F Major - Finger Placement Difficulty


mcrouch36
Registered User
Joined: 01/23/11
Posts: 1
In Fundamentals 1 by Chris, I have gotten down the E, A, D, C, & G chords through much practice and enjoy switching between these chords in practicing my timing.

But, I am having great difficulty with the F chord finger placement. Particularly with using my index finger to hold down the 1st & 2nd strings on the 1st fret. No matter how much I try and practice this chord I can't make any improvement with the dead strings occurring. My index finger always ends up at to much of an angle to flatten the 1st & 2nd strings properly. Have tried slightly modifying my finger placement and no luck so far.

I don't give up easy, but it appears my physical finger structures don't allow me to fret this one chord properly. Am getting frustrated as all the other major chord are now easy to implement.

Chris: Do you have any suggestions that may help me with this problem?
# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,791
Hey & welcome!
Originally Posted by: mcrouch36I have gotten down the E, A, D, C, & G chords through much practice and enjoy switching between these chords in practicing my timing.

Good deal! Congrats on accomplishing this. :)

I dealt with the (dreaded!) F chord most recently in this thread in my instructor forum:

http://www.guitartricks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=33785

Read that, give a try & let me know how it goes! Best of success.
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
KeithVandenEynd
Registered User
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 2
Try playing the F chord shape higher on the fret board where the strings are closer to the frets. For example, play the chord at the 10th fret. Now, you're actually playing a D chord. If everything sounds fine, move the chord to the 9th fret. Still sound good? Continue moving down until the chord doesn't sound good. Work at that fret to get it to sound right and then start moving down again.

Playing chords that contain barres are difficult in the lower positions. Starting higher and moving down allows you to slowly build up your strength.
Keith Vanden Eynden
www.kvemusic.com
# 3
JimmyAlford
Registered User
Joined: 03/28/11
Posts: 24
Hey
+1 to Keith's post above...
Something else you may want to consider is your hand positioning. If your finger is at too much of an angle, try playing the chord but leaving the B and E strings open.
This will hopefully get your hand in a good position (and it sounds cool too :) )
Then, go back to practicing with the barre across the first fret.
# 4
Dan Acheron
Registered User
Joined: 11/29/10
Posts: 120
Great advice Keith!

Mostly everyone has trouble with the F chord when they first learn it. I know I sure did. I doubt there is anything wrong with your finger structure. Keep working at it and after some time you will get it!
# 5
bunnahowen
Registered User
Joined: 02/27/09
Posts: 60
Originally Posted by: mcrouch36In Fundamentals 1 by Chris, I have gotten down the E, A, D, C, & G chords through much practice and enjoy switching between these chords in practicing my timing.

But, I am having great difficulty with the F chord finger placement. Particularly with using my index finger to hold down the 1st & 2nd strings on the 1st fret. No matter how much I try and practice this chord I can't make any improvement with the dead strings occurring. My index finger always ends up at to much of an angle to flatten the 1st & 2nd strings properly. Have tried slightly modifying my finger placement and no luck so far.

I don't give up easy, but it appears my physical finger structures don't allow me to fret this one chord properly. Am getting frustrated as all the other major chord are now easy to implement.

Chris: Do you have any suggestions that may help me with this problem?

How have you been getting on with this? I have always struggled with it. I can play a full F barre chord but I cannot play the version of F you describe. I can barre the two strings no problem but soon as I try to play the full chord I mute strings. I think my difficulty is the index won't work independently. When i apply the barre the other two fingers move and mute. Anyway Hope you have cracked it. best wishes
# 6
Marduk_lia
Registered User
Joined: 07/10/09
Posts: 1
Since every one of the instructor look really fantastic, which one of them you suggest for me (naive,dummie beginner). I just bought my guitar and want to start with you... Please, let me know.
# 7
JJ90
Full Access
Joined: 01/02/11
Posts: 228
Originally Posted by: Marduk_liaSince every one of the instructor look really fantastic, which one of them you suggest for me (naive,dummie beginner). I just bought my guitar and want to start with you... Please, let me know.


