Close
Skip to content

Forum

Notifications
Clear all

F Major

Page 1 / 2

(@dave-t)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 239
Topic starter  

So I'm finally taking on the F Major. This is using the index to barre the B & e string at fret 1, middle and ring on D and G strings respectively. I have lots of experience switching between open chords cleanly and usually land all fingers pretty close to simultaneously.

The challenge with the F Major is I can land the barre or D and G fretting no problem, but putting them down simultaneously is real tough. I think this is because the index ( dropping to a barre), thumb (moving to a position from back of neck to pointing towards headstock) and other fingers are doing such different things.

Any tips on how to practice this? Thanks.


Quote
(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

I saw a tip somewhere about forming the E shape first, with the 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers, then making the barre with the first finger. I'm trying to remember to do that. At the worst if you can't make the full barre, you can lay your index finger on the first and second strings at the first fret and make a small F.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


ReplyQuote
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

yeah, the small F chord with index on first two strings works. just through the thumb over the top of the neck and fret the low strings.
most times I like the sound of a full F major barre chord. having the thumb point to the headstock is one important aspect.
as for speed of forming the chord...I know of no secrets.
just time and practice..itll happen before you know it.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


ReplyQuote
 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

. . . forming the E shape first, with the 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers, then making the barre with the first finger.
You mean the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers.
Most people have only 4 fingers . . . and a thumb.

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


ReplyQuote
(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

. . . forming the E shape first, with the 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers, then making the barre with the first finger.
You mean the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fingers.
Most people have only 4 fingers . . . and a thumb.

Oh duh! Yes, that's what I meant. Really. I did.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


ReplyQuote
(@scrybe)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2246
 

When having trouble playing something, I often wish I had that 5th finger....

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


ReplyQuote
 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Most people have only 4 fingers . . . and a thumb.
Curiously we always call them "fingers", we don't use a different word for the thumb. Thus, we have 5 fingers!

Well, I improved a lot with the barre chords when I started to use chords with only two or three fingers (English fingers) and not all the four fingers. The problem to me was the barre but also the number of fingers that I had to move and put with precision over the strings.

For example, a blues progression played with seventh chords: A7, D7, E7. If you play them with barre you always use the index for the barre and two fingers. Minor sevenths are even easier because some of them (for example, Am7) are played with two fingers!

Probably it strengthened my index finger or it did I was not afraid of the barre chords. I don't know. Perhaps you could try some exercises with this chords.

Hope it helps.


ReplyQuote
 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

It's always amazing to me how some things come easier than others depending on the individual. For me strumming did not come naturally and although I think I'm pretty decent at it I spent many a night just strumming a few chords sometimes just strumming the same chord yet when it came to barre chords they were probably the easiest thing that I have learned on guitar.

I don't have large hands or anything else that I can see that would have helped but I know Vic mentioned he never had trouble with barre chords either.

It's just one of those weird things that just happens I guess.

What ever you are having it's usually a matter of slowing everything down making sure you are relaxed and working from there.

Some things happen quickly some don't and it's different for different people.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


ReplyQuote
(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

Hi,

My short answer would be to try and land the notes that you most need first. For example, if you don't need the bass F immediately then you can skip it on the first strum and get it settled by the next one. Further down the track you'll find that you're landing them all accurately in a much quicker time.

But I also have a weakness for longer answers.... .... so...

It's worth remembering that you only need three fingers on three strings to make an F Major chord. You don't actually need either the full bar or the small one - they both just give additional repeats of notes that you already have. In other words they are just different voicings that change the ‘colour' of what you hear.

The necessary notes are contained in the triad shape (the same three finger cluster that forms an E major, one fret back). In this case they are C F and A. Those are the three ‘must have' notes.

If you play the full bar version you get F C F A C F - so, as you can see, you can drop some of those, in various combinations and still get an F chord. This is handy to know for ‘quick and easy' versions of chords all over the neck. (See below for a more detailed version of the variations and ‘voicings' idea).

The other useful thing to know about that triad shape (The basic E ) is that it's formed by the 5th 1st and 3rd notes in the underlying scale. So the middle one is always the ‘root' note and gives the chord its name. The 3rd is the one you ‘flatten' (drop back one fret) to get the minor chord. The 5th is the other most important note in the scale - so you've got a powerful little trio there.

