How to Play the E Major Guitar Chord (alternatives, charts, fingering)

How to Play the E Major Guitar Chord (alternatives, charts, fingering)

The E major guitar chord is a vital chord to master. You will certainly utilize this chord in several songs, so learning it well is really important in order to play songs on the guitar.

In this post, I will give you several ways to tackle the E major chord in case you're a newbie. Additionally, you will find more difficult variations of the E major guitar chord at the bottom of the post, as well as the barre chord version.

We should start off with some music theory about the E major guitar chord.

Chords are comprised of 3 notes, which means you need to play 3 notes in order to form the E major chord. All these notes are derived specifically from the E major scale.

Which notes make up the E major chord?

The E major guitar chord is comprised of notes E, G#, and B.

You will find a number of chord charts in this post. The numbers on the dots will indicate which finger on your fretting hand goes where:

  • The 1st finger is your index finger
  • The 2nd finger will be the middle finger
  • The 3rd finger will be the ring finger
  • The 4th finger will be the pinky

In case you're not used to reading chord charts as of yet, learn them first.

chord-finger-numbers

Quickly learn how to hold down the E major chord on guitar

Here are several ways to play the E major chord on the guitar.

Quick tip: a great way to learn a brand new chord is to make use of the chord-on/chord-off technique. You just hold down the chord, strum the strings, let it go, and do it again.

Play every single voicing loads, and you will definitely master them soon enough.

Simplest E major chord for inexperienced players

This is actually the most simplified way to form the E major guitar chord. As you will observe on the chord chart below, you only need 1 finger to play this chord shape.

Easy E major chord fingering

E Major Guitar Chord Finger Position

Here is how to play the E major chord:

  • Place your 1st finger onto string G at fret 1.
  • The highest 2 strings are played open.
  • The lowest 3 strings are not played.

Now pluck each note in the chord, and ensure all of the notes are ringing cleanly.

Great job, you just played the E major chord!

E Guitar Chord 2

The sound may seem slightly thin, but that is because you are playing only a couple of strings. Fuller sounding variants of the E major are to follow.

Standard E major chord

This variation of the E major chord is somewhat trickier, but it sounds far fuller. Provided you can form the simple alternative mentioned earlier, you may want to start learning this voicing also.

Full E major chord fingering

E Major 3 Guitar Chord Finger Position

Here is how to finger the full variant of the E major chord:

  • Place your 1st finger on string G at fret 1.
  • Now put the 2nd finger on string A at fret 2.
  • Your 3rd finger will go to string D at fret 2.
  • All other strings are played open in this chord.

Strum the chord, and make certain all notes are clean.

This is the most common chord fingering of the E chord on the guitar.

E Guitar Chord 4

When you hear someone exclaim "Play the E major chord", this is most likely the fingering that they are pertaining to.

E major guitar chord variation

So here's another variant of the E major chord, this is a popular one also.

E major chord alternate voicing

E Major 2 Guitar Chord Finger Position

Here are the finger positions to this voicing of the E major, it is derived from the standard E chord shape.

  • Put your first finger on string G at fret 1.
  • Now place the second finger on string D at fret 2.
  • The low E and A strings are not played with this voicing.

And as always, strum the chord and make sure the chord rings out nicely.

E Guitar Chord 3

At this point you know three ways you can fret the E major, good job!

More variations of the E major guitar chord

There are in fact many versions of the E major, you just taught yourself the most used ones.

Below are the chord charts to various other variations of the E major chord.

Under what circumstances will you use which? It depends on a couple of things:

  1. You should almost always select a voicing which is in close proximity to where you are on the guitar fretboard already.
  2. The genre will also influence the spot where you play the chord. For instance, you play lower alternatives in heavy metal and rock, while in funk music, you use higher ones.

Video guitar lesson for inexperienced players on the E major chord

Since music is an audible form of art, here is a brilliant video guitar lesson on precisely how to finger the E major guitar chord.

Pay attention to the guitar teacher's fingers and wrist position.

The E major barre chord

Barre chords are challenging, so if you just started learning guitar, it might be better to stay with the simpler versions for now.

If you've been learning for a while already and want to find out how to hold down the barre chord variation of the E major, here it is.

Let's start off with the E shape barre chord voicing of the E major, which has its root note on the low E string.

E Major Barre 2 Guitar Chord Finger Position

Here's how to hold down the E major barre chord rooting on the 6th string:

  • Lay your index finger across every string at fret 12.
  • Now arrange the rest of your fingers to fret a regular E shape barre chord. This starts with putting your 2nd finger on fret 13 on string G.
  • The 3rd finger goes to string D at fret 14.
  • And your 4th finger on fret 14 on the A string.

Now pluck each string in the chord and be sure the chord is ringing clearly. You do not want to hear buzzing strings or muted notes.

E Guitar Chord 1

Bar chords are tough, you need to practice them a lot. Playing it so high up on the neck makes it even harder, since your fingers have to cramp into place. I usually just play the highest 3-4 notes of this shape, or the lowest 3-4 notes.

Yet another commonly used fingering of the E major chord uses the A shape barre chord:

E Major Barre Guitar Chord Finger Position

Here is how to fret the E major barre chord rooting on the A string:

  • First of all, use your index finger to form a barre on strings 1-5 at fret 7.
  • Now arrange the rest of your fingers to fret a regular A shape barre chord by placing your ring finger on strings D, G, and B at fret 9.
  • The low E string is not played here.

Now pluck each string in the chord, and ensure the chord is ringing clearly. As I mentioned, barre chords are tough. Don't expect to get good at them in 1 day.

E Guitar Chord 5

Practice a lot, you'll be able to play the E major barre chord very soon.

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