Thinking that the only way you can play the F Major chord (F, A, C) on your guitar is as a barre chord? While it's true that the barre-version of F Major is one of the most popular, it's only one of several voicings you can employ, and learning a few of the others will help vary your playing and help augment your sound in a way that will get people to notice. Those other voicings can pose a bit of a challenge, however, so today we're going to walk you through some of the many ways you can play F Major with style.
Since we mentioned it upfront, let's start with that F Major barre chord that most guitarists know and love:
This should look familiar to all of you barre chord masters out there; it's just your run of the mill, "E-shape" barre chord moved up to match the notes in F Major. No difficulties here, unless you haven't quite honed your technique for playing barre chords.
If you've not mastered your technique for playing barre chords, there's a "half measure" you can use that's also on the 1st fret and easier to play:
The fun with F Major barre chords doesn't end there, mind you. Lest we forget, there's also the "A-shape" version you can find on the 8th fret:
Again, if you've been practicing your skills with barre chords (proper wrist placement, pushing up with the thumb, etc.), none of these voicings should pose much difficulty.
Let's say you have a good handle on barre chords, though, and you just don't feel like using them to play F Major, what then? As it turns out, you have plenty of no-barre options up and down the fretboard. You just need to be able to mute the strings right and stretch your fingers to get into the proper position. Let's start with this alternative at the 1st fret:
Don't get intimidated by those strings you'll need to mute; just stay calm, and use your 1st finger to lightly touch strings 4 and 5, dulling their sound. With your strumming hand, be sure to avoid the 1st string, and you should get the sound you're looking for in short order. It'll take some dexterity (and practice), but stay diligent and you'll grasp it in time.
Similar advice can be applied when trying this second open position variant:
In this version, though, you'll be avoiding strings 5 and 6, while using your 3rd finger to mute the 2nd string.
Once you've got the hang of it, get ready to move out of open position, as we tackle this voicing on the 3rd fret:
In some respects, this should be easier, as you can just avoid the 5th and 6th strings and won't have to mute anything in between. Hope you've been working out your fingers, though, since you'll need to stretch a bit to get your 4th finger up to the 6th fret while simultaneously holding down at the 3rd fret with your 1st finger.
With that, you should be armed with a few more ways to play F Major than the average guitarist. When you have the time, you can also start exploring some of F Major's additional voicings, at the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th frets as well. Remember, however, that in music, knowledge without training is next to useless, so start woodshedding for the best results. As always, good luck, and happy practicing!
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