore and it makes it extremely difficult to play the barre chords. I know its an oddly specific question but do you know of anybody else that has had a problem like this but was still able to play fine?

sputy777sputy777 replied

Hey Mark, will you be teaching us the song in the Chapter 1: (00:32) Musical Introduction later on in this lesson or do you have the Tab to it? Thanks. This is a great course! Mike

quintinquintin replied

hey mark... ill bet you have had this question before , so forgive me for asking it again . why do you choose to tune down a half step ? thanks Q

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Quintin, usually I tune down to accommodate my voice, which gives me a little more room to hit the high notes. Sorry if it confused you. Mark

gordoncgordonc replied

Big AHA moment ... thanks Mark. Been learning the song Make You Feel My Love (Dylan but more recently by Adele). Chords go G to D to F to C to Cm then G. Was having problems getting from Cm to G until I suddenly realised that I was in the third fret for Cm on a type two barre chord and simply needed a smooth move of the fingers to stay in the third fret for a type one G chord. By George I think I've got it ... as they say in the best old films !

sidksidk replied

i like you lessons but i have an electric guitar. can i use it to learn your lessons?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Sidk, yes you can definitely use your electric even though some things will sound a little different. Thanks for writing in! Mark

robin53robin53 replied

Mark, really getting a lot from the lessons, and have a question. It has to do with how one is supposed to use the thumb behind the neck of the guitar - apply pressure, where is thumb sitting etc. I know that a lot of my problem right now is building strength in my hands again after so many years of not playing. But I don't want to practice in some ergonomically unproductive way. Maybe you talk about this in future lessons, or maybe someone asked in some past lesson. If so, sorry to make you repeat. Thanks, Robin

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Robin how are you? Many classical players will attest to the fact that the most productive place for the thumb is always straight up and down behind the neck of the guitar. This facilitates the most accessible placement of your hand on the fretboard but...........most players I know tend to move the thumb as they need to in order to make chords. I personally think it's okay to have your thumb straight up and down or off to the side as my hand dictates. Again, many purists might disagree with this but after playing for over twenty years, it seems that what I'm doing is working so I'm sticking with it. Thanx for writing and good luck with your playing! Mark

audreybakeraudreybaker replied

Hi Mark, I double checked and you did say the low E string. It's in Scene 2, at minute 3:09. Not trying to be nit-picky, just want to understand how to properly do the barre chords. I'm really enjoying your lessons! Audrey

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hi Audrey thanks for getting back with me. To be perfectly honest, I may have made a mistake or I may have been talk about playing what I like to call mini-bar chords but.......as a general rule of thumb, when you are playing the Type 1 bar chords (E-shaped bar chords) you will need to hold down some bass note which is usually the low E string, or what often becomes the root of the chord. If you are playing the Type 2 bar chords (A-shaped) then in order to get a clean sound you would usually try and avoid touching the high E string unless you were simply avoiding strumming the high E altogether. Nevertheless, I'm not exactly sure what I was referring to in the video and it may simply have been a mistake on my part and if that is the truth then I wholeheartedly apologize! Thanks for keeping me on my toes though...take care. Mark

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Hey Audrey thanks for writing in! I believe that I said to avoid the "high" E string when barring but maybe you could double check that and let me know. Maybe I was off on that! Regardless, if you could double check it for me and let me know I would really appreciate it, thanks! Mark

audreybakeraudreybaker replied

Hi Mark, In Scene 2 you mentioned that when making the barre, you should try to avoid holding down the low E string if possible. Why is that? Thanks, Audrey

ablazich323ablazich323 replied

yeah agreed, this is starting to pull everything together now

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied

Thanks Alshy good to hear from you! mark

alshyalshy replied

hi mark its starting tio get very intresting now great lesson

Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learning the basics of the guitar, the building blocks if you will, is an extremely important step in learning and mastering the guitar. This series is all about the basics.

Guitar BasicsLesson 1

Guitar Basics

This lesson is all about the basics. Mark explains guitar parts, holding the guitar, and more.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Tuning, Gear, and ChordsLesson 2

Tuning, Gear, and Chords

Mark begins by discussing equipment every guitarist should own. Then, he introduces chords and proper tuning methods.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Chords and StrummingLesson 3

Chords and Strumming

Mark finishes his discussion of the "open" chords. He applies these chords to basic rhythm and strumming concepts.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Minor Chords and MoreLesson 4

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Length: 25:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Expanding ChordsLesson 5

Expanding Chords

Mark introduces a few more minor chords. He also provides a monster chord exercise.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Strumming ExercisesLesson 6

Strumming Exercises

Mark Lincoln continues his discussion of chords and strumming. He introduces several new exercises in this lesson.

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Music Theory and Barre ChordsLesson 7

Music Theory and Barre Chords

Mark covers several topics in this lesson. He explains scales and barre chords. He also demonstrates how to find notes on the fretboard.

