F Guitar Chord

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.

How to Play F Chord on Guitar

Since we mentioned it upfront, let's start with that F Major barre chord that most guitarists know and love:

F Chord Guitar

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 4th string/3rd fret

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.

F Chord Guitar Easy

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:

F Chord Guitar Easy

  • Use your 1st finger to cover strings 1 and 2 at the 1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/3rd fret
  • Mute strings 5 and 6

F Bar Chord Guitar

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:

F Bar Chord Guitar

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 8th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/10th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/10th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/10th fret
  • Mute string 6

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.

F Chord Guitar Variations

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:

F Major Chord Guitar Variant #1

F Major Chord Guitar

  • Place your 1st finger on the 6th string/1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd string/1st fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/2nd fret
  • Mute strings 1, 4, and 5

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.

F Major Chord Guitar Variant #2

Similar advice can be applied when trying this second open position variant:

F Chord Guitar Variant #2

  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/5th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/5th fret
  • Mute strings 2, 5, and 6

In this version, though, you'll be avoiding strings 5 and 6, while using your 3rd finger to mute the 2nd string.

F Major Chord Guitar Variant #3

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:

F Chord Guitar Variant #3

  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/5th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 1st string/5th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/6th 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.

Make Your F Major Chords the Best They Can Be

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!

Next Lesson:

Fm Guitar Chord

Instructor: Dwight H.
From big bands to rock ensembles, and even R&B groups, Dwight has played with them all. He's been teaching guitar for over 10 years. When teaching, he draws from his experience on stage, injecting the knowledge of what it takes to be a gigging musician into every lesson.
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Ashburn, VA

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