We left this barre chord shape for last, as it's finger positioning is unique, and can be tricky. There are two ways to finger this chord - we'll cover both below.
Proper Barre Chord Fingering
The note being played on the fifth string is the chord root - let's play a D major chord - so try this chord at the fifth fret. Here is how to play the fifth string major barre chord:
- Very slightly bend your first finger and lay it flat across string five to one.
- Roll your finger back slightly towards the nut, so that the bony side (rather than the fleshy part) of your finger is coming into contact with the strings.
- Place your thumb in the middle of the back of the neck, underneath your first finger.
- Put downward pressure on the strings with your index finger while also exerting a small amount of upward pressure on the back of the neck with your thumb.
- Place your second finger on the seventh fret of the fourth string, your third finger on the seventh fret of the third string, and your fourth finger on the seventh fret of the second string.
- Your first finger is responsible for holding down notes on the fifth and first strings.
- Strum the D major chord. Beginners typically have a hard time with the note on the fourth string (getting their second finger to stretch) and the first string (their pinky from the second string touches the first string, muting it). Try to avoid both problems.
An Alternate Fingering Method for this Chord
Many guitarists "cheat" when playing this chord shape, and instead use their third finger to barre the notes on the fourth, third and second strings. When using this finger position, it becomes difficult to properly fret the note on the first string - it is often muted by the third finger. As this note is contained elsewhere in the chord, however, its inclusion often isn't essential. So, in cases where the note on the first string isn't important, you may want to use this method of playing the fifth string major barre chord.