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F Chord

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(@davewoods100)
Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

I've been learning the guitar for about 3 weeks now and most of it I've been picking up pretty easily. I'm changing between Chords quite quickly and able to play a couple of songs however I cannot manage to get the F Chord to ring clearly no matter what I try.

I've tried just playing the chord on it's own and have practiced it everyday but can only ever get 3 of the strings to ring as I can't hold the B and E strings down at the same time.

I'm expecting to hear that I should just keep practicing and it'll come but at the moment just feel that the tips of my fingers must be too small and it'll never happen so any advice would be appreciated.


   
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 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

Are you using the tips of your fingers for the b and e on the F chord? Try laying your index finger flat across those two strings. Sometimes you have to kinda tilt your hand to get the index to lay across them too.

Not sure if that helps but sure you will get other advice as well.

Good luck

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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(@davewoods100)
Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Yeah I've tried with my tips and also tried laying my finger across the two strings. I have tried laying my fingers across the B and E strings and got them to ring but once I add my other two fingers to the D and G strings the first finger has moved ever so slightly out of position and I end up with the same problem.

I've also jumped abit ahead of myself and tried a couple of barre chords and really struggled so thought I'd better learn more of the basics first but I assume this is a similar problem.

I have been told by a few people that the F Chord and Barre Chords will seem impossible at first but with practice one day they will just click and suddenly seem easy.

It's just hard to imagine that at the moment :(


   
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 geoo
(@geoo)
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I have been told by a few people that the F Chord and Barre Chords will seem impossible at first but with practice one day they will just click and suddenly seem easy.

It's just hard to imagine that at the moment :(

I hear ya there. But I dont know how many times that has been true. Too many to count. Well other than rotating your wrist so that the SIDE of your index finger is laying across the two strings.. I am not sure. I wonder if when you put the other two fingers down.. if you are lifting a little on your index finger or if the index finger isnt close enough to the fret to make sure you are applying enough pressure??

Just some thoughts. Dont think I am doing much good though. :cry:

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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(@bhyman)
New Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1
 

I'm a beginner that just strggled past the F chord barrier. I've found that playing a song that requires me to use a difficult chord is the best way to learn. That way you learn a new tune and practice the chord, over and over again.

I learned the F while learning La Bamba. La Bamba uses a common chord progression (C-F-G) and practicing the move from C to F is pretty important. I've found lots of cool tunes that incorporate it.

The only difficult part of La Bamba is the syncopation. Emphasize the off-beats to make it sound right. To play La Bamba, repeat the following strums, alternating downstrokes and upstrokes. Emphasie the capitalized letters.

| c - C - c - C - f - F - f - G | g - g - g - g - g - g - g - g |

Practice the C-F transition by simply pulling down on the index finger to flatten the first string while shifting your other fingers o ne string each. This will feel natural after a few hours of practice. Once you master that, try songs that move from other chords to the F chord.

Good luck! It will come soon.


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

What I find with students is that the key to success with the F chord is to start halfway up the neck (and thanks to Jamey Andreas for the pointers).

If you're trying to play F at the first fret, you're pushing against all the tension in the string, and it's not easy to get the strings down. There's a simple formula:

Tension times length of string = difficult.

So, take that chord shape and try it with your first finger at the 7th fret. Use three strings only at first, and aim to have them all ringing clearly. Once you've got that, then move your hand up and down the neck, between the 5th and 12th frets, making the same shape and doing the same exercise. When you can get all three strings ringing at every position, add the 4th string and do it again. Then the 5th. It might take a couple of weeks. Adding the 6th string isn't too horrible. Then move down the neck s-l-o-w-l-y, one fret at a time, making sure all six strings ring out, and eventually you'll get to the first fret. Lo, and behold, comfortable F.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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(@davewoods100)
Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies they were really helpful. Alan, it is actually the open F chord that I was having problems with as you seem to be describing the barre chord. However I've used your advice and used the same shape on frets further down the neck and can get these to ring perfectly. I can now play the same shape at the 2nd fret fine but just got that final one step back up to make in order to have the open F chord. I'm sure it'll come with the practice and the advice given has made me much more optimistic.


   
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 Nils
(@nils)
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If you are still having trouble at the first fret there is the potential that the nut might be cut a little high making it real difficult fretting the strings.

Try putting a capo on the first fret and try the F on the new 1st fret. If that helps I would get a measure on the nut to see if it is high.

It is actually pretty easy to measure. Lightly fret each string on the 3rd fret and look at the distance between the bottom of the string and the top of the 1st fret wire. The distance should be very small even as thin as a piece of newspaper and almost invisible. If you can't see a gap and you tap on the string just over the 1st fret wire while still fretting at the 3rd you can here a slight click as the string hits the fret. That is perfect. If there is a big gap it would be worthwhile having it corrected.

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(@tim_madsen)
Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 724
 

Try slightly rolling or angling your fingers toward the nut. That's what worked for me. It's easier to show someone than write it.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe


   
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(@phingerboard)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 57
 

THe main problem is that when first learning barre chords, there are three new processes being absorbed at once: the finger and wrist strength issue, proper angle and pressure issue, and the chord fingering itself.

Work on finger strength first. Do a simple exercise with JUST the index finger across all of the strings, plucking or picking each individual string to make sure that it rings cleanly. Do this at every fret. This will build wrist and finger strength, and help the angle and pressure issue to become second nature. Once you are comfortable with this (should be a week or two for most people), THEN you can work on chord fingering without the distractions and ineptitudes associated with lack of finger and wrist strength.

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(@yoyo286)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1681
 

Why does it look like I'm the only one here who didn't have a problem learning it? Its just a mutated C. :roll:

Stairway to Freebird!


   
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(@lawdude)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 27
 

Alan Green and Phingerboard definitely have good advice on barre chords. These techniques have really helped me as I've started to work on them.

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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Yoyo286 got me thinking.....

Try a C chord like this....

E A D G B E
3 3 2 0 1 0

using your first finger as a pivot/fulcrum, move the other three fingers across a fret....then bend the first finger down....

E A D G B E
x 3 3 2 1 1

then for a G chord, just move everything up two frets.....

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@yoyo286)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1681
 

Yoyo286 got me thinking.....

I not very good at that myself... :lol:

Stairway to Freebird!


   
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(@lotto-king)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 777
 

don't bother about the F and B chord until you can play all the other majors first , this may help with finger extension

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