How come my teacher's never told me about this simple chord relationship on the guitar?

I learned Barre chords very early from my teacher. The “dreaded” F chord that every beginner struggles with.

I soon learned the basics of the fretboard. Slide your E shape Barre to the third fret for G. Fifth fret for A. etc.

Then I learned the A shape Barre. Works the same way. C chord on the 3rd fret and D chord on the 5th.

I have always sucked changing from a E shape Barre to a A shape Barre. My fingers lift up and wave in the wind. Making fast chord changes difficult.

A lot of songs use a I IV V chord progression. Sometimes they use the ii or vi for a minor chord.

The lightbulb finally went off a few weeks ago. If you’re in the key of A and use a 5th fret E shape barre. Your IV chord, D is right there under your fingers in the A shape Barre.

Or if you’re in the key of D and use a 5th fret A shape barre. Your V chord is right there under your fingers in the E shape Barre.

It’s built into the instrument. :wink: All up and down the fretboard. Pick your root chord and you also know the IV or V.

I’ve been practicing several times a day moving back and forth between the E and A shape Barre chords. Getting my clumsy fingers to cleanly make the transition. I find 7 mins is ideal. I try to do it 5 times a day.

I always understood how Barre chords work. I just never made the connection between the root and IV chord or root and V chord on the same fret.

It’s easier to think of it that way instead of identifying the chord names.

I’m not a lead guitar player.

But this is basic knowledge for them. Playing notes from the scale of each chord.

Lead guitar players learn every position on the fretboard. Way beyond my studies.

Next step, is to practice a few I IV V songs using Barre chords instead of open Cowboy chords.

Get as comfortable as possible using Barre chords on a Acoustic guitar. (they’re much easier on an electric).

I need to get more versatile with Barre chords. Singing sometimes forces me to use keys that aren’t guitar friendly. I don’t want to fumble around moving a Capo before each song.

Hmm, that was probably in the first ten things taught to me as a bass player. I’m not saying that what it actually meant sunk in for a month or so, but it was right there in the stuff I was sent home with.

Of course, bass lessons are a lot more like lead guitar lessons than they are normal guitar lessons. My bass teacher also knew I had a rudimentary understanding of a stringed instrument from my sucking at violin in the lesson room next door before he was asked to educate this particular monkey. Frets at least cured my intonation issues. So, I probably got pushed into theory and other things a lot faster than some bass students. When I picked up a guitar again after some bass lessons, I didn’t bother learning much that didn’t involve some permutation of the A/E barre chord forms, with the easily available minor, minor/major/dominant 7th versions of them. I knew the major and minor of most other chords, but even then I would usually just play a barre of them. I didn’t learn much about those other forms for years because I knew how to mangle those two barre forms pretty well.

So, maybe they waited to tell you that in an attempt to keep you from playing how a half-educated bass player plays the guitar. :smiley:

I’m not saying I was wrong to learn the way I did, but I did stick to those shortcuts longer than I probably should have. It’s a good shortcut, and served me well. There’s lots of good primitive rock, country and blues written with nothing else.

I find it difficult to believe that this isn’t taught. I’m a keyboardist, and never took guitar lessons myself, so I don’t know what’s typical to teach, but I would think I-IV-V for barre chords and their positional relationships would be fairly elementary. Is this really not the case? I mean, if you learn I-IV-V in bar chords, I’m sure you’re taught you can move those up and down the fretboard, no? Or am I misunderstanding what you’re saying?

Well, I’d say it depends on who your teacher is. At least in the days of old, there were at least some teachers who had the idea that after you’d mastered every (ok, just about every) chord form in the first position, you’d then be ready to progress up the neck. I remember seeing their students with their acoustic guitars at the aforementioned music school. I don’t think I saw most of them more than a few times. It’s not a very fun way to learn, but that is the way at least some of the people taught it back in the day.

Disclaimer: I’ve never had an actual guitar lesson, only electric bass and violin lessons. From observation (the rooms had thin walls) and second hand tales, the guys who show up with electric guitars and wanting to play lead are taught different stuff.

I originally learned enough about the fretboard to get by.

I’m looking at it now with fresh eyes and starting to piece together the relationships of chords on the neck. I’ve started learning triads and where they are on the neck. Trying to up my game. :wink:

At some point I’ll take a course on scales and modes. I’m not in a hurry because I enjoy playing rhythm.

