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Old 03-23-2015, 11:16 PM   #1
GuitarDude85
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Why is the F chord impossible for me to learn?

Ever since I started self teaching myself guitar last December, everything was going smoothly. Every open chord I teach myself seems hard at first, but within one week of heavy practicing, I eventually get it. But ever since I tried that F chord, I just can't get it. I've been trying this barre chord for THREE MONTHS and do HOURS of practice EVERYDAY, but I still can't get it. I can't switch to the F chord smoothly and quick enough, I can only get a clean sound 40% of the time, the muscle on my hand aches when I hold the F chord for too long, and my finger still hurts from the barring.

This is crazy. I've been extremely patient trying to learn this damn chord but I'm getting no where. What is wrong with me? It should not take over three months just to become half decent at this.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:23 PM   #2
LazyLatinoRocke
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Yes it does. Keep practicing. Once you learn barre chords, you pretty much know every single major chord.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:29 PM   #3
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The F chord (1st fret) always sucks and I have been playing for over 40 years. Pretty much no reason to ever play it fully barred so just play the open position or use any other position that suits you.

I played three sets this weekend with a young group of talented musicians and the keys player/lead singer chose the keys and prepared lead sheets for us. Yep, a bunch of them in F and Eb. If there was a horn section I could understand but alas... no horns and still we got Chinese water torture keys for guitarists. Such is life.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:41 PM   #4
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Not getting clean sound means you are not applying pressure correctly. This lesson helped me although it's idea is quite simple https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgFOp-abjmQ

Try playing just the F chord. Play it, remove your hand and play it again until you feel comfortable enough with it.
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:05 AM   #5
gweddle.nz
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I suck at barre chords. I always feel like I'm applying way too much pressure, but no matter how I position my hand I can't get a clean sound without pressure. Whether I move it up/down or rotate it to the side.

It's fine for for the odd chord, but songs that feature barre chords heavily leave me with a very tired and aching hand - which leads me to believe I'm not doing it right.

In that video above for example; I cannot get my finger to barre all the strings and have them all ring. I guess my fingers are too skinny. No matter how I place my finger at least one string is dead.

Last edited by gweddle.nz : 03-24-2015 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:10 AM   #6
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Totally normal experience. You'll get it.

It could also be possible that your action is too high.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:50 AM   #7
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^^^ lower action definitely helps
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:54 AM   #8
EyeballPaul
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You will get it in the end.I learned it on an acoustic classical guitar so when i moved to electric it was easy.Just takes alot of practice and moving your hand and wrist position slightly until you find that sweet spot where you make all the strings ring out and then learning to hit it every time.You gotta finger it slowly at first and in time you'll speed up.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:30 PM   #9
wolflen
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proper guitar set up helps ALOT..

things to consider: nut adjustment..to string gauge..some strings just sit in the groove NOT fully set deep in the nut..file nut to accommodate string size..(you may want a tech to do this for you)

change string gauge..to thinner strings

adjust string action

adjust neck

the pressure required to play an F barre chord should be the same amount of pressure to play any barre chord..

also try this with barre chords..form an E chord shape with fingers 2 3 & 4.. don't take you fingers off the strings..just apply ENOUGH pressure to make the chord "sound" then release/relax pressure..again don't take you finger off the strings..now..slide the chord form one fret higher..do the same exercise..now barre the chord..and do the "pressure/relax" thing..slide up one fret at a time with this as high as you frets will allow...then do it in reverse..now go lower one fret at a time..."pressure/relax"

note your thumb position in forming barre chords..use it behind the neck for additional pressure application..helps ALOT

hope this helps
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Last edited by wolflen : 03-24-2015 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 03-24-2015, 03:35 PM   #10
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are you learning the E position barre chord? if so the make an E chord with your 2nd, 3rd finger and pinkey. practice that for a bit. then slide that down and drop your first finger across the first frets boom F chord. barre chords take a while to get but once you do they will seem easy. most guys have the vulcan death grip going when they first start which cramps you fingers and kills you hand.
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:17 PM   #11
MaaZeus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macabre_Turtle

It could also be possible that your action is too high.



True. A high action in the nut (in most mass produced cheap guitars this is a common flaw) will certainly make doing a barre at at the 1st fret a pain in the ass, especially for a beginner.
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:14 PM   #12
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Barre chords take a ton of practice to transition smoothly in and out of. I was playing relatively complicated lead lines before I was able to play decent barre chords.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:26 PM   #13
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I thought I replied to this earlier...

