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I looked at several sites and I found this:

4 x 2 4 0 0

The 6th string is played on the 4th fret, correct? I found this on a message board but on the sites that I usually go to they don't show this. So is this correct? How can you tell?

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If you're cool with muting two strings, you can play E/G# as 4xx454. –  neilfein Apr 12 '11 at 6:35
i dont know if id want to strum that chord for long, but all the notes fit the triad. of course, context is everything, but i think this would be mostly useful for walk up/down on the bass (ie E, E/F#, E/G#, A) –  Anonymous Apr 20 '11 at 14:33

4 Answers 4

That is perfectly acceptable.

When I play acoustic, I think of it as a D/F# capo'd up 2, where it's played 4 2 2 4 5 4, thumb grabbing the G# on the 6th string. Sometimes play standard and try to catch it with the pinky 4 2 2 1 0 0, but that's a little bit of a stretch.

Electric, I'm playing it with a bassist and keyboard player, so much of the time I don't bother. Bassist is playing the G#, so I just play a standard E barre chord. When I do play it. I play it by barring the 2nd 3rd and 4th strings with my index finger and holding the low note with my ring finger. x 9 7 7 7 x. Kinda a reverse A-shape barre.

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Good point about not duplicating the bass, this is important in general. –  Rein Henrichs May 27 '11 at 21:31

That would work. It has the g# in the bass and also contains the other notes of the chord ( e and b)

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How do you know which notes a chord has? –  Anonymous Apr 11 '11 at 6:06
Check out chordbook.com/guitarchords.php to see what notes a chord has in it. Click the chord, and at the top right it will tell you which notes make up the chord. Stuart is right, the bass G# along with some notes from an E. If your fingers stretch, you could play it as 4X2100 :) –  Ali Maxwell Apr 11 '11 at 6:57
The E on the left tells you it's an E major chord. The g# on the right tells you to put a g# in the bass (lowest note) . To figure out what notes chords are made of you will need to learn about intervals and chord construction. I have a beginners theory guide on my site which I am currently writing. Intervals and chord construction should be up this week. –  Stuart Moir Apr 11 '11 at 7:26
Could also replace the X with a 2 to add a B. I do this by using index finger covering both strings at the 2nd fret, pinky on the 4th fret B, ring finger to get the G#. –  Anonymous Apr 11 '11 at 23:58

This is a first inversion E major chord, i.e. with a G# root. An E major chord (triad) contains the notes E, G# and B. That means that any E major shape or partial shape (from CAGED) with a convenient G# root works. Here's a fretboard diagram showing E major chord tones with G# on the bass strings in red:

enter image description here

This is a map of the territory. You should immediately see some voicing opportunities, including:

D shapes:

[ 4 x 2 4 0 0 ]
[ 4 x 2 4 5 0 ]
[ 4 x x 4 5 4 ]

G shapes:

[ x 11 9 9 9 x ]
[ x 11 9 9 12 x ]

C shapes:

[ 4 7 6 4 5 4 ]
[ x x 6 4 5 4 ]
[ x x 6 4 5 7 ]

also, given that the G# root usually implies chromatic or diatonic root movement, consider the voicing you're moving towards when deciding what to play.

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I generally play a C chord barred on the 4th fret. That way you can play all of the strings when strumming or have more strings to choose when fingerpicking.

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