If anybody is still following this....

The A shape (three fingers in a row) is actually exactly the same pattern - 5th 1st and 3rd. It has just changed shape slightly because of the tuning shift between the G and B strings on a guitar (which is one semitone - i.e. one fret - different from the musical spacing between all the other adjacent strings).

The D shape (the triangle of fingers) is also exactly the same pattern - 5,1,3. It has also been distorted (but on the other side) for the same reason - the shift between the G and B strings. So E A and D are really the same shape, just bent slightly by the tuning shift).

If you can get your head round that, it has the following advantages:

  • 1. By developing skills at striking only the strings you need (an ability you'll need anyway) you can play major and minor chords all over the neck without using a full bar at all. You can choose between a partial bar or using either three or four fingers to fret the strings you need. This is quicker and easier than trying to do full bars all the time, and is very often all you need anyway.

    2. By understanding how the 5th 1st and 3rd cluster together in those triad shapes.... yes.... you guessed it... (or did you?) ... that tells you where the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th are going to be too. Handy if you want to play solos. If you can fix the basic pattern in your head you can shift it anywhere you like, and adapt the way you look at it to play major scales, natural minor scales or modes. In fact you can adapt it to play anything you like, but those ones more or less come 'free' with the major shape. 8)

  • I don't know if this is how guitar is usually taught. But it's what I found when I first bought one, and spent some time staring at the thing to see if I could see how it worked, and why it was built that way (engineers are weird like that...). I don't seem to have run out of handy ways to apply that knowledge yet, so it seems very useful indeed to me....

    Cheers,

    Chris


    ReplyQuote
    (@chris-c)
    Famed Member
    Joined: 16 years ago
    Posts: 3460
     

    More about voices and choices

    As mentioned above there is more than one way to ‘voice' a chord. In other words you can either add more matching notes, or play the same notes but in a different order. The additional notes can either be exactly the same note, but played on a different string, or a note with the ‘same' note name (e.g. another F) but played an octave or more higher. (This is not the same as extending the chord by adding a different note to make, say, an F7)

    Playing the same notes but in a different order can also make a difference to the musical effect the chords have. They will all fit into the same slot in a song but the emphasis will be different. For instance, if you're strumming a chord the last note sounded can be noticeable, so it sounds slightly different if you strum upward or downwards. The slower you strum the more pronounced that effect is.

    The highest note also has an effect. On a keyboard this is dead easy to understand. A basic triad has three common ‘inversions' - in this case F A C (under the fingers in that order) or A C F and C F A . All F Major chords, but featuring a different ‘top' note. They all fit easily under one hand, and can be selected as a ‘best fit' with whatever the melody happens to be.

    With guitar, our options to choose voicings and inversions is limited by the arrangement of the strings and the need to do it all with one hand. But the reasons for choosing a fancier or fuller version of a chord remains much the same - is the change of sound a) what you want and b) worth the extra time and effort?

    For instance, the full bar F will give you access to a deep bass F on the 6th string, which you may want to make use of. However, two strings up you have another F which you could use in a similar manner. It's just an octave higher. Sometimes that will do just fine, other times you'll think that the lowest F is worth the effort to get - it all depends on the context. Similarly, if you add the small bar you've got a nice high F right at the end which you may prefer to just using the basic triad.

    The point I'm trying to make is that all this theory guff might sound geeky and unnecessary, but I delve into it because it makes life EASIER for me. I can see quick and simple options all over the neck - and 9 times out of 10 I use them too! There will be time further down the track to add the fancier versions to my toolkit - if I last that long .

    That's how it seems to me anyway. Others may disagree.

    Good luck with it all

    Cheers,

    Chris


    ReplyQuote
    (@blue-jay)
    Noble Member
    Joined: 12 years ago
    Posts: 1638
     

    Hey Dave in Ontario!

    My even shorter, almost inadequate answer is that "it will come"

    I only play the F major as a barre chord and found it much easier especially when starting at 15, than the traditional F.

