What is a Bar Chord on Guitar?
When you take a finger, usually your first finger and put it across all the strings. Your Finger becomes a “bar.” Like the nut at the top of the guitar neck.
When you’re starting out learning chords one of the trickiest chord to master is the F chord. Because it’s a bar chord, and most Bar chords for beginners are hard. Beginner guitar players don’t have strong hands. This chord requires a lot of pressure on your first finger to make the strings ring out. See the video lesson to help strengthen your fingers.
Alternative for the F Chord
There are different ways to make the F chord. We will go over the different ways, but first let’s look at the F bar chord. Your first finger is at the first fret barred across all strings. Then if you know how to make an E chord.
Make an E major chord; your fingers are in that same shape, but instead of using your first Second and third finger on the third, fifth, and fourth strings.
Put your second finger on the third string at the first fret, third finger fifth string at the second fret and pinkie on the fourth string at the second fret. If you need to know how to read a chord chart check out this post on Chord Charts.
Now Slide all of that up to the third fret. Your second finger will be at the second fret, and your first finger lay across all the strings. Your first finger is at the first fret.
Before you try playing the F Bar Chord, here is a hint. Position your first finger so that it is on the guitar at the side of your finger this will help you hold down the strings.
The rest of your fingers need to be positioned on the strings so that if you had a dot on the tip of your finger you would not be able to see it. Your finger tips would cover the dot with the guitar strings.
Keep your thumb towards the middle of the back of the guitar neck. If your thumb is up high over the top of the neck you will not be able to play a bar chord. You should be able to see between the bottom of your hand and the guitar neck.
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After you get all your fingers in position, and you’re ready to strum. Don’t strum all the strings at one time. Go one string at a time. If something doesn’t sound right. Then figure out what the problem is, make some adjustments and try again. When you strum the F bar Chord, strum all six strings.
See the video for the positioning of the fingers.
F Chord Acoustic Guitar
Generally the same basic technique applies whether you are playing an acoustic guitar or an electric. On an acoustic guitar it is harder to push down the strings. So as a beginner guitarist it would be advised to start out with one of the easier F chords mentioned in the post, then work your way into the F bar Chord.
If you find that you need to strengthen your fingers take a look at this video lesson on guitar tequnique .
F Chord Guitar Finger Position
Using your first finger, place it at the first fret. Bar the first and second string, Strings F and C. Then place your second finger on the third string at the second fret. Which is ionthe A note.
Again to make it easier to play don’t keep your finger straight on the strings. Move your first finger onto its side a little bit, so that when you press on the strings the outer part of your finger is what you are pushing with. Your first finger will be pointed towards you.
Begin the strum of this F chord from the third string. See the video.
Mini F Barre Chord
Another F chord is similar to the aforementioned. Place your first finger on the first and second string, like a bar. Then place your second finger on the third string at the second fret. Last place your third finger on the fourth string at the third fret.
Remember to use the tips of your fingers on the second and third strings. Proper technique will make it easier to play.
On this type of F chord you don’t strum all the strings. Start the strum at the fourth string.
The above Chord Diagram shows a dot at the sixth string first fret. Which indicates that you would play this string. But to do that you would need to play holding your thumb over the top of the guitar neck and play the note with your thumb.
As a new guitar player I would not recommend doing this. The diagram is for the purpose of showing you the easier F chord. Using your thumb in this manner is how Jimi Hendrix played his guitar. So until you can play like Jimi don’t worry about the 6th string.
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The Fuller Sounding F Chord
If you want a fuller sounding F chord then try keeping all your fingers in position for this F chord. Just move your third finger up to the fifth string, and put your pinkie where your third finger was on the fourth string. After all your fingers are in position strum one string at a time. If it sounds good, then strum from the fifth string down. Have fun with this one.
The F Chord Easy as 123
Here is an easy F chord, start with your finger on the C which is the second string at the first fret. Then your second finger on the third string second fret, which is the A note. Then place your third finger on the fourth string at the third fret, which is an F note.
Remember to strum down one string at a time to make sure its sounding out properly. If not make some adjustments. Don’t strum all the strings. Start the strum at the third string and don’t strum the first string.
When you learn these chords you can play them down the guitar neck and you then have more than 70 chords. Just by learning these chords. For instance on an F chord you move up a fret, and play the same form on the second fret. Now your playing an F Sharp (F#). Move up a fret and now your playing a G.
If you like this post and want to learn more first position chords click the link.
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