#1
As the title says, I'm a complete beginner with the guitar and have only recently begun playing. I'm working my way through some basic exercises and chords, and I've got to the point where the F chord is introduced. I've done enough reading to know that the F chord is supposed to be the worst of them all, and that it only comes with practice, practice, practice, so that's all fine.

I'm just curious if the F chord is so difficult because of the pressure you have to exert with your barred finger. I ask because it seems like C#m is much easier to pull off, whereas I really need to exert a *ton* of pressure to get F even remotely close to clear. Is that just how it is, or is that partially the result of my soft fingers (still building calluses)?

Practice, practice, practice...
#2
That's pretty much it - the F chord fiddly because you're fretting so close to the nut, meaning you need more pressure than you'd need further up the neck - it just boils down to physics at the end of the day.
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#3
When barring chords close to the nut (okay lets use F Major), remember that the notes on the A, D and G strings are being fretted by your other 3 fingers. So as you lay your index finger across those 3 strings, take advantage of that fact, so you can relax the (index finger) pressure off those 3 strings a little.

With practice you'll find this comes naturally and most of the pressure will be isolated to the Thick E String (using the top of your index finger) and the 2 thinnest strings (for me it's just above my index finger's 2nd knuckle). In essence you are slightly curving your index finger to release the pressure from the A, D and G strings (as previously mentioned).

BIG TIP: Remember, the closer to the fret wires that you can hold the strings required for each chord, the easier (less finger pressure needed) and clearer sounding the chords will be.

  weak
e ||1--|---|---|-
B ||1--|---|---|-
G ||---|2--|---|-
D ||---|---|3--|-
A ||---|---|3--|-
E ||1--|---|---|-

  Okay!
e ||-1-|---|---|-
B ||-1-|---|---|-
G ||---|-2-|---|-
D ||---|---|-3-|-
A ||---|---|-3-|-
E ||-1-|---|---|-

  BETTER!!
e ||--1|---|---|-
B ||--1|---|---|-
G ||---|--2|---|-
D ||---|---|--3|-
A ||---|---|--3|-
E ||--1|---|---|-
Hope it helps!
Last edited by tonibet72 at Jan 25, 2015,
#5
Here's another tip...Have your guitar set up. Many guitars are shipped with the action at the nut rather high, and this makes those first-position barres doubly hard.
Quick way to tell iff this is the case... apply a capo at the first fret. If the first position strings are now much easier to fret....You need an adjustment.
#6
Until you learn the basic open chords don't worry about barring the F. Muffle the top E string with your thumb and form the F chord with the index finger just barring the 1st and 2nd strings. Later on after you actually learn and get comfortable with the basic chords, then start working on barre chords including the F. Use the same fingering shape as a C chord, but barre both bottom strings at the first fret. Barre the top E and try to not play the A. There is also a version that uses the A string fretted on the 3rd fret, it uses all 4 fingers and again you barre the top E.

Go here http://www.justinguitar.com/en/CH-000-Chords.php

Scroll down to the F chords, and look at the one in the middle. That's probably the easiest one to make, the first one is not hard at all either, the last one is the full barre chord you're talking about, work with the others for now and work into that one later when you get more familiar with the chords in general and build up some finger strength. Just remember to wrap your thumb around the neck so you muffle the E string.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#7
Quote by Bikewer
Here's another tip...Have your guitar set up. Many guitars are shipped with the action at the nut rather high, and this makes those first-position barres doubly hard.
Quick way to tell iff this is the case... apply a capo at the first fret. If the first position strings are now much easier to fret....You need an adjustment.

This was interesting! (I seldom use a capo). Thanks!!
#8
Quote by tonibet72
When barring chords close to the nut (okay lets use F Major), remember that the notes on the A, D and G strings are being fretted by your other 3 fingers. So as you lay your index finger across those 3 strings, take advantage of that fact, so you can relax the (index finger) pressure off those 3 strings a little.

With practice you'll find this comes naturally and most of the pressure will be isolated to the Thick E String (using the top of your index finger) and the 2 thinnest strings (for me it's just above my index finger's 2nd knuckle). In essence you are slightly curving your index finger to release the pressure from the A, D and G strings (as previously mentioned).

BIG TIP: Remember, the closer to the fret wires that you can hold the strings required for each chord, the easier (less finger pressure needed) and clearer sounding the chords will be.

  weak
e ||1--|---|---|-
B ||1--|---|---|-
G ||---|2--|---|-
D ||---|---|3--|-
A ||---|---|3--|-
E ||1--|---|---|-

Okay!
e ||-1-|---|---|-
B ||-1-|---|---|-
G ||---|-2-|---|-
D ||---|---|-3-|-
A ||---|---|-3-|-
E ||-1-|---|---|-

BETTER!!
e ||--1|---|---|-
B ||--1|---|---|-
G ||---|--2|---|-
D ||---|---|--3|-
A ||---|---|--3|-
E ||--1|---|---|-
Hope it helps!


Just wanted to pop back in and say that this was *hugely* helpful. I just tried the F chord again and it's way, way easier. Still not perfect, but the knowing that my fingers should be right up against the fret wires made a heck of a difference. Thanks!
#10
Quote by Indrid_Cold
As the title says, I'm a complete beginner with the guitar and have only recently begun playing. I'm working my way through some basic exercises and chords, and I've got to the point where the F chord is introduced. I've done enough reading to know that the F chord is supposed to be the worst of them all, and that it only comes with practice, practice, practice, so that's all fine.

I'm just curious if the F chord is so difficult because of the pressure you have to exert with your barred finger. I ask because it seems like C#m is much easier to pull off, whereas I really need to exert a *ton* of pressure to get F even remotely close to clear. Is that just how it is, or is that partially the result of my soft fingers (still building calluses)?

Practice, practice, practice...


Play the A Major on the fifth fret using the same shape. Once you get good at that, move down to G# and repeat - F is only difficult because of its placement and the pressure required - you're better off gradually building up your strength to get there. The higher up the fretboard you go, the easier it is to fret that shape.

While it's important to be able to do the F - there are better and funner ways of doing it. The Hendrix voicing is much more comfortable to me ( wrap Thumb around bass note, partial bar with index on the high e and b strings) - it also provides you with some options to do fills ( hammer on, pull offs) on the G string.