3 Ways of Playing F Chord - Guitar Lesson - Guitar for Beginners Stage 6 [BC-161]
How to Play the F Chord on Guitar
The F is one of the trickiest guitar chords to learn, but it is an important one that opens up all sorts of new chord shapes once mastered. There are many different ways to play an F-major chord, as it is often abridged or adapted depending on the song and guitarist. This, however, just offers you more ways to work the chord naturally into your playing.
Note:While all of the following chords can be used for "F-major" in a song, The earlier versions are easy methods of playing the chord to help your practice.
Playing an Abridged "Mini" F
Place your index/pointer finger on the first and second strings on the first fret.In other words, you are using your index finger to hold down the E and B strings on the first fret. Use the pad of your finger to cover both strings with only one finger.
- Try rolling your finger slightly back towards the headstock, so you're pressing down on the side of your finger instead of the fleshy part. This section is a little harder, making it easier to fret with.
Place your middle fingeron the third string on the second fretPlace your middle finger on the third string on the second fret.In other words, use your middle finger to hold down the G string (third from bottom) on the second fret.
Place your ring fingeron the fourth string on the third fretPlace your ring finger on the fourth string on the third fret.In other words, use your ring finger to hold down the D string (fourth from bottom) on the third fret.
- If possible, lightly touch the fifth (A) string with the tip of your third finger -- this mutes the string so it can't be heard while strumming. While not essential now, this is an great technique to practice as you continue playing guitar.
Practice picking and strummingthe bottom four stringsPractice picking and strumming the bottom four strings.Once all of your fingers are firmly in place, practice picking the bottom four strings until each note rings clearly. Pick each note individually to make sure they all sound out clean and clear.
- If you hit a bum note, readjust your finger placement until you can play it clearly. The first and second strings are usually the most problematic -- check that your second and third fingers are curled directly onto the appropriate strings, rather than lying against the ones underneath.
- Once you can play each note clearly, practice strumming the F chord. Also, practice changing from F to another chord, then back again. You may be painfully slow at first, but you'll eventually get the hang of it.
Playing an "Open" F Chord
Graduate to the open FGraduate to the open F, or the "old school F," for a fuller, richer chord.This version of the F major chord, nicknamed "old-school F" (as it was popular with musicians in the 60s and 70s), adds one extra note to the F described above, giving it a fuller, rounder sound. It is slightly harder to play than the "mini" F, but easier to play than the full barre chord F described below.
Place your first fingeron the first and second strings on the first fretPlace your first finger on the first and second strings on the first fret.In other words, place your index finger on the E and B strings on the first fret. This is identical to the beginning of the F played above.
Place your second fingeron the third string on the second fretPlace your second finger on the third string on the second fret.In other words, place your middle finger on the G string on the second fret. This note is an A.
Place your fourth fingeron the fourth string on the third fretPlace your fourth finger on the fourth string on the third fret.In other words, place your pinkie finger on the D string on the third fret. You'll be on an F -- your root note for the chord.
Place your third fingeron the fifth string on the third fretPlace your third finger on the fifth string on the third fret.In other words, place your ring finger on the A string on the third fret.
- This is the extra note. Your third finger is now placed on the A string while your pinkie finger is placed on the D string -- you can swap these two fingers around if you like, but most people find this position easier.
- If possible, lightly touch the sixth (E) string with the tip of your third finger -- this mutes the string so it can't be heard while strumming.
Playing Barre Chord F
Barre the first fretBarre the first fret.Place your index finger across all six strings on the first fret and press down. This version of F is the most traditional, and contains all of the notes without any shortcuts. This makes it the biggest, fullest version of the chord.
- Roll your finger slightly back towards the headstock, so you are pressing with the hard, bony side of your finger rather than the soft, fleshy middle. Barring takes some practice to get comfortable.
- You will need to apply quite a lot of pressure to hold down all six strings. Try squeezing your thumb against the back of the neck for extra support.
Place the rest of your fingersPlace the rest of your fingers.Holding your first finger in the barre position, form your second, third and fourth fingers into the shape of an E chord, starting on the second fret. More specifically:
- Place your second finger on the third (G) string on the second fret.