OK Anyway I learned on an old Silvertone acoustic with whatever Black Diamond extra heavy strings were available in the 60's. Barre chords were really tough. I started by learning the F chord only barring the 1st two strings, by the time I started learning barre chords I had been playing several years and had fingers that were strong enough to handle it.

I would suggest working mostly with just the 1st two strings barred, try barring all 6 now and then and keep working at it till you build up finger strength. Low action does help. Don't try to wrap your thumb around the neck to barre all 6 strings, use it placed in the middle of the back of the neck to give your fingers some support. I never even think about it so I had to pick up my guitar and see, I wrap my thumb when playing with only the 1st two strings barred, and use it for support in the middle of the neck for barre chords.

Since I have trouble with my wrist and tendons I often switch those 2 chord structures onstage, again without even thinking about it. At home for practicing it makes a little difference in sound, but onstage with a bass player you'll never notice it.

Something I did years ago, I got one of the spring loaded hand exerciser thingies with two handles and a spring in between. Don't know what they're called. I used it daily for several years when I was really having trouble with left hand getting tired easy when playing a lot, to build up strength in that hand. It eventually helped, I lost it years ago and never bothered to get another one. Haven't had trouble with it in a long time though even if I take a break and don't play for a couple o months. Might be worthwhile to look for one of those.

This is the type I used

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Hand-Grip...w-/171610030836

you can also get this type, might be good for guitar players.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gripmaster-...r-/181204783828
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:43 PM   #14
percydw
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maybe record yourself here so people can have a look at what you're doing

https://www.youtube.com/my_webcam

i think strength helps a lot in holding correct form. but you need to have rest/recovery periods in order for strength to develop. i make sure that i don't allow any particular finger to ache too much during practice, and i have rest days to allow recovery (muscle growth).

to improve my F chord i will play F->another chord->F for like an hour straight (or less). but i think it is my strength from gym that allows me to do this and with appropriate positioning and strength. if you are strong then you have a far greater degree of control over your body under difficult circumstances

^ noob

Last edited by percydw : 03-24-2015 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:12 PM   #15
monwobobbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by percydw
maybe record yourself here so people can have a look at what you're doing

https://www.youtube.com/my_webcam

i think strength helps a lot in holding correct form. but you need to have rest/recovery periods in order for strength to develop. i make sure that i don't allow any particular finger to ache too much during practice, and i have rest days to allow recovery (muscle growth).

to improve my F chord i will play F->another chord->F for like an hour straight. but i think it is my strength from gym that allows me to do this and with appropriate positioning and strength. if you are strong then you have a far greater degree of control over your body under difficult circumstances

^ noob

strength has nothing to do with this. i know it seems that way when you start but i can make an f barre without even putting my thumb on the neck at all (and i don't have really low action) . keeping your fingers loose is the way to go and you'll find after the initial problems that once you get it that you don't need nor should use strenght to hold it down. believe me it will come just takes time.
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:30 PM   #16
percydw
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strength in this context means muscle , which allows you to control your body and position your fingers correctly without much "effort".

like , a very strong/muscular person can move his arms very quickly and accurately compared to someone who doesn't have muscle. he can also apply a lot of force onto objects, but that's not necessarily the same thing

make sense?
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:33 PM   #17
highgear
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Same boat, F' the F chord. I just don't play the the high E. Makes switchin from Am or C super easy, sounds fine. Proper? meh F it. 99% of people won't notice.
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:43 PM   #18
monwobobbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by percydw
strength in this context means muscle , which allows you to control your body and position your fingers correctly without much "effort".

like , a very strong/muscular person can move his arms very quickly and accurately compared to someone who doesn't have muscle. he can also apply a lot of force onto objects, but that's not necessarily the same thing

make sense?


umm.... no. fretting chords takes some coordination but that just plain isn't about strength. sorry. ever look at most guitar players. scrawny bunch of guys. i've seen broom handles that were bigger than johnny winter's arms.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:47 AM   #19
vayne92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by percydw
strength in this context means muscle , which allows you to control your body and position your fingers correctly without much "effort".

like , a very strong/muscular person can move his arms very quickly and accurately compared to someone who doesn't have muscle. he can also apply a lot of force onto objects, but that's not necessarily the same thing

make sense?


What a load of bollocks. Tell this to Guthrie Govan.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:50 AM   #20
ayushsinha2000
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jumbo frets also help a lot, you may switch your guitar if you feel its lower quality, i switched from a 50$ plywood acoustic to a better one and its much easier to play now
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