How to Play F Chord

Here’s what people dread about the F chord: it is difficult to play. Many beginners give up against it– they just cannot get past the F chord. Believe us when we say, we have seen people smashing their guitars in rage. Yes, it can be that frustrating of a chord to learn. 

Fret not, fellow guitarists. In this article, we’ll share how to play the F chord without tearing off your hair. No matter if you are a beginner or intermediate player, we guarantee that, as this article ends, it will enable you to play the chord easily. Without any further delay, let us dive right in!

Warming Up with The F Chord

The F chord needs you to put your index finger to extensive use. You need to ensure that it is strong and limber to be able to stretch over all 6 strings. 

This F chord exercise, which is functional for every barre chord, will help you to:

  • Adjust your finger comfortably with the pressure 
  • Find out which are the best contact points on your index finger
  • Experiment with the placement of your index finger

When you put your index fingers above all 6 strings on the 1st fret, try to furl your finger, making sure you play with the outside of your finger. If you employ the smooth pads of your fingers, you probably would not gain much string contact. 

Do not hesitate to experiment with the finger placement when you move further through the exercise. 

Furthermore, we would ask you to try to get your index finger to put some pressure on the guitar strings. While this strength is vital, the motive is to look for familiarity and comfort with your fingers above the strings. 

The Warm-Up Exercise

As you begin with the exercise, consider your index finger to be a button: you exert pressure and then you release it. Like a barre, start by putting index fingers as mentioned above, employing all the downstrokes.

  1. Apply downward force on the low E string. Later, pluck that. 
  2. Without any index finger motion, apply some pressure again, mainly focusing on its A string. Next, you pluck that A string. 
  3. Remember not to move your pointer finger in this step as well. Instead, keep on remaining on the first fret. 

Continue doing this – fret each string and pick them off one at a time. By doing this exercise, you will get the knowledge of how much pressure you need to exert to essentially barre above all 6 strings. 

To move on with this exercise, go up your guitar one fret at a single time. It gets harder though because the strings’ tension lowers as you move up. 

After completing this exercise, you must be feeling more confident and comfortable with your index finger. 

Now that you have been warmed up, let us move on to learn how to play the F chord.

Shape 1 – The dreaded F

This chord version is the most dreaded one, especially for beginners. We know it is tough because barring across all six strings is extremely difficult – that too at the very first fret. 

To master this version, what you need is time. You require time to perfect that barre quality of yours. This would mean employing excellent techniques and going through the suggestions on barre chords

For instance, you need to see how straight it is, how high its position is, and how close to a fret it is, and finally needing to add one finger at a time to finish the chord. Thanks to guitarists, other methods of playing F chords have been found. 

 Shape 2 – The A-Shaped Barre

Next up, we have a barre chord formed in the shape of an A chord. Guitarists take the A major chord to turn it into a barre chord and later move it up the neck.

One small problem lies: as the burden falls on the ring finger, some guitarists can it very tough. Thus, some opt to use all their four fingers to minimize the pressure.

This second method is not preferable to those with chubby fingers. When it comes to playing the 8th fret, it is hard to fit the 2,3, and 4 in a single line on the same fret. 

Whichever method you choose, this version comes in handy. It is mainly because of the higher-pitched version of the F chord, which offers some different tonal chords. 

Shape 3: Somewhat Stripped Back

Here, we bring you a similar version of Shape 1, but the barre finger is moved slightly so that it frets only the top 2 strings (high E and B) while the rest 2,3, and 4 fret the similar notes still. 

When you are moving up to shape 1, this version is a must try to prepare yourself for the harder one. 

 Shape 4 – Highly Suggested

Hello, newbies! Do not think that we have added the harder versions only. This version is relatively easier to play than the rest. It almost sounds the same as Shape 3. 

When you play this version, make sure to place your index finger, located on the B string, to move back one touch to intentionally buzz off the high E string to cease it from fading out. 

Power Tip

The transition from an F major to a C major is very usual in music. This is one thing to struggle with. What’s great about this shape is that it changes quite easily. 

When transitioning from F to C, just leave your pointer finger and ring finger where they are, lift off the small finger, and place the middle one to a D string. 

Once you try it out, this is a smooth change. 

Final Thoughts

That’s a wrap! With proper practice and patience, you should be able to learn all the tricks we mentioned.

We hope this article teaches you how to play the F chord easily – that too in 5 different ways!

How to harmonize a melody? Learn here.

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