The Lifted Barre Trick

Use this easy trick to transform barre chords like F into lush open chords you can play all over the fretboard!

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It would be great to see a module dedicated to songwriting on the guitar with different ways you can build a full arrangement - with examples of songs that use that particular technique

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Oooooo I LOVE this and it’s exactly the sound I want for a song I’ve had in my head for 2 years. I also found some more goodies with lifting some fingers here and there. Thankyou Justin.

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Sometimes I see a video pop up on Youtube but want to log in and find it here, but that’s not always easy! In this case I saw it as a new lesson. Criticism aside, it was a very fun lesson! I would point out that the Allman Brothers’ “Melissa” takes advantage of the progression from E to F#m/E to G#m/E. So simple to play and yet so beautiful. Justin, this would be a really good song for you to do a “how to play” video lesson.


I was trying to spice up the intro to Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game and tried this technique, but found it easier to switch between Major and Minor chords using the thumb up over the neck for the bass chords, I think it sounds well! Bm - A - E

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Hey there!

Foo Fighters have some songs with this kind of chords: “Stranger things have happened” – that one I’m 100% sure. Also “come alive”, almost sure. I thing Dave Grohl likes this trick a lot!


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A song that uses both major and minor chords of this type is ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ by Sandy Denny


An easy song to practice the Lifted Barre Trick is Sacrifice by Anouk, which has the same 4 chord progression throughout the song. If the finger picking parts are too hard you can use simple strumming instead.

This is a great one to transcribe as well.

Key & Chords - Spoiler
  • The chords you play are E major, B major, D major and A major.
  • Thinnest two strings are played open.
  • To play along with the record you’ll have to tune down to Eb.

Alice in Chains (Jerry Cantrell) uses this often


This seems like an ‘easier’ introduction into barre chords? Ie not having do the full barre

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George Harrison’s beautiful All Things Must Pass uses the reverse of a chord progression Justin mentions here - E, F#m, G#m, A.

A lesson on All Things Must Pass would make a great tie-in with this!


Great lesson. I found muting the base E string with my ring finger for the minor chords a bit hit & miss. Much easier for me was to use the floating middle finger to ensure the E string was muted.

great great song for it: i’m on fire, Bruce Springsteen.
You have E, A and B → sound perfectly well with this barre trick
Plus some challange C#M which is a barre chord wih fingers on a little bit different strings, but little practice and it works out great.

Welcome to the forum Ofer Great tune but it has a C#m(minor) not C#M(Major)

Thank you for this recommendation. This is a beautiful relatively easy song to play now that we know the lifted barre trick. Thank you, Andy and Justin! I would also love to see Justin do a lesson on this song.

I learned these grips playing Two Ghosts by Harry Styles. Great song!

Some great simple recommendations like George Harrison - All Things Must Pass. I’d also recommend Radiohead - High & Dry as a good practice song for this lesson. It includes the Open A barre chord and sliding minor chords. Better if you can refer to the Official Tab on Ultimate Guitar (or even on Rocksmith).

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Good tip. I will check out All Things Mist Pass as part of my practice routine for this lesson. Thanks!

Alice in Chains was already mentioned above, but their song No Excuses in particular uses lifted barre chords throughout and is just great fun.

If we include 5th-string root chords, Shimmer by Fuel is a really lovely song that uses C, D, and Em, all with open G and high e strings.

Great lesson. This trick sounds fab on Oasis Married with Children too.