A Barre Chord Feast!
Ed Sheeran’s new song “New Man” is just what the doctor ordered for those of you who need to get over your fear of barre chords. This phenomenon seems to be occurring more and more and the guitar Capo has pulled many away from the dreaded process of learning to get those fingers holding down multiple strings.
But as luck would have it, along comes Ed to help you deal with the inevitable. “New Man’ consists of five chords. G, E minor, D, C, and B minor. All chords are played with 5th string roots and nary a once do you touch the 6th or 1st string.
Here are your chord forms:
There are only two chord patterns used in the song:
Pattern 1 is as follows (mainly during the intro and verse):
E Minor-G Major-D Major-E minor-C Major-B minor-D Major-E minor
As you can see, E minor is the central focus of the progression giving us the expected minor tonality that matches the lyrical content of the verses.
Pattern 2 is played during the chorus and bridge sections, that progression is as follows:
G Major-D Major-E minor-C Major-B minor-D Major-E minor
The G Major lead in this section brings a nice contrast to the chords and gives the song the rhythmic lift it needs to launch us into the somewhat more hopeful chorus section.
As for how to deal with barre chords? I recommend starting them on electric guitar (if you have one) and once you produce a good clear sound, transfer over to acoustic. If you wish, stay on electric. Use a clean tone with light reverb or chorus.
As for playing the chords, do not use a pick but rather articulate each chord with your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. You can add a tap after each chord however, know that Ed doesn’t over-emphasize that technique in this song. I do it just to mark the rhythm of the pattern.
Take your time with this one. Move back and forth through the chords making sure you are accurate with both right and left hands.
Here is my tutorial on “New Man”.