Completely stuck with the F chord

I’m just trying to get my first finger in the right position and just can’t. I have large hands and no matter how I lay my finger, I can’t get the b string to ring out. I can get both e strings to ring, but not the e. I’m not even at the point of where I can put the other 3 fingers. Literally just trying to use my first finger to try and get it into place. Sigh…

2 Likes

Try this. I posted for someone else with similar concern about a month ago:

Another trick I learned is use your right arm (at the bend of your elbow) to push the top portion of the guitar towards you. The headstock should be moving away from your body while the rest of the guitar pivots towards you. It makes the strings come towards your fretting fingers of your left hand. Some complex barre chords are nearly impossible without this trick. I tried it and it works really well. Could be a game changer

1 Like

How long have you been at it? It took me a couple of weeks of everyday practice for my b string to ring out clearly. For me it was how I was pressing it down right under my knuckle. Try experimenting with how you are laying your index finger down. I had to lay it down on it’s side a little for it to really get it to ring out right.

2 Likes

A few days. But I’m just trying to use that 1 finger. It’s like the meaty area of the finger is too squishy to push down the b string. I might try it on an electric to see if I can do it there. So frustrating.

I wouldn’t get discouraged, Justin’s lessons work on the F chord almost the entirety of the Grade 2 modules. You’ll find you’ll get better and better. Every one is different so your anatomy might offer different challenges than mine, but I would look at it like this: people of all hand shapes and sizes have successfully learned and used to F Chord and so can you! Stay positive, we’ve all been there for sure.

Keep at it! It took me ages to get all the bits down. Then you need to put all the bits together. Think months, not days or weeks.

For the b string, what helped me is the idea already mentioned by @SDKissFan (Jeff) about using some pressure with the right arm. Also be sure to pull back with the left arm a little. That sets the finger.

1 Like

Try Justin’s advice of rotating the index finger a bit so you use the edge of the finger more and the meaty part less.

Worked wonders for me!

I have tried that. I have tried my finger in every position I can think of and just can’t get the b to ring out. I’ll keep trying though.

Two more things to try:

When you place your first finger, focus on sliding it up against the fret so that you’re not just pushing straight towards the fretboard, but more diagonally between the fret and the fretboard.

Try moving moving your first finger to the third fret. It should be easier to get a clean sound because you are further away from the nut. If you place the whole F-chord shape with your first finger on the third fret, you are actually making a G-chord.

Finally, over time your the skin on your finger will toughen up and provide more resistance when you push against the strings, similar to the calluses on your finger tips.

I hope these help!

Just keep practicing for a couple of minutes a day and it will all come eventually.

2 Likes

Try playing the barre shape higher up the neck - the 3rd or 5th fret.

If the B string rings on the higher frets, it might indicate a guitar setup problem, not a technique problem.

1 Like

It took me ages to successfully do it correctly, now I can do it most of the time. My problem now is going from the F chord to an open chord or to the F chord.

I suppose that given time I will be able to that as well!

1 Like

I also had (have) trouble with the F chord, as a lot of us do! I found that when trying to look at the strings/finger positioning (guitar arched back slightly to help see strings) I could not get the b string to ring out. However, when I straightened the guitar and did not look over I normally manage to get it. I guess this is due to positioning of the guitar and neck, as mentioned above, and when the guitar is straight rather than slightly arched back to look at the strings, it helps you pressing down on all the strings. Who knew using the correct positioning helps! Good luck and hope to hear you eventually get it!

2 Likes

There’s most likely at least one position where your first finger can fret all the strings. Rolling your finger is one way to find it. Another is adjusting up and down on the strings. If the tip of my finger isn’t about as low as it can go and still fret the low E, the B and high E strings won’t ring. Just keep trying positions and don’t worry if your finger isn’t in the standard position. Everyone’s hands are different.

2 Likes

The B string was hard for me, I kept at it until the side of my finger got calloused a bit that made a difference. It will be a while before I can change from other chords to F with any certainty though.

1 Like

Don’t despair Dave, it must have taken me at least 2 months to both find the right position and start to get consistent, and then another solid month of working on OMC exercises.

I’ve got relatively large hands and long fingers as well and had issues with both the B and high E string. What worked for me was having my barre finger quite high, whereby the first joint of my finger is sitting on the low E. With my anatomy that put the second joint over the bottom 2 strings which suddenly unlocked it. We’re all different obviously but have a play around with the height of your finger as well is my own experience.

I also never thought I’d get it, and with me finding mini-F a real PITA as well it felt like a huge roadblock. Practice and experimentation will get you there.

2 months!! I must have been doing this 6 months (lost count to be honest) and still can’t get it without placing fingers slowly. Moved on to power chords and will have to live with using Fmaj7 instead. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Feels like I’ve put my foot in my mouth now Stuart!! I’d still say keep at it if you can!

No problem for me. I may get shouted at but more to life than playing guitar!!

I’ve been practicing for about 2 years now, and I can honestly say that I finally became confident with the F/C (my preferred F cheat) in the last month or so. I could do the F barre chord reliably before I finally got the “F cheat”.

Since all the practicing we do has a holistic effect, I suggest you work at the F chord cheat for a month or two, then take some time off, then come back to it again. I rotated the F-to-C or F-to-Am OMC into my practice routine from time to time, and found that when I went back to practicing it after some time off, my performance was significantly better.

YMMV,

Ed

1 Like

:joy: True enough, no shouting here!