F Bar chord first finger position

So the only way I can get the F Bar chord bottom 2 strings to sound good is to position the first finger with the bottom 2 strings pressing at the red lines of my finger ( image ) . However I’m not sure if the tip of the finger is sticking out too far (image 2 ) . If I press at the blue lines then the tip of the finger does not reach the low E string. I can not press anywhere in the yellow highlighted area. Any advice ?

Thick E string should be near the tip

Looks like you are using the flat of your index finger rather than the side


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Hello Gene, fellow beginner here (just starting Grade 3). I do think your finger is too far over the fret board. When I learned F, I had the same trouble you’re having. The best advice I can give is to re-watch the video of the lesson and focus on the various tips Justin gives. (The text on the website is helpful as a reminder of them.) Beginning at 4:30 in the lesson he describes why it’s a bad habit to have the finger sticking out so far. Further on he’ll give suggestions on rolling the finger to the side to maximize contact with the firmer parts (it doesn’t appear from your photo that you’ve quite got this). Remember, for F you only need to depress strings 1,2, and 6! As I recall it took me several weeks before I found a position that will work. Keep us posted on your progress!

I’m using the side ( in the photo looks like the flat ) . If I lower the finger the B or high E string would be in the yellow area ( at the joint where the finger bends ). That area is very sensitive (has very little tissue and close to the bone). It’s very painful for me to press the strings in that area. I can press further down at the blue lines but the tip will not reach the Low E

Yes, I’m aware that being over the top is not optimal. That is why I’m asking for advice. Also, I’m rolling the finger and using the side ( but in the photo it looks like flat )

Try playing the chord at the 5th fret(A barre chord) with the tip on the black line Rob added to your finger. It will take less pressure and help strengthen your index finger.
What kind of guitar are you using? It may need to be set up. It shouldn’t hurt your finger to play barre chords.


Pressure and finger strength are not the problem. It’s just that for the tip of the finger to be in the recommended position range I would need to press the bottom 2 strings in the red area ( image) where the finger joint is and it’s extremely sensitive area that prevents me from applying the pressure needed.

A properly set up guitar doesn’t need a lot of pressure to fret the strings so sensitivity shouldn’t be a problem. Also your finger will get tougher so it’s not sensitive any more.

Hi Gene,

Stitch’s comment on proper setup is especially important toward the F. If the nut is cut a little high, then pressing hard enough right next to it can be painful. Test your grip at say barre on fret 5 and see how it goes. If this works better, then there are three things you can consider:

  1. Look into a setup reducing the nut height.
  2. Reduce the string gauge one step on your next string change
  3. wait until your finger adapts (building some skin stiffness on the side of the barre finger)

I have trouble just like yours. I have done #2 and #3 as #1 was in good shape for me. I can get a good barre chord but I still struggle with any string under your yellow knuckle. Your ‘too high’ image looks really too high as I would not want my tip knuckle over string 6 as it is just too far to bring that finger back into position for something not a barre chord.

Time for some bad news. :slight_smile:
You are just starting, but you will eventually need to be able to lift fingers 2 or 4 to get minor and 7th chords. I am still struggling with the minors (finger 2) because my knuckle sits right over that string when my finger is in the proper position. If I raise it higher, I fix the minor, but generate a problem on the 7th. I feel like it is a bad idea to get used to two positions for finger 1, so I started to drill this and am seeing the skin stiffen a little which is helping. I am trying to keep finger 1 in a reasonable position and not too high for these drills.