How to play the E shape

Today, we’ll discover the secrets of the E shape within the CAGED system. 

You've probably strummed the E major chord countless times, but have you realized its potential as a moveable shape? 

Well, let's unleash that potential together. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Playing the E shape as a moveable chord
  • Identifying the root notes of this shape
  • Transposing the shape to play chords in any key

Playing the E shape as a moveable chord

We know the basic open E major chord, right? We’ll, to transform it into a moveable shape, we need to do two things:

  1. Learn to fret the E major chord without our index finder – this meaning using the middle, ring, and pinky fingers.
  2. Once we’ve freed up our index finger, we can use it a our "bar" to move the shape up the neck..

Now, let's move this shape. 

If you slide everything up one fret, you have to use your index finger to press down all the strings on the 1st fret, creating a bar

Congratulations, you've just played an F major chord using the E shape!

Locating the root notes

For our E shape, there are three root notes:

  1. The note on the low E string.
  2. The note on the D string.
  3. The high E string

If you move the shape to a new location on the neck and want to know what chord you’re playing, just figure out which note you’re playing in the low E string – just like you would for a powerchord.

For instance, if you move your bar to the 3rd fret (root note G), you're playing a G major chord using the E shape!

Transposing to any key

Learning the notes on the low E string will be your guiding light. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

  • 1st fret: F
  • 3rd fret: G
  • 5th fret: A
  • 7th fret: B
  • 8th fret: C
  • 10th fret: D

Now, let’s transpose! 🚀

  1. Want to play a B major chord using the E shape? Move to the 7th fret.
  2. How about a D major chord? Shift up to the 10th fret.

Yes, it’s really that simple! 

As you get more comfortable, you’ll swiftly move this shape around, and your chord repertoire will expand dramatically.

Final thoughts and practice tips

  1. Practice moving: Start by moving short distances, like between E and F (open position and 1st fret). Gradually make larger leaps as your ability increases.
  2. Stay relaxed: Bar chords can be taxing – keep your grip relaxed, and remember to take regular  breaks.
  3. Listen: Always listen carefully to ensure all strings ring out clearly.

The world of moveable chord shapes is exciting – every shape you know can be used anywhere on the neck! 🤯 

You've unlocked another door with the E shape,turning one chord, into 12! 

Embrace the journey, and always enjoy the process. Music is about expression, exploration, and most importantly – fun. 

Our next stop on the CAGED system journey will be the mighty D shape. Keep those fingers nimble, and see you there!

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