You aren't even a full access member ( yet )! Well if you have taken a look around the website you should have noticed that Guitartricks has a Core Learning system. These are videos linked one to another so you get a very structured approach into learning guitar.

For guitar fundamentals 1 and 2 that would be Christopher Schlegel most of the time. After that you can either deepen into Rock, Blues or Country as whichever has your preference ( or maybe you want to do all three styles ).

But to access that you will have to be a full access member.
# 8
mtnbiker1224
Registered User
Joined: 03/06/11
Posts: 1
Originally Posted by: mcrouch36In Fundamentals 1 by Chris, I have gotten down the E, A, D, C, & G chords through much practice and enjoy switching between these chords in practicing my timing.

But, I am having great difficulty with the F chord finger placement. Particularly with using my index finger to hold down the 1st & 2nd strings on the 1st fret. No matter how much I try and practice this chord I can't make any improvement with the dead strings occurring. My index finger always ends up at to much of an angle to flatten the 1st & 2nd strings properly. Have tried slightly modifying my finger placement and no luck so far.

I don't give up easy, but it appears my physical finger structures don't allow me to fret this one chord properly. Am getting frustrated as all the other major chord are now easy to implement.

Chris: Do you have any suggestions that may help me with this problem?

Something a friend taught me that may help use all four fingers to play the F Major chord instead of barring use index and middle fingers respectfully on strings 1 and 2 then normal finger placement after youll have to work at it to get the sound right but it is a little easier.Let me know how you make out.
# 9
tom_ahtom
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Joined: 06/08/11
Posts: 1
testtesttest
# 10
TCRGuitar
Registered User
Joined: 05/05/11
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by: bunnahowenHow have you been getting on with this? I have always struggled with it. I can play a full F barre chord but I cannot play the version of F you describe. I can barre the two strings no problem but soon as I try to play the full chord I mute strings. I think my difficulty is the index won't work independently. When i apply the barre the other two fingers move and mute. Anyway Hope you have cracked it. best wishes


I too found it easier to do the F Barre chord. But unfortunately, it makes for a less smooth transition in changing to other chords (like C).

What I learned was that playing the F chord has a lot to with the muscle just below your thumb. Try playing the F chord and just feel the muscle just under the thumb...it will probably be rock hard...that is the muscle you need to build. To build this muscle I purchased a very inexpensive finger exerciser called a VARIGRIP. It cost about 10.00 and I think I got it at Best Buy in the guitar section of the store.

A couple of simple exercises with this for just a few minutes a day will have you playing the F chord in a couple of weeks. It helped me a lot and really changed my whole attitude towards the guitar and my ability.

Good luck!
# 11
deadlynumber7
Registered User
Joined: 02/28/10
Posts: 52
i had this problem for a long time, and never got to where i could play it corectly.. so i started playing it incorectly,

i currenlty play the fmaj by using my
index on 1st fret of high e
middle on first fret of b
ring on 2nd fret of g
pinky on 3rd fret of D

i know this is a poor way to play and will result in uneeded movement when switching to most chords,

also i sometimes just do the f barre chord and only strumm the high srings if i want this sound.
# 12
illaroo
Registered User
Joined: 06/22/11
Posts: 3
I had a lot of trouble with this chord so now I Bar the the first two strings like in the full bar F chord and I don't get muted strings.Another way I have success with it is to fret the E and B strings normally with my index Finger and the A and F notes with my 3rd and 4th fingers instead of my second finger [M] which is the problem Finger for me.Either way I don't get muted strings.
# 13
mbaker824
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Joined: 07/10/09
Posts: 10
Most people tend to play open chords in "cowboy position"; that is, the back of the guitar neck rests more or less in the palm of the hand and the thumb wraps around. When we play barre chords we usually shift to "classical position"; that is, with the thumb planted squarely on the back of the neck.

The open position F chord isn't really an open position chord - it uses no open strings - and the bar with the forefinger on the 1st and 2nd strings makes it very difficult to play in cowboy position. The only way I can play the "open" F chord is by shifting to classical position as if I were playing a barre chord. Give it a try - you might find it easier.

Mark
# 14
gredway
Registered User
Joined: 06/19/11
Posts: 7
I guess this is a really common problem. I had the same problem but was sat in bed one night and had the guitar to hand and played as suggested in the (excellent) video, couldn't quite get it, subtly shifted my finger and, again, couldn't quite get it, subtly shifted again... trying to find a position that sounded better. After probably 15 minutes of doing that, I found the perfect finger position and then spent the next 30 minutes changing between a-minor and F-major.

I'm not quite sure the point of this post. I think I'm trying to say to keep trying very subtle variations and you'll eventually get it and then you'll need to find ways to repeatadly get it. The second part is probably harder than the first but worth persevering worth.
# 15
Ben Pumpiner
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Joined: 02/07/13
Posts: 16
I'm sure there are many like me who crashed on the F Major wall, and joined the site to get help. I like the lessons, but I have a question. You teach us to read tabs with fretting fingers 1,2,3,4, but the pictures of the chords in the lessons have the "P" for pinky, "I" for index finger, etc. Why do you make us do the translation? Does some tab music come with the I, M, R, P system? Obviously I don't know my ass from my elbow, but I screenshot the chord, insert X, O, 1,2,3,4 and it's way easier for me to learn. Thanks, Ben
# 16
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,791
For those interested in strategies aimed at overcoming the dreaded F chord, please check out this thread! :)

http://www.guitartricks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35576
Originally Posted by: Ben PumpinerI like the lessons, but I have a question. You teach us to read tabs with fretting fingers 1,2,3,4, but the pictures of the chords in the lessons have the "P" for pinky, "I" for index finger, etc. Why do you make us do the translation?[/quote]
The numbers on tab refer to the frets, not the finger used. In order to show the passage of time we need tab to show numbers. That's why there is a separate fretboard image with the I, M, R, P to show finger placement. But a fretboard image is necessarily frozen in time. Works for a chord, but not for a piece of music in which you move your fingers or use a different fret on the same string.
[QUOTE=Ben Pumpiner] Does some tab music come with the I, M, R, P system?

Not in any standard form I've seen. But maybe it should! :) For example, placing the finger letter under the tab note. I'll keep this idea in mind for future revisions. Thanks! It sounds like you've found a workaround for now that works for you.
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 17
Ben Pumpiner
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Joined: 02/07/13
Posts: 16
I can't believe you actually answered my post, thanks a lot. What I meant is, that on the chord chart I think you should just replace the I,M,R,P with X, O, 1, 2, 3, 4. You've taught us that 1 is index, 2 is middle, etc. We really catch on faster than you think, we know the numbered finger on the fret placement by the picture. And it's a lot easier to read tab music when all you know is X, O, 1, 2, 3, 4. Just a thought...fighting with F major, Ben
# 18
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,791
Originally Posted by: Ben PumpinerI can't believe you actually answered my post, thanks a lot.[/quote]
You're absolutely welcome. :) For future reference, I guarantee I will see & reply to a question if you post it in my dedicated instructor forum.

Ask Christopher Schlegel
http://www.guitartricks.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=36

It's in the lower half of the forum home page.
[QUOTE=Ben Pumpiner]
What I meant is, that on the chord chart I think you should just replace the I,M,R,P with X, O, 1, 2, 3, 4. You've taught us that 1 is index, 2 is middle, etc.

Gotcha. That would work well for beginners. But only when you are playing in the first position (the first four frets). Because as soon as you need to move up the fretboard & use any other position (2nd, 3rd, etc.) you put your index finger on a fret that is not 1.

That could lead to confusion because 1 (the finger) would not line up with the fret number any longer. Very quickly you'd have lots of numbers for fingers that don't match the number of the fret.

The F chord is a struggle. We've all been there. :) Try some of the strategies on that thread. I've seen those help lots of students get the F chord under control!
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 19
Ben Pumpiner
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Joined: 02/07/13
Posts: 16
Gotcha, thanks for the detailed explanation. I'll go right over to the F major thread. I think it's so cool you actually answer questions, I suddenly don't feel like I'm fighting this chord alone. Wish I would have had the help beating the G major. You Rock, Ben
# 20