- Place your third finger on the fifth (A) string on the third fret.
- Place your fourth finger on the fourth (D) string on the third fret.
Play other barre chords.The finger position used for the F major barre chord is an example of what is known as an E barre formation, as the fingers following the barre make the shape of a basic E chord.
- For example: keeping your fingers in the same formation as the F barre chord, slide your hand down the neck of the guitar until your index finger is on the third fret. This is a G barre chord. If your index finger is on the fifth fret, you are playing an A chord. You can move this form anywhere.
Making Things Easier
Learn on an electric guitarLearn on an electric guitar.If you have a choice between an electric and an acoustic guitar, learn to play the F chord on an electric guitar first. The thinner strings and faster fretboard make it much easier to maneuver around the strings, especially for barre chords.
Buy newer, thinner stringsBuy newer, thinner strings.One good tip is to buy thinner strings for your guitar (preferably size 9s on an electric and size 10s on an acoustic) if your current strings are very thick.
- Thinner strings don't require as much pressure to hold down, so they will save your fingers some pain!
- If you want to learn how to change the strings on your guitar, see this article.
Lower the actionLower the action.The action of your guitar refers to how high the strings are placed above the fretboard. This requires professional servicing, but is a key step to make playing and learning guitar far more fun.
- The lower the action, the less pressure you'll need to apply to the strings. Cheaper guitar often have very high action, which can be a problem for newer guitar players.
- Luckily, guitar shops are usually able to lower the action of any guitar as part of a set-up service. You'll have to pay money for this, but it could potentially make your guitar a lot nicer to play!
QuestionHow can I make it easier?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe easiest way to play it is just to bar the first fret on the E and B strings. You could also just play the F note (first fret on E string).Thanks!
QuestionHow expensive are guitars?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is a broad range of prices, depending on the guitar. A cheaper acoustic guitar can be around 0, but they do go up into the thousands. Electric guitars can be pricier than acoustic, and you will also have to figure in the cost of an amp.Thanks!
QuestionEvery time I try to play the F cord, my fingers just won't stretch that far. My friend said that there is an easier way by using a guitar clip thing, although I forgot what it was called. Would that help?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe "guitar clip thing" you mentioned is called a capo, and they're quite inexpensive. If you do use one, though, it's a bit of a hassle to use it and change the key of the whole song for one chord. There are many alternatives to playing the full barre chord.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I play the chord Am F C G?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerArrange your finger as an E and shift them up one fret. Place your pointer finger across the first fret. Am is like a A major, but lift your ring finger. C -- place the pointer finger on the first fret of the B string, flipper on the second fret of the D string, ring finger on the third fret of the A string.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I play a Hendrix f chord? My index finger can't bar the B and e strings when my thumb is pressing the E string.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLeave out the low e string. Put your second finger on the 8th fret of the A string, first finger on the 7th fret of the D, third finger on the 8th fret of the G string, and fourth finger on the 9th fret of the B. Everything else is unnecessary, so don't worry about barring or using your thumb. Just play the strings your fingers are on.Thanks!
QuestionI've tried over and over, but I'm new at guitar and it sounds horrible! What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStart off with more simple chords, then come back to the f chord. Practice is always very important as well.Thanks!
QuestionWhich minor do I apply when playing an F chord?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDm is the relative minor to F major. If you play a major barre chord, three frets below that (with the bass note on the same string) is the relative minor. For G major, Em is the relative minor chord.Thanks!
How can I make playing the barre f chord clearer?
Short Video: How to Play the F Chord on Guitar
To play an open F chord on the guitar, place your index finger on the first and second strings from the bottom on the first fret. Press your middle finger onto the third string on the second fret, then place your pinky finger on the fourth string on the third fret. Your ring finger should be on the fifth string on the third fret. If you need to, you can switch the position of your ring and pinky fingers.
- When only barring the 1st and 2nd string, try not strumming the 6th and 5th string.
- Practice switching chords to get better at playing the F chord (ex/C, F, G chords).
- To add a fuller sound barre the all of the strings and place your pinky on the 5th string (A) 3rd fret.
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Video: How To Play The F Chord - 4 Easy Ways to Finally Master The F Guitar Chord
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