    In fact, or IMO, it became so easy that I called it a cheat and was chastised by more proper and real guitar players, ha!

    I just made myself play it as a barre chord and said to myself, I can not do it the other way, and not quickly enough. The barre F comes out like butter, fingers fly into place, of course without even looking.

    It works pretty well especially in a nice C-Am-F and G song like Teenager in Love, Teen Angel, oops I mean Oh Donna, and The Kast Kiss.

    Like a bird on the wire,
    like a drunk in a midnight choir
    I have tried in my way to be free.


    ReplyQuote
    (@coolnama)
    Honorable Member
    Joined: 13 years ago
    Posts: 595
     

    Hahaha I thought of barre chords as cheating too, they are like using power chords, I actually mastered those before I mastered anything, then when I noticed I could get a better sound from Open chords I started using more open voicings, but Barre chords are there, for whenever I want to do a m7 chord I dont know, Ill just do it as a Barre chord :D.

    I wanna be that guy that you wish you were ! ( i wish I were that guy)

    You gotta set your sights high to get high!

    Everyone is a teacher when you are looking to learn.

    ( wise stuff man! )

    Its Kirby....


    ReplyQuote
     cnev
    (@cnev)
    Famed Member
    Joined: 19 years ago
    Posts: 4478
     

    Well I agree with Coolnama about barre chords not sounding as full as open chords that's why you need to watch where you use them other wise the can be a crutch to avoid playing other chords.

    One of the biggest things I find wrong with alot of the internet tab is that most songs are tabbed out as barre chords when they aren't. They might sound close but they won't give you the true full sound

    "It's all about stickin it to the man!"
    It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


    ReplyQuote
    (@minotaur)
    Noble Member
    Joined: 13 years ago
    Posts: 1092
     

    One of the biggest things I find wrong with alot of the internet tab is that most songs are tabbed out as barre chords when they aren't. They might sound close but they won't give you the true full sound

    Only slightly related: one of the most ridiculous internet (specifically Youtube) things I've seen was a comment that a song should have been played with barre chords to be correct. Except that the song was originally done on piano. I may be a newbie and I may be a little slow on the uptake at times, but as far as I know, one doesn't play guitar barre chords on a piano.

    It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


    ReplyQuote
    (@chris-c)
    Famed Member
    Joined: 16 years ago
    Posts: 3460
     

    Only slightly related: one of the most ridiculous internet (specifically Youtube) things I've seen was a comment that a song should have been played with barre chords to be correct. Except that the song was originally done on piano. I may be a newbie and I may be a little slow on the uptake at times, but as far as I know, one doesn't play guitar barre chords on a piano.

    Unless you're playing honky-tonk or pub-style piano. But then they're Bar chords.....

    The Youtuber may have had a point though - just not explained it very well. I may have to get behind some sandbags before saying this but..... yes, I do play the equivalent of bar chords on piano. The issue isn't the name of the chord, or even necessarily the exact voicing of the chord, it's how high up the range it's played.

    If you play all open chords on a guitar then they will blend with an original piano version in some way, but that doesn't mean they will be an exact match, they are likely to be transposed to a different octave - in other words another part of the range. A piano has roughly twice the range of a guitar (more than 7 octaves, compared to usually just under 4 on most guitars) so you can't always go note for note.

    There may only be 12 note names used on the piano, but the 88 pitches are obviously all different. On a keyboard, a ‘C Major' chord played right down the bottom with the left hand sounds very different from one played right up the top with the right hand, and there are all sorts of musical reasons for which one you choose.

    Moving a chord up the guitar neck with a bar will make it sound higher, in the same way that a piano player can play it further to the right on the keyboard. This may well be a deliberate feature of a song, for a number of reasons. For instance, you might want to contrast higher sounds with lower ones. That might mean at the same time (i.e. bass, rhythm and lead guitars all working different octaves, or the left and right hand on a piano using different areas). Or you might just want higher pitched sounds all through, to suit the feel of the song.

    So perhaps that's what the guy meant - if you want to match the feel and range of the piano original more closely then you'll need to get away from those open chords and head on up the neck into bar territory??

    Cheers,

    Chris


    ReplyQuote
    Page 1 / 2