E Chord Guitar

On the guitar, the E Major chord (E, G#, B) might be one of the most recognizable their is, a staple of every guitarists' repertoire, and one of the first that most learn to play. Today, we'll be covering that classic E Major voicing that everyone likes to fall back on, but we'll also be showing you a few additional ways to play the chord that deviate from the norms -- in open position and up the fretboard. Here's what you'll need to know.

How to Play E Chord on Guitar

E Major is the kind of chord that gives you plenty of options in terms of different voicings, but we'll start slow, with the basics. This is the most popular version of E Major around, the very first chord that most guitarists learn:

E Chord Guitar Easy

E Chord Guitar Easy

  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd string/1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Play strings 1, 2, and 6 open

This is an easy voicing to learn, and no matter your skill level, you should be able to play this version of E Major without too much difficulty. Just remember to push down hard on the strings, and keep your fretting hand from accidentally muting any of the strings that are supposed to be open.

E Chord Guitar Variant #1

Now, while we're still in open position, there are two additional voicings you might want to try on for size. Both use only 4 strings, but will also require you to make some substantial stretches across the strings to execute. Make sure you've been working on your finger control before giving them a shot:

E Chord Guitar Variant #1

  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/4th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 1st string/4th fret
  • Place your 4nd finger on the 2nd string/5th fret
  • Mute strings 5 and 6

E Chord Guitar Variant #2

E Chord Guitar Variant #2

  • Place your 1st finger on the 3rd string/1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/4th fret
  • Mute strings 5 and 6

E Major Chord Guitar

Naturally, you'll want to know your barre chord voicings for E Major. You can find these on the 7th fret (A-shape) and 12th fret (E-shape) when you're ready to give them a shot.

E Bar Chord Guitar

Standard barre chord technique rules apply, so if you've taken the lessons of how to play these kinds of chords to heart, you should conquer these voicings with ease:

E Bar Chord Guitar

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 7th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/9th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/9th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/9th fret
  • Mute string 6

E Bar Chord Guitar #2

E Bar Chord Guitar #2

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 12th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/13th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/14th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 4th string/14th fret

E Major Chord Guitar (4th Fret)

There's also a sort of "half-barre" version of E Major you can play at the 4th fret, if you're looking for an easy-to-remember voicing that's just a bit outside of open position. Be forewarned, though, you'll have to make a might stretch with your fretting hand while holding your 1st finger in place:

E Major Chord Guitar 4th Fret

  • Use your 1st finger to cover strings 1, 2, and 3 at the 4th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 5th string/4th fret
  • Mute string 6

E Major Chord Guitar (G-Shape)

Lastly, if you want to try what might be one of the coolest versions of E Major out there, you can try the seldom-seen G-shape barre on the 9th fret:

E Major Chord Guitar G Shape

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 9th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/11th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 6th string/12th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/12th fret

And with that, you should have enough voicings of E Major to carry you through just about any song you want to play.

Sharpen Your Technique

These E Major voicings shouldn't be too difficult to learn, even the trickier ones we covered. Once you've got them under your belt, be sure to start learning even more ways to play E Major (there are plenty out there). As always, good luck, and happy practicing!

Next Lesson:

Eb Guitar Chord

Instructor: Dwight H.
From big bands to rock ensembles, and even R&B groups, Dwight has played with them all. He's been teaching guitar for over 10 years. When teaching, he draws from his experience on stage, injecting the knowledge of what it takes to be a gigging musician into every lesson.
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