Now, every single person
I’ve ever taught to play guitar, in all the years I’ve been teaching,
has struggled with this chord. I struggled with this chord,
everybody struggles with this chord. It’s almost a bit of a rite of passage: if you’re going to play guitar, you have to struggle your way through
playing F chord. But you learn loads in the process: your fingers develop
loads of kind of better techniques and strength and flexibility
and it’s something, you can’t avoid it but you have to face it
and the only way to do it is to practice it and practice it
and practice it. Now what I am going to show you, is a few different ways of playing an F chord. Now the first one, which is really
the one that I kind of recommend, is going to be the F barre chord. Now, there are smaller ways of doing it,
which are easier, and, for some people,
are a better way of doing it. But I’ve been really experiencing
a lot of progress with students that I’m just throwing straight
in the deep end and going : “try this barre chord”.
And I think it works. About 70% of the time,
people just get it and then they got the big chord from then on.
Which is great. For those of you that struggle
or if you’re young and your fingers are a little bit small,
a little bit weak, you might not be able to play
the first big F chord that I’ll show you. And you might have to resort
to one of the other two. But that’s okay.
You use those other two as well. I still use the little two as well.
It’s not just like: the big one is the big daddy
and that’s the proper one and the other ones never get used. They all get used, just the big barre chord one
is the toughest one. So here’s our little F chord.
And this is an F barre chord, because this first finger here
is creating a barre and pressing down all of the strings. We do have , of course,
fingers in front of the barre, . . . which enable us to play our F chord. And the way to think of this chord
that you’re playing, is it’s really kind of an E chord, but your first finger is replacing the nut. So, if I go back and I’ll show you,
there’s an E chord, now if I play the same dots of the E chord but remove my first finger,
second finger goes to where first finger was, third finger goes where second finger and little finger goes
where third finger was. We still got an E. it sounds the same,
but it’s now using different fingers. If we slide that up a fret
and put our first finger down, . . . we end up with an F barre chord.
Now, this is difficult because of how much pressure
you have to do here between your thumb and your first finger in order to hold that finger down
and press all of the notes. It is a tough chord.
There’s no doubt about it. It also helps if you think
your first finger is kind of pressing in a bit sideways. It’s not really the flat of the finger,
it’s really the kind of the angled edge. If I’m here, we’re still in the shot, Jed? So, it’s this little kind of that part of your finger
that does the pressing. It’s not the fleshy part down here,
because that’s too soft. We’re after this little edge part,
which is really hard. So, when it’s on your chord there,
it’s nice and tight and I can really lock in. The thing to do with it,
if you’re going to try this F is : have a bit of a go at it,
maybe you try it for a week, pick out the notes one at a time . . . See if you can get most of the notes ringing out and if you can, if you can get say,
three out of the six ringing out clearly, then you want to persevere probably
with trying to do this version of the F chord. The hardest notes to do are
these thinest two strings, is getting the barre down enough . . . to work on those two. Now, if you really want to persevere with this one, you might want to go
and check out the videos I’ve got on playing barre chords as well, just because those videos go
for twenty minutes or something and there’s a lot more information
than I can go through here, on playing the barre. Because only a certain percentage of you
are going to be able to do this barre chord F. So those of you that don’t want to do this one or find the barre chord a little bit too full on, you might want to go to this second version
which I call “Old School”. . . . And in this version, we’ve taken away the note
from the thickest string. So we’re no longer having to do a big barre, but we do have to do a little barre here
with the first finger, which is covering two strings. So instead of being the point, like we have been for all of our chords so far,
or most of the chords, we’re doing a little barre.
Much like that A mini barre we looked at. And we’re just trying to think of keeping
that knuckle forward too. That’s pretty important. Then the other fingers are in the same position
as they were for the other F chord. That’s second finger,
second fret, third string, third finger,
third fret, fifth string and little finger underneath
third fret, fourth string and first finger down. For most people,
they find it easier to do it that way. To do second finger, third finger,
fourth finger and then try and get that barre down.
It does feel a little bit awkward. Most people struggle with this chord. Not normally as much as the big barre chord F,
but it’s still a little difficult. The thing that you want to do
here as well is make sure the third finger is muting that sixth string. It only just has to touch the sixth string lightly, and . . . we still got ourselves a pretty nice F chord. Of course we haven’t got
an F bass note on this chord, but it sounds pretty cool and this is the one used a lot
in the kind of the old school. In the 60’s and the 70’s,
most people played the F chord like this. Now if that’s still,
you’re finding that a little bit too big, you can also do this third version,
which I call the small F, which is: first, first two fingers stay the same and we just have the third finger here,
on the thinner string. So, if you remember back to our Fmaj7 chord, which looked like this,
very nice, simple little chord. And all we have to do is:
lay the first finger, lift it up and put it down flat
so it covers the thinnest two strings. . . . And we have now our F chord,
which is kind of an F mini chord if you like. Now, and this is a very common,
cool way of playing F chord for beginners. You can still need a little bit of strength there
with the thumb in the back. Now, there’s a more advanced version
of this one as well, where you can actually
wrap whole hand around and bring your thumb over the top here, to play the bass note with your thumb. . . . Now, I definitely, definitely don’t recommend
you doing that one for now. That one’s pretty tough.
But just in case you see other people, you might see mee doing it, I very often play the barre chord F like this instead of playing barre chord F like that.
So, just be aware of it, but I wouldn’t be trying to do
the thumb wrapping over technique until you’re well into your intermediate
kind of level guitar stuff. Not as a beginner. You’ve got there three different ways to play F. It is a tough little cookie as I said.
Everyone struggles with it, including me. I had a horrible time with F chord
when I learned it. In fact, I struggled with G chord as well, which most of my students don’t seem to.
But I found G really hard. So, don’t be one of those guys like me, that runs around looking for songs
that don’t have F or G in it. That’s not cool. Just face up to it,
get in there and practice it. Because it is only practice
that’s going to make it better. Your hand is going to hurt a little bit,
particularly this muscle in here, between your thumb and your first finger. This is the muscle that has to get
the biggest workout from your barres. It is a bit tough, just takes practice.
Just like going to the gym or whatever. Every time you’re doing it,
you’re making that muscle work a little bit harder and it gets a little bit stronger.
So, that’s F. This is a really, really important part of this stage. There is another important part as well. Like I said earlier: this is an important stage.
You’ve got an F chord and you’re going to learn to use ties as well,
which is a strumming technique. So, lots of practice on your F chord. And I’m going to see you in a very short leave, for some one minute changes involving F.