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Yep – you guessed it. Another article I wrote for EzineArticles that I’m pre-releasing here to my readers! Don’t forget to look through the categories section in the sidebar if you came here looking for great tips on playing barre chords properly
The F barre chord is usually the beginning guitarist’s first introduction to barre/movable chords. If not, it is usually the B Minor chord (simply because it’s very common) but that’s for another article. The first thing you should know is that there are two main ways to play an F chord on guitar.
The first, and relatively easier to play, method requires a two-string barre on the first fret. First, you have to use your index finger to hold down the bottom two strings of the first fret. It’s a good idea to pick the two strings to see if they ring out clearly – and adjust your fingering accordingly. Once you get a clean sound from those two strings, you put your middle finger on the 3rd string (counting from the bottom) of the second fret and your ring finger on the 4th string of the third fret. This is the part where the F guitar chord gives beginners a lot of trouble because fretting these other two strings will likely throw off your barre – at first. You should pick the four strings again to make sure that they all resound properly and don’t make any unpleasant buzzing sounds. If they do, adjust your fingering on whichever string/s is/are buzzing and – when they all sound just right – strum those bottom four strings ONLY.
Assuming you get a nice, pretty sound from strumming that chord you can move on to try the F barre chord. This one gets its title because it requires a six-string barre, i.e. you fret all the strings of the first fret with your index finger. This will seem incredibly difficult at first because – in addition to the inherent difficulty in playing barre chords – playing an F chord on guitar (the full barre way) requires the most physical effort, in applying pressure, due to the increased tension at the lower end of the neck where it is played. Similar to what I suggested above, pick the six strings while maintaining maximum pressure on all the strings of that first fret to see if they sound clearly. You simply need to make fine adjustments to the pressure you apply on each string as necessary and practice persistently until you develop the strength, and callouses, to execute the barre properly. The remaining notes of an F guitar chord are fretted by adding your middle finger to the 3rd string (counting from the bottom) of the second fret and adding your ring and pinky fingers to the fifth, and fourth, strings of the third fret – respectively.
It helps to roll your index finger a bit on its side towards the nut (and tuning pegs) and also to align your thumb with the back of the neck for maximum leverage in applying pressure. Again, pick the strings to see which ones buzz and adjust until you get a nice clean sound from all six. Then, strum all six strings to play your first F barre chord!:)
This chord, and barre chords in general, will require a LOT of practice to get right but – once you master them – a new world of guitar playing opens up! Persistence is key!