Intermediate Chords

The ten barre chord shapes

Five minor and five major shapes

Watch These Videos

Five major barre chord shapes

How to turn your open position chords into barre chords

In order to play more chords than the first ten open position chords, you can use your index finger to barre the strings.

By doing this you replace the nut of the guitar and have created moveable barre chord shapes.

To learn how to fret these barre chords we can use an exercise called the cycle of 4th.

As you play the chords, say the name of them out loud as this will teach you all the notes on the neck at the same time.

The intermediate course goes into all the details about how to do this. As well as playing the full shapes as I do in the videos, you must also play fractions of the chord shapes.

Do this and your major and minor barre chord shapes will map out the entire fretboard.

Watch These Videos

Five minor barre chord shapes

Just like with the open position chords, to create the five minor shapes, we must find the third interval of each chord shape and move it down one fret.

These five shapes are really important as you’ll use them to visualize the fretboard.

You can’t see it in these video lessons, but the real secret behind playing barre chords is to play fractions of them. Not to play any of the big clunky full barre chord shapes.

The best way to learn how to do this is by playing famous songs in a well worked out and planned order.

Wouldn’t it be great if this was all done for you, maybe with step by step instructions?

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Hey There Delilah – Step 1

In this first step, we learn how to play the verse and chorus from Hey There Delilah, just like on the original recording.

Use the TAB loops to master these two relatively simple sections of the song.

Go to Hey There Delilah Step 1.

Mad World – Step 1

To learn how to play Mad World, we start by looking at the verse. First, practice all examples to the loop as the TAB display, then start improvising the patterns.

This composition is in Dorian, which means chord II is our home.

Go to Mad World Step 1.

Whistle For The Choir – Step 1

We are back playing a song again, well, almost.

In this step, we go through all the areas you can play this song in for the key of A.

Go to Whistle For The Choir Step 1.

Blowin’ In The Wind – Step 1

In this step, we learn the verse of Blowin’ In The Wind using a capo on fret 2.

What you’ll hear is in the key of D, however, you must think as if in the key of C.

Go to Blowin’ In The Wind Step 1.

Kiss Me – Step 1

In this step, we actually start playing the song.

First up are the intro, instrumental, verse sections which all use the progression: Maj – maj7 – dom7 – maj7 on a loop.

Go to Kiss Me Step 1.

Babylon – Step 1

Today we finally start working on a song again!

It’s Babylon by David Gray and of course, it does have a hammer-on and pull-off lick in it.

Go to Babylon Step 1.

Fast Car – Step 1

In this first step, we learn how to play the two guitar parts that make up the original verse of Fast Car.

Complete this step and you’ll realize that just working out the original part is not enough if you want to learn how to actually write something like this.

Go to Fast Car Step 1.

Angie – Step 1

In the first step of how to play Angie, we look at how to strum the verse and chorus.

Use the TAB loops to practice each section individually.

Go to Angie Step 1.

American Pie – Step 1

It’s time to discover how one of the world’s most legendary songs was put together.

Let’s put Don McLean’s American Pie under the microscope, we start with the chorus.

Go to American Pie Step 1.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 1

In this firsts step, we learn two extremely detailed TAB examples which are exact transcriptions of what I play in the video with the singer.

Out of all 8 steps, this is by far the most difficult. It is also the most complex lesson so far in this course.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come Step 1.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 1

Before we start exploring how to play Sunny Afternoon I want you to gain a firm understanding of the triplet feel.

To achieve this we play the sweeping exercise using 12/8, shuffle, and swing rhythms.

Go to Sunny Afternoon Step 1.

Dreadlock Holiday – Step 1

In this first step, we play the intro, the verse and the bridge of this pop-reggae classic by 10cc.

A few chords in this one guitar arrangement are not correct. Find out what we can learn from this.

Go to Dreadlock Holiday Step 1.

I’m Yours – Step 1

Let’s find out how to write a hit melody! The secret is in rhythmic repetition and how the intervals relate to the chords.

To understand this we start by studying the nursery rhyme Itsy Bitsy Spider, which is actually more complex than I’m Yours.

Go to I’m Yours Step 1.

Red – Step 1

In the first step, we look at how to play the verse of Red as played in this one acoustic guitar arrangement.

The tempo has been lowered from 92 to 78 BPM and the overall feel is very different from the original.

Go to Red Step 1.

Starman – Step 1

In this first step, we look at the intro with its unique Bbadd#11 chord and the much more common Fmaj7.

Following this, we also work on the verse which has an unusual order of common chords from the key of F. TAB loops are available for everything.

Go to Starman Step 1.

I Can’t Stand The Rain – Step 1

In this first step, we look at how to play the main riff in the key of A.

To learn from it we study the intervals, play it in five areas of the neck as well as consider hammer on’s, bends, slides and pull off’s.

Go to I Can’t Stand The Rain Step 1.

Related Pages


All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

We’ll use this to map out the entire fretboard. Everything becomes easier to visualize once this foundation is laid.

Go to Intermediate Guitar Exercises.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fretboard.

Go to Intermediate Guitar Course.


Learn how to play famous intermediate songs.

A Change Is Gonna Come, American Pie, Angie, Babylon, Blowin’ In The Wind, Dreadlock Holiday, Fast Car, Hey There Delilah, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I’m Yours, Kiss Me, Mad World, Red, Starman, Sunny Afternoon, and Whistle For The Choir.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.


A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

Go to Monthly Subscription.