Acoustic Guitar / new strings / F Chord

I wouldn’t say the wider nut specifically helped with the F chord. Thanks to the wider nut there was more space between the strings which helped me, and my sized fingers, fret all chords easier, not limited to but including the F chord.

I used the example of how the wider nut helped me to support the idea of using lighter strings to make the F chord easier for you.

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That’s no problem at all, it’s my pleasure!
Yes you’re correct in your assumption, right next to the fret, say about 3mm away max.
The other thing that nobody has mentioned is that the scale length of the guitar also makes a difference; a shorter scale length with the same gauge strings = easier to play than one with a longer scale length. That’s because a shorter distance between the open strings needs less tension to get the same note.
One of my acoustic guitars has a shorter scale length but I use a heavier gauge string set on it because it sounds nicer. That is the problem with going for thinner strings because if you go too far it sounds very tinny and metallic, that’s why I suggested to not go lower than 11’s - you may have been disappointed with the result!
This is just another part of the journey, it’s not just learning to play it’s about the technicalities as well, and Electric guitars are, well more complex but correspondingly more fun :joy:

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Bending is a thing on acoustic guitars. It is just much more difficult due to the increased tension of the strings.

I remember one of Justin’s “Wish you were here” video lessons were he actually says he was going to have difficulty with the bends in the solo due to the strings he had on his guitar. He didn’t want to change them just for the lesson. Of course he proceeded to bend whatever beefy strings he had with what appears to be no difficulty at all…:roll_eyes:

Since I like heavier strings under the finger, but lower tension, I eventually moved to a shorter scale guitar, as mentioned. Combined with designed “low tension” strings (Straight up Strings) I am really enjoying it. I could tune down and capo if I want even lower, but this is a 12 fret guitar (neck to body at 12th fret) so less real estate and eventually, too little tension will buzz unless I increase the action.

Roughly speaking, the Straight up Strings are almost the tension of one size lower, so 12s are similar to 11s. The Newtone Heritage set I have is even lower, much lower, I think. They are made in the UK I think, so you may have easier access to them than I do. I haven’t tried them yet, though.

You can always grow into heavier tensions later. I don’t think there is anything wrong with starting on lighter strings and graduating up a level when you want to. It isn’t like our “tone” is optimal yet anyway, so the difference between 11s and 12s is probably insignificant.

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Oh I love learning new stuff, so all of this is simply brilliant. I am a bit grateful, though, that my friend gifted me an acoustic guitar and not an electric guitar - I probably would still fiddle with all the buttons instead of starting to learn chords :sweat_smile:

One additional question: Do I have to re-tune the guitar for that trick with the capo? I think Jamolay said something similar to you and now I’m confused (but I am on my third coffee for the day, so that’s probably the reason for that…).

Thanks a lot again!

So… basically there are not only what feels like thousands of different guitars out there, they also can have longer or shorter scales? I think my level of confusion has reached a new height :joy: :see_no_evil: I guess thankfully another guitar is not an option right now, but I’ll keep that in mind!

And I think I know which video you mean. I love “Wish you were here” and I spent five lovely hours in February trying to get the first ~20 seconds “right”. The song was and still is way out of my league, but I love those 20 seconds :joy:

Anyways: I’ll keep your words and the differend strings in mind once I earn my own money again. For now, with the promotion on Wednesday in the guitar shop, I’ll have to stick to the Fender standard strings or I’ll have to pay for them :sweat_smile:

Just to answer a few questions.

Guitars have a scale length, measured as twice the distance from the 12th fret to the saddle and therefore naturally roughly the length from the nut to saddle (there are reasons this is “roughly”).

Your guitar has a 25.3 inch scale length. I am not sure where the cutoff is, but 25” and longer may be “long” scale and shorter is “short” scale. My guitar is 24.75” scale.

The longer the scale the more tension needed for a given string to be brought to tone. The difference between your guitar and mine is probably close to 6%, so if total tension for your set of strings was 150 lbs, on my guitar it would be roughly 141 lbs. A noticeable difference, but likely less than the difference between two string gauges.

Guitars can have very different scale lengths, eventually becoming baritones if long enough. Seems like common lengths are between 24.5 and 25.5 inches.

There, more than you cared to know!

