The E Major Chord for Left-Hand Guitarists

In the following guide, we will explore three fundamental variations of the E major chord on the guitar, tailored specifically for left-handed guitarists utilizing left-hand chord charts as a reference to ensure clarity and ease of understanding. Additionally, we will delve into the theoretical aspects of this chord by examining scale degrees and intervals, providing you with a solid grasp of the notes within the E major chord and the fundamental principles of chord construction from a left-handed perspective.

How to Play E Major for Left-Handers

Open Position

E Major Chord - Left-Handed - Open Position
  1. Finger Placement:
    • Start by placing your guitar in a comfortable playing position, ensuring it’s properly tuned.
    • Now, let’s place our fingers on the fretboard:
      • Use your index finger (1st finger) to press down on the 1st fret of the G string (3rd string) closest to the headstock.
      • Position your middle finger (2nd finger) on the 2nd fret of the A string (5th string).
      • Place your ring finger (3rd finger) on the 2nd fret of the D string (4th string).
    • Ensure that your fingers are pressing the strings down just behind the respective frets to produce clear and crisp notes.
    • For the E major chord, leave the remaining strings (1st, 2nd, and 6th) open, which means you don’t press any frets on those strings.
  2. Strumming:
    • For the E major chord, you can strum all six strings. Aim for a clear and melodious sound.
    • Remember to practice transitioning between chords and refining your finger placement and strumming technique to master the E major chord and enhance your guitar playing skills.

E Major Chord – A Barre Shape

E Major Chord - A Barre Shape (Left-Handed)
  1. Finger Placement:
    • Use your index finger (1st finger) to barre (press down) the first 5 strings at the 5th fret.
    • With your index finger barring all the strings, place your middle finger (2nd finger) on the 9th fret of the D string (4th string).
    • Position your ring finger (3rd finger) on the 9th fret of the G string (3rd string).
    • Finally, place your pinky finger (4th finger) on the 9th fret of the B string (2nd string).
  2. Strumming:
    • Strum from the A string (5th string) down to the high E string (1st string).
    • By muting the high E string and avoiding the low E string, you’ll produce a clear and crisp E major chord using the A barre shape. * However, if you prefer you can leave the 6th string (low E open) as E is the root note of the chord.

E Major Chord – C Barre Shape

E Major Chord - C Barre Shape (Left-Handed)
  1. Finger Placement:
    • Use your index finger (1st finger) to barre (press down) the first three strings at the 4th fret, starting from the high E string (1st string) to the high G string (3rd string).
    • Position your middle finger (2nd finger) on the 5th fret of the B string (5th string).
    • Place your ring finger (3rd finger) on the 6th fret of the D string (4th string).
    • Put your pinky finger (4th finger) on the 6th fret of the A string (5th string).
  2. Strumming:
    • Strum from the A string (5th string) down to the high E string (1st string), making sure to avoid strumming the low E string (6th string) to prevent it from sounding. * Keep in mind, E is the root note so it can be played but usually when playing a C-shaped barre chord such as this you would normally not include the 6th string.

E Major Chord Construction

The E major chord is assembled using notes from the E major scale.

E major chord construction – using scale degrees

Scale Degree1234567
E Major ScaleEF#G#ABC#D#
E Major ChordEG#B

As we can see in the table above the E major scale consists of the notes: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, and D#

When constructing the E major chord from the notes of the E Major scale, we play the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the scale, which corresponds to the notes E, G#, and B.

E major chord construction – using intervals

IntervalRootM2M3P4P5M6M7
E Major ScaleEF#G#ABC#D#
E Major ChordEG#B

If you would like to learn more about intervals in music click here.

The intervals of the E major chord, like all major chords, include the major third (M3) and a perfect fifth (P5) above the root note, which in this case is E. The major third interval, G#, is four semitones above D, and the perfect fifth (B) is seven semitones above the root (E).

Tips for Playing E Major for Left-Handers

The E major chord is also very common on the guitar. It’s one of the basic open-position chords most guitarists learn when first starting out, and is frequently used in countless songs across a wide range of music styles.

Remember, it’s important to work on your finger strength, as this will allow you to press down on the strings effectively…but this will take time and practice. Also, keep in mind it is important not to press the strings down too hard, as this can lead to cramps, and fatigue, making it difficult to continue playing.

You can read more tips on playing chords cleanly by clicking here.

About Marty

My name's Marty, I've been tinkering around on left-handed guitars for over 30 years.