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Changing to F chord

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Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Hi am new to the site and newish to guitar. I've only been taking lessons for a few months, but have played other orchestral instruments in the past. My difficulty at the moment is in changing to the F chord. I can't seem to get it fast enough or smooth enough to keep in time. Any suggestions? Am currently learning Scar by Missy Higgins.

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717

Welcome to the forum and welcome to the dreaded f_____ chord.

Anybody and everybody is going to tell you that it comes with practice.

After about 1000 attempts (literally) you'll be able to hit it (more or less) in beat.
After about 3,000 tries you'll be hitting it pretty regularly.

So let's say a hundred attempts a day, that's about 2 weeks.
In about 6 weeks you'll have it down.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.

Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 351

Yeah that's about it: practice

And when it doesn't sound good, stop, don't move, and try to figure what is doing wrong with your fretting hand.

" First time I heard the music
I thought it was my own
I could feel it in my heartbeat
I could feel it in my bones
... Blame it on the love of Rock'n'Roll! "

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 49

F will take a while....then you'll come to Bb (or even B) which will take even longer :-P As others have mentioned, the trick is to practice practice practice. Make sure that before you strum the chord you have it fretted perfectly, even if it takes a while to do at first. It will take less time as you go, but the key is not to change so fast that you are making mistakes. If you are making mistakes, slow down and play at a comfortable level for a while, then later on increase your speed. It's better to go slowly and develop good habits than to advance rapidly but make lots of mistakes because then you just have to unlearn them all later. Another trick you can do is to use the F shape higher up on the fretboard - it will be easier to play and allows you develop your technique before working your way down. So spend some of your practice time playing A as normal (02220), and some of it playing the F shape on the fifth fret. Same goes for G - some of the time normal and some with the F shape at the third fret. If you decide to do this it may help to use a capo. Anyway, good luck and I hope this advice is useful :)

Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735

If you can't get it "fast enough," play the song at half speed. Yea, I know. It's no fun that way. Still, if you do that, you'll find your left and right hands can sync and get it right eventually. When that happens, speed up only a little bit. In time you'll be playing well.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 176

I find it helps a lot to kind of prepare for it. Before I change, while I am on whatever chord comes before the f, I get my thumb in the position that I have it for the f, then make the change when I need to - it seems to be one less hand movement, and it really helps me out. Good luck...

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5480

Sometimes I cheat, or otherwise do the easy one. Sometimes I don't. Same for the Bb, B, etc. Depends on the song. Sometimes I get better and go from the cheat to the hard one for a particular song. A good example of this was with Sister Morphine by the Stones. Slow enough song, and I like the barred G that comes before the F, so I did the switch.

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin