How to play the F chord? Said EVERY BEGINNER KNOWN TO MAN! Minor, Major, ASUS – here are all the different ways you can play an F chord on the guitar
The F Major chord is a chord shape that usually messes with beginners quite a bit. You’re basically playing right next to the nut, so this can make things trickier – the frets feel larger and the tension is higher. Making a barre chord this high up is always tricky for beginners.
And this is annoying because one of the greatest sounds your guitar can make is a properly barred F Major chord – it sounds glorious. Being able to properly play an F Major chord is something you’re just going to have to get used it – it does take practice but it is fairly easy to lock into your muscle memory.
But a barre chord isn’t the ONLY way to play an F Chord. Oh no, there are quite a few different ways to play an F chord on the guitar, as well as loads of variations like F power chords and F SUS chords too. In this guide, we’ll outline ALL the different ways to play an F Chord on your guitar.
How To Play F Chord
If you don’t want to barre your F chord, there is an alternative way of playing the F Major chord, although you will have to mute out both the low and high strings. Here’s how to play an F Chord (Major) without barring.
The great thing about this F Chord shape is that you can quickly transition into a C Major chord and as anyone that plays guitar knows, C to F sounds divine (especially if you then go to G). All of these chord shapes essentially happen in the same place too, so there are barely any major movements.
If you’re looking for a non-barre method for playing an F chord, this is the easiest and simplest one to start using. This easy F chord uses four fingers, with your first and second fingers sitting on fret one (B string) and fret two on the G string. Your third and fourth fingers then sit on fret three on the A and D strings. Just remember to mute your low and high E strings.
Does This Easy F Chord Sound As Good As Barred F Chord?
Because you’re losing the low E string, the easy F chord does lack the punch and overall tonality of its barred big brother (the properly barred F Chord). It still sounds good, though, especially when tossed in between some other open chords like a C or a G.
If you’re going for a heavier sound, however, you will want to use the proper barre chord version of F – it incorporates both the low E and the high E string and it delivers more low-end thanks to the low E string, and more tonal nuance. I much prefer the barred version of F than the easy version.
What About Playing F Power Chords?
If you cannot manage a full barre chord for your F chord, or you’re looking for a heavier, more minor sound, go with an F power chord shape instead. You can do this with use two fingers, no barring necessary. If you’re playing faster, heavier music the F power chord is likely all you’ll ever need anyway.
How To Play F SUS 4 Chords on Guitar
If you want to add more nuance to your playing and your overall sound, incorporating SUS chords is a very simple hack to make your guitar stand out in the mix. Here’s how to play a variety of F SUS 4 chords on the guitar.
What is an F SUS 4 Chord?
An F SUS 4 chord contains the notes F, Bb, and C, whereby you take the 1 (the root note),m the fourth, and the fifth notes of the major scale to create a chord. This effectively creates an F Major chord shape and the omission of the 3rd and 4th give it its “suspended” feel, hence the name SUS = suspended.
SUS chords like the F SUS 4 Chord are great for adding tension to your playing. To relieve the tension, you simply resolve back to the F Major chord. For instance, try this chord progression: F Major > F SUS 4 > F Major . Sounds good, right? Nice and nuanced and packed with tension. This is exactly what SUS chords are designed for.
Don’t Fear The Barred F Chord
I know doing a full barre for F Major can feel impossible when you first start out. But getting it down is essential to your playing, especially if you want to play rock and metal music. And while you can and will be able to get away with a two-finger F power chord, it is well worth learning to play both F Major and F Minor in their full-barred shapes (see below).
To practice the fully barred F Major / Minor chord, spend a good 20 minutes every day switching from a G or C chord to a fully barred F Major or Minor barre chord. At first, your fingers won’t know what they’re doing. After a week, you’ll have it pretty much nailed. Just make it a focus of your practice every day until you have it down – do not RELY on the easy F chord shape. It doesn’t sound as good.
Songs That Use F Chord
One of the quickest ways to learn to play the F chord properly is to simply drill it into your muscle memory, and the quickest way to do that is to play the F chord A LOT. And if you want to play the F Chord a lot and not get bored, you might as well learn some songs that use the F chord a lot. This way, you’ll learn the F chord and a few new songs in the process. Double bonus!
Plenty of EPIC tunes use the F Chord. Nearly all modern rock and metal will have an F note at some point, though these will usually be power chords which are a lot easier to play as you only need to two fingers. If you want to master the F barre chord, you will have to turn to pop music for some easy songs that you can learn quickly. Here are a few via AndyMusic to get you started:
- Adele – Rolling In The Deep
- Ho Hey – The Lumineers
- Laid – James
- Story Of My Life – One Direction
- The Monster – Rihanna/ Eminem
- Let Her Go – Passenger
- Save Tonight – Eagle Eyed Cherry
- Titanium – David Guetta
Do I like any of these artists? Absolutely not. But if you want to learn a proper F barre chord any of these songs is a great place to start. If you’re an absolute beginner, have a go Save Tonight by Eagle Eyed Cherry – it’s a great tune, it is well known, and it is super easy to play.