How to play the F chord on guitar

How to play the F Chord on guitar | 2021

The chord of F Major is a hugely popular F chord on the guitar but one that causes all sorts of problems for beginners. Some guitarists attempt to play the large full barre which only results in many buzzing notes and a few only play the supermini version which if not played correctly can sound weedy and thin.


Shape 1 – (The big dreaded F)


This is the version of the F chord that’s most feared by beginners and that I can see why. It’s a troublesome chord. Barring across all 6 strings is hard and particularly so at the first fret.

How to play the F chord on guitar


To get good at this version, you’ll get to spend time perfecting the standard of your barre. This suggests using great technique and following the recommendation during this post on barre F chords.

For example, how straight it’s, how on the brink of the fret it’s, and the way high it’s positioned, then adding in one finger at a time to gradually complete the chord. Thankfully there are much easier ways of playing F.


Shape 2 – (The C Shape Barre)

This is a troublesome old nut to crack for several guitarists. What you’re doing here is playing a C Major chord shape with fingers 2, 3, and 4 and playing a barre across the highest three strings together with your index and placing this finger at the 5th fret).

It’s definitely a luxury shape and one that’s suitable for intermediate guitarists but not ideal for beginners.


That’s because it’s so tough and it isn’t utilized in that a lot of songs (The intro to hotdog Chili Peppers under the Bridge’ is perhaps the foremost famous example).


Shape 3 – (A Shape Barre)

Our next version maybe a barre chord based on the form of and a serious F chord. Are you able to see how we’ve taken the serious chord and turned it into a barre F chord and are now playing it above the neck?

I like to play this F chord in the following way. The difficulty is your annually is that the one doing all the work so it is often tough to play for a few guitarists.

How to play the F chord on guitar

Some guitarists like better to play this version using all four fingers as you’ll see within the version below.

Me, I never liked this second version because it is clunky and although I don’t have the fattest fingers within the world (not that they might be an excuse), when playing up at the 8th fret I struggle to suit fingers 2, 3, and 4 during a line on an equivalent fret.

Whichever way you select to play this version, it’s very handy. Mainly because it’s a better-pitched version of F Chord and thus offers some different tonal options to the chord.


Shape 4 – (Slightly stripped back)

How to play the F chord on guitar

Here we have an equivalent version as we’ve for shape 1 but at this point, we’ve moved the barre finger so it only frets the highest two strings (B and high E) while fingers 2, 3, and 4 still fret equivalent notes. This is often a useful version to practice when the build-up to shape 1.


Shape 5 (Highly recommended)

This version is extremely almost like the above version but maybe a good bit easier to play for many guitarists and it sounds almost precisely the same.

How to play the F chord on guitar

My students much like better to play this shape over that one due to those reasons. The sole time the above shape is best than this version is once you are picking and wish the note on the high E string to be picked (which isn’t that always to be honest).

When playing this version, ensure your index which is on the B string is rocked back slightly to purposely exterminate the high E string to prevent it from ringing out.

Power Tip

The change from F Major to C Major may be a quite common one in music and it’s one many struggles with. The great thing about this shape is that changing to and from C is fairly easy too.

When changing from F chord to C, simply leave your annualry and index where they’re, take off the pinkie, and move the center finger to the D string. It’s a smooth change once you have tried it a couple of times.


Shape 6 (Mini Barre)

Our next version is one that I see that’s commonly taught but it isn’t one that’s a practice within the world.

How to play the F chord on guitar

Technically, it’s alleged to be easier than most shapes but within the world, it’s a troublesome old chord to play and doesn’t sound that great as there’s no real strong bass within the chord unlike my well-loved shape 5. I’m not a huge fan of this shape but it’s going to work for you.




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