You read that title right. We are going to talk about how to play the F barre chord, or every beginners sworn enemy. DUN DUN DUN!
Ahem! We apologize. Now let’s get back to the lesson.
Yes, it is a tricky chord, and to be honest, all barre chords can be a pain in the ass to get a hang of. But trust us, they are extremely important and useful to learn and master. Being able to play barre chords will grant you the ability to play power chords and whatnot. Also, a lot of songs use barre chords, so learning them will take your guitar skills to the next level.
Without any further ado, let’s get into business.
How to Play the F barre Chord
First things first, we want to know what exactly does the F barre chord look like. Take a look at the chord shape below:
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the infamous F barre chord of which many speak. The shape may look daunting at first glance, but you will come to realize that it is nothing so complex. Note, however, that this is the major F barre. There is also a minor version. But there’s much difference between the two versions.
How to Play
First off, this chord descended from an ancestor: E-major chord. The only evolution that took place here is shifting the E major to the next fret and barring the first fret of all 6 strings.
- To start off, press the first fret of the 3rd string, or the G string, with either your index or middle finger ( we recommend the middle finger ).
- Next, press down the 2nd fret of the 5th string, or the A string, with either your middle or ring finger ( again, we recommend the ring ).
- Lastly, fret down the 2nd fret of the 4th string or D string, with either your ring or pinky finger ( pinky ).
Now, can you guess which chord we just did?
True! The E-major chord!
As for how we’re going to turn this chord in the F barre shape is simpler than 1+1. Simply shift the E-major shape you are holding– as we assume — and shift it down one fret. And the reason we recommended using the last 3 fingers for this chord is because we are going to use the index finger for the barre.
The end result should be as follows:
-Middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string.
-Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th string.
-Pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th string.
The last step is to barre all 6 strings of the first fret. And strum all 6 strings, as well.
At this point, your fingers may have messed up the whole shape as a result of adding the barre. No worries, though. We’ve got a tip for you.
Make sure that your fingers are not leaning towards the nut. This is a common mistake beginners make. You may have heard, or read, about the fact that you should be barring with the bone-y side of your finger rather than the fleshy side. It’s true. However, doing so may prompt you to angle all of your fingers to the same side as the barring finger.
What you want to do is keep the barring finger angled to the side, but, at the same time, keep the rest of your fingers perpendicular to the fret-board. You may face some difficulty at first, but with enough time and practice, you will build the muscle memory and coordination to keep your shape angled correctly.
A small tip is to put them in position manually; in other words, use your other hand to correct your shape positioning. Over time, your muscle memory will start to realize that this is the right position and you will see yourself making the shape without thinking about it. Just give it some time and don’t get discouraged!
As aforementioned, there is also a minor shape for the F Barre. Luckily, it’s quite simple and it’s extremely similar to the major shape. The only difference is that you have to take out the middle finger from the shape, resulting in something like this:
If your barring is still weak, you can use the middle finger to help add some pressure to your barring finger.
Once you get a hang of both chord versions, you can start switching between the two and even slide to different frets along the fret-board. If you want some simpler versions to practice on, go here.
Don’t forget to keep us up to date with your progress!