Here are the two ways of using E and A-shape barre chords to play a I-IV-V chord sequence with minimal movement up and down the neck of the guitar:

I - 5th fret/E shape barre = A major
IV - 5th fret/A shape barre = D major
V - 7th fret/A shape barre = E major

I - 5th fret/A shape barre = D major
IV - 3rd fret/E shape barre = G major
V - 5th fret/E shape barre = A major

While E and B shape barre chords are the most common, one can also use C, D and G shaped barres. One can use the acronym C-A-G-E-D to play the same chord in various positions along the guitar fretboard. Here are various positions to play a C major chord:

  1. C shape (fretted notes/strings low to high), x32010 = C major
  2. A shape, x-3-5-5-5-3 = C major
  3. G shape, 8-7-5-5-5-8 = C major (simplified version: xxx558)
  4. E shape, 8-10-10-9-8-8 = C major
  5. D shape, x-x-10-12-13-12 = C major

Then the cycle repeats with a C shape again: x-15-14-12-13-12

*Should be E and A

It really depends on the teacher. I took piano for 5 or 6 years when I was in grade school. I was never taught any (or very little) theory. It wasn’t until many, many years (decades even) that I was attempting to teach myself guitar and between the books I had and seeing how the fret board was laid out, I noticed the relationships between chords and how everything interacted with each other depending on the key you were in.
All things I was never taught in piano lessons, but picked up after a few weeks of buying a guitar and a beginner’s book.

Now, I can’t say that I would have been able to play piano better, but it would have at least made it easier.

Your teacher never told you about Chuck Berry?

See if you can make the A barre with two fingers, index and ring. If you never tried that maybe that’s why this seems so strange. It’s hard to make rock and roll without that. Toggling I and IV is the basis for a lot of it. You can only toggle with the two fingered barre.

Thank you for the tips.

I’m studying guitar on my own now from YouTube. It helps getting confirmation that I’m on the right track.

Well, that’s the thing. It seems easier to see these relationship on the guitar, as all you do with bars is move a chord progression up or down a fret. So if you have a song memorized with bar chords, all you have to do is move up or down a fret to change keys, but everything still stays in the same relationship to each other (until you run out of frets at the beginning or end of your fretboard, of course, then you have to rely on more knowledge of where all the chords are.) With piano, it’s a bit harder to see that A-D is the same relationship as G-C, as the notes beneath your fingers feel different. With guitar and bar chords, it just seems immediately intuitive, or it least it always was to me. I mean, you don’t have to know theory with bars–you just have to know that sliding it up some frets or sliding it down some frets preserves the chord progression and just changes the key. You don’t even have to think about what the chords are or what key you’re in (once again, unless you run out of frets to slide up or down.)

The “Nashville” method is just to call the key first, and then in the session refer to the chords by numbers only. The bass and guitar only need to move their playing up or down based on where I is.

Also to point out: Just the toggling between the E and A barres probably accounts for about 50% of AC/DC’s catalog.

So glad I started out taking piano lessons, where the relationships between notes and chords is so much more obvious. Need a seventh, hmmm, 8 full steps in an octave, oh, look, it’s literally one full step down from the octave.

I feel for the OP. Relationships are harder to “see” on the guitar. You really do have to memorize a lot of scales and notes. Tell me to hit a C above high C on a piano? ::PLUNK!:: On a guitar? Let’s see, when I play a C chord, the B string becomes a C when I put my finger here, so 8 steps up from *that… *hmm, this’ll take a while…

Weird. When playing bars, I find relationships much easier to see on a guitar than a piano. (If not playing bar chords, all bets are off.)

“How come my teacher’s never told me about…”

The response pretty much writes itself. :smiley:

Makes it a whole lot easier to play rapid blues changes, dunnit? Even easier if you don’t try to make your A shape with three fingers, but rather just barre those three strings with the pad of your pinky.

The one finger A Barre works good. The first string doesn’t ring out. But that note isn’t needed anyhow.

I use my ring finger. I’ll try the Pinky and see how that goes.

My hand isn’t big enough to move the C, G, and D shapes out of the open position. So am I just screwed?