For the capo “trick” you want to tune the whole guitar down so the tension is reduced and when you put the capo on, it is back in normal tune. “Flat” tuning is 1/2 step down, tuning to Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, eb. Then the capo at the first fret puts the guitar at standard.

You can go a full step down for a greater reduction in tension. That’s D, G, C, F, A, d.
Then the capo goes in the 2nd fret.

I once figured out what the reduction in tension was for these moves, but can’t recall. I think also in the 5-6% per half step.

Someone correct me if I am getting anything wrong.

In your situation, I suggest figuring out what gauge string you like, then trying the capo trick and just seeing what works for you.

One nice thing with the capo is also to reduce the reach needed. It mimics a shorter neck, like my 12 fret guitar! Good for my shoulder!

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@Estel You’ve gotten plenty of advice about string gauge, so you probably don’t need more from me, but one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is what type of string to choose.

Given that you only have the option of the strings that are part of the guitar shop promotion, I would ask them which of the strings they have available are less likely to corrode. The oil and sweat on your fingers will eventually corrode the strings, which makes them sound dead and break more easily. The metal used and coating on the strings makes some corrode faster than others. I’m no expert, but I believe that 80/20 strings will corrode faster than phosphor bronze and then there are numerous coatings used. So I would ask them for their opinion on which to choose.

If you can’t afford to change strings very often, you want strings that will last as long as possible.

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Thank you so much! I’ll try that :smiley: And I learned something new :smiley: I love this community!

Thank you! That’s brilliant advice! I’ll ask them if I have options and hopefully the new strings are good to go for a long time. The ones I have now are two years old, but my friend who gave me the guitar hadn’t played in almost a year before I started. And when I was in the shop during the summer, the people there said new strings would be an issue by the end of the year. So: perfect timing :smiley:

And hopefully by the time they need to be changed again I have more money than I do now xD

Not to see if the nut isn’t cut correctly but if you would like to play that way yes. I would go a bit further than has already answered, I would detune by 2 or 3 semitones and put the Capo on the second or third fret, and as you find it easier to play the difficult chords take the Capo down one fret and tune up to pitch, rinse and repeat until you get to no Capo!

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Ah, the Community is back online and I can give you an update!

I went to the shop on Wednesday and once again I was blown away how nice everyone was. I always feel like an impostor in guitar stores because I know next to nothing compared to most people there.

Anyways: The guy from Fender was very nice, had an extensive look at my guitar and measured the strings I had - apparently they were 11s. He then listened to my description of my problems with the F chord and it was nice to hear that pretty much everyone struggled with it at the beginning (I know, Justin said that, all of you reassured me… still, it was nice to hear :sweat_smile: ). He recommended coated strings so they’d last longer. And, to top it all, he adjusted the nut a bit so I’d be able to “learn the F chord comfortably”. We decided against any capo “tricks” because he would have had to adjust the neck for that and again every time I’d move the capo up a fret… which would be too much trouble for me especially with the cost of public transport.

Anyways: I had a very good time, got a Fender shirt and a Jackson keychain as a gift (I love merch :joy: ) and was eager to get home to play more than the few easiest chords I dared to play in the shop.

Imagine my surprise when I came home and tried out the F chord and all strings rang out! I was only able to repeat that twice, but I’ve been successful a few times every day since then. I also find other chords easier to play. I dreaded the C chord for such a long time and now it’s easy? Feels like magic!

Anyways, thanks to all of you for your kindness and your wonderful tips and tricks!

I’ll now try to get that beautiful green Fender strat out of my mind. I intentionally didn’t ask how it sounds but still… it was directly in front of me the entire time I waited :see_no_evil:


That is great! What a difference a setup makes. Btw, they put that green guitar right there exactly for the effect it had on you!

I get the awkward feeling of being an imposter in a guitar store, but remember that every single one of the non-imposter complex people was, at one point, in your shoes. Everyone needs to start somewhere and you belong there as much as the rest of them.

Isn’t it fun when the barre cords actually work! So encouraging! Keep on it!


Wow, almost a month with out an F barre cord thread popping up!

Well, I was busy practicing strumming patterns with cord changes to a metronome. One of my weakest areas it seems.

What I discovered is that, yes, I need some remediation with the F cord. Gads, just when your are starting to feel you have it down, you take a small step forward and realize that you don’t really have it ready for that yet, do you?:man_facepalming:t3:

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