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How to Play Root 6 & Root 5 Barre Chords on Guitar

Learn how to play Root 6 and Root 5 barre chords from guitarist Adam Smale in this online fingerstyle guitar lesson from Howcast.


So root 6, root 5 bar chords. Let me explain that to you. R in the R5 and R6 stands for root. So the 5 or the 6 means which string you're on. So R6 means I'm going to play a chord that has the root on the sixth string. R5 would be I'm going to play a chord that has the root on the fifth string. Basically, that's it.

Now, there's two chord shapes that are based on this concept of R5 and R6, and that is your E major shape [plays chords while explaining] and your A major shape. So the E chord, that we all know open, we'll consider this lowest note as our root note, because it's on the sixth string. What we're going to do is take this shape and move it up one fret, but switch our fingers around so that we're using fingers two, three, and four to create that same shape. And then now bar it at the first fret.

So now, my first finger is now holding down an F chord. So now this is no longer an E major chord, but an F major chord. If I slide back, I'm playing E major. Go up one fret, F major. And every time I move up one fret, I get a new chord. F sharp major, G major, A-flat major, A major, and on and on and on and on, if you keep sliding that shape up. That's your R6 chord.

Your R5 chords are based around your A major shape. Same concept applies. You're going to take that shape, move it up. And you can either do two things. You can switch your fingers around so you're using two, three, and four, and bar it, and that works great when you're down here in the lower area of your guitar neck, because the frets are further apart. But it doesn't work so good as you climb up the neck. As you know, your frets get closer and closer together, so it's getting harder and harder to cram three fingers into one fret space. So the other alternative is to just use one finger. Since you have three notes that line up on the same fret on adjacent strings, why not just use one finger? So essentially, you get that same shape, but just by using one finger. So we're moving the A shape -- our R5 chord shape -- and we're moving it up.

Now, the really good exercise for you to figure out what chord you're playing; always base the root note off whatever string you're playing. So remember: R5 is going to be off the A major shape. R6 is going to be off the E major shape. And there you have R5 and R6 chords.

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