F# Major (F#, A#, C#) is another one of those guitar chords that lacks "easy" voicings for newbies to pick up quickly. It's also one of those chords that you shouldn't overlook, because just when you think you won't be needing it, it'll pop up in a song and be critical to your playing. So, in the interest of preparing you to be an effective guitarist, we'll be showing you how to nail F# Major and its varied voicings, tricky though they may be!
While there are a few open position voicings for F# Major, we won't be starting there today. Instead, we'll first be taking a look at one of the most commonly-employed methods of playing the F sharp major guitar chord, the barre:
As you can see, this is just a straightforward, "E-shape" barre chord. No tricks or surprises here, so if you've already perfected playing your rudimentary barre chords, you should be secure in playing this voicing (part of what makes it so popular).
There's also the "A-shape" barre chord for F# you can play up at the 9th fret, if you prefer:
If you're craving a different sound, however, there are a pair of complex open position voicings you might want to try instead:
The difficulties here will be muting the strings you don't need (obviously). On our first variant, you can easily avoid playing the 1st string if you have good control of your strumming hand, but the 4th and 5th strings will require a subtle touch from your 1st finger to keep them muted.
On the second variation, you won't have to worry about the 1st string, but you will still need to use your 1st finger to help dull those two inside strings to keep them from making a noise.
Practice, as the old saying goes, will make perfect, but while you're ironing out your technique with these two, keep in mind there's one final (and easier) open position voicing you can also use:
This voicing shouldn't give you too many issues, and if you look closely, you'll see this is just a pared-down version of the barre chord version of F Sharp Major we introduced you to earlier. If you can play the barre, you can play this chord too.
Now let's mix things up for the finale. If you're ready for a stretch, try this voicing at the 6th fret:
It'll take some effort to get your pinky up the fretboard, but the result will be a rather smooth-sounding version of F# that'll "wow" your audiences (if they can pick up on the finer points of technique, that is). There are plenty more voicings to discover, but we'll wrap things up here so you can get started on learning these chord shapes first.
F# Major chord might not be the friendliest chord on the guitar, but it's well within your ability to grasp, so long as you stay dedicated to learning. These voicings will be good for patching up any holes in your chord game, so stay on target and stay focused on mastering them all.
When you're ready, start exploring some of the other F# variations there are as well (like the 8th and 9th fret non-barre voicings). As always, good luck, and happy practicing!
Learn to play the guitar fast with an expert guitar instructor. You can take lessons locally or online. Want to see the instructors near you?