Length: 21:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
E Shape Barre ChordsLesson 8

E Shape Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln covers E shaped barre chords in greater depth. Mark refers to these chords as "Type 1" barre chords.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Shape Barre ChordsLesson 9

A Shape Barre Chords

Mark covers the A Shape / Type 2 barre chords in greater depth.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Barre ChordsLesson 10

Minor Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords that utilize the shape of the "open" Em chord.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Minor Shape Barre ChordsLesson 11

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Length: 12:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mini Barre ChordLesson 12

Mini Barre Chord

Mark demonstrates abbreviated versions of the "Type 1" and "Type 2" barre chords. He calls these "mini barre" chords.

Length: 17:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Shape Mini BarreLesson 13

A Shape Mini Barre

Mark teaches the "mini barre" version of the A major shaped barre chord. He also explains dissonance.

Length: 20:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor Mini Barre ChordsLesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln applies mini-barre chord concepts to minor chords.

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar TechniqueLesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Guitar DynamicsLesson 16

Guitar Dynamics

Mark Lincoln explains how dynamics can enhance your playing. He covers topics such as volume, tempo, rests, and more.

Length: 27:48 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Transistion StrumsLesson 17

Transistion Strums

Mark Lincoln explains more about guitar technique. This time around he introduces "transition strums" and continues his discussion of liquid chords.

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Harmonic TechniqueLesson 18

Harmonic Technique

Mark Lincoln explains what harmonics are and how they are played.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Expanding Liquid ChordsLesson 19

Expanding Liquid Chords

Mark Lincoln expands on the concept of liquid chords. He explains new chord variations and how they can be changed in mid-strum.

Length: 16:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Spicing up ChordsLesson 20

Spicing up Chords

Mark demonstrates how chord progressions can be spiced up by adding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Chord FingeringLesson 21

Chord Fingering

Mark explains how chord fingerings must be altered when applying "liquid chord" concepts. He also provides a few new "liquid chord" exercises.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Precision StrummingLesson 22

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Length: 14:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
D to D in Six StepsLesson 23

D to D in Six Steps

Mark provides a chord progression that shifts from one D chord to another in six steps.

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Voicings and ConstructionLesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Quantitative and Qualitative ChangesLesson 25

Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Mark tests your guitar knowledge with a pop quiz. Then, he discusses quantitative and qualitative changes.

Length: 22:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Quantitative and Qualitative ReviewLesson 26

Quantitative and Qualitative Review

In the 26th installment of his basic guitar series, Mark reviews the quantitative and qualitative changes he presented in lesson 25.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Rhythm and GuitarLesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

Mark provides exercises designed to make you a better rhythm player.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Expanded Rhythm ExerciseLesson 28

Expanded Rhythm Exercise

Mark Lincoln expands on the rhythm exercise from lesson 27. This time around he incorporates several C based chords.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Hand StructureLesson 29

Hand Structure

Mark discusses proper playing technique. He provides a few exercises that facilitate right hand mechanics.

Length: 17:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Cadd9 and Dsus2Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

Mark provides an exercise that features two new chords - Cadd9 and Dsus2.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Finger Glue and Flexibility Lesson 31

Finger Glue and Flexibility

In the 31st lesson, Mark discusses his "finger glue" technique. This technique improves speed and accuracy.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Reviewing Chord ChangesLesson 32

Reviewing Chord Changes

Mark takes a step back in lesson 32 to explain how to make quick and accurate chord changes.

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SlidingLesson 33


Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

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Keeping Time While PlayingLesson 34

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Minor ProgressionLesson 35

A Minor Progression

Mark discusses qualitative and quantitative changes within an A minor progression.

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Chord TransistionsLesson 36

Chord Transistions

Mark Lincoln discusses several techniques that can be used when transitioning between chords.

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Transistions RevisitedLesson 37

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In this lesson, Mark once again covers the subject of chord transitions. This time around, he focuses on barre chords and includes several helpful exercises.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Playing Individual NotesLesson 38

Playing Individual Notes

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Length: 22:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Rocking OutLesson 39

Rocking Out

Lesson 39 is all about rocking out. Mark discusses some tips to take your playing to the next level.

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Slash ChordsLesson 40

Slash Chords

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

Length: 14:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Strumming from the WristLesson 41

Strumming from the Wrist

In lesson 41, Mark reviews the warm-up section and provides new tips on playing adequately from the wrist.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Raising the BarreLesson 42

Raising the Barre

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Building on Your Chord KnowledgeLesson 43

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Experiment With PlayingLesson 44

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DiversifyingLesson 45


In this lesson, Mark once again talks about changing up chord derivatives to create a more unique sound.

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Shaping the HandsLesson 46

Shaping the Hands

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Precision StrummingLesson 47

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Shine Like the SunLesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

Mark Lincoln teaches an original song entitled "Shine Like the Sun."

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Changing Chords : Accuracy and SpeedLesson 49

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Length: 30:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings Lesson 50

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In this lesson, Mark guides you through the world of alternate chord voicings. He teaches several shapes and shows how they can be used to enhance your playing.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Understanding Liquified ChordsLesson 51

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing.

Length: 25:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mark Lincoln

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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