Stuck in Grade 2 due to the F barre chord

I am forever stuck in grade 2 because of f barre chord.
I can play the f chord and e major barre chords on the frets above even better but my f chord still chooses to buzz sometimes and while playing songs the f chord has not shown any improvement.
I need help big time!

There’s no reason not to move onto grade 2 at all, just continue to practice the F barre chord as well.

Most people struggle with it but once you crack it you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about, keep trying, you’ll get there.



Firstly, I agree with @Gregba … nothing wrong with moving on with consolidation and starting grade 3 while keeping on with work on F barre.

I assume you have experimented with all 6 tips offered in the F Chord lesson?

Lastly, if your guitar has never been properly setup, especially if an acoustic, then worth getting that done. Many people find immediate improvement in playing the F barre after doing that.

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Totally agree with @Gregba and @DavidP keep working on it and move on.

Big question is are you playing acoustic or electric ?

I picked up barre chords quite easily back in the day when I first started circa '96 but that was on electric. After an off on journey and finding Justin, I used electric to learn new things and acoustic to consolidate them. Figuring once I could do it on acoustic the technique or chord was “golden”.

When I went through the old BC Stage 6 it took me 6 months to play the E shaped F chord on my acoustic. It was really hit and miss but no problem on my two electrics (yes viewers only two back then).

I had the acoustic set up for the first time in its life and played a seamless F in the shop !!

So acoustic or electric, if you have not had it/them set up, it will definitely make a difference.


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@DavidP I just had it setup the day before, i wish to move onto next grade but songs using f chord are still rusty and my repertoire is hence short.

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I stink at barre chords too, but nonetheless I’m about to start Grade 4. For a while I just avoided any song with an F chord, but for the past few months I’ve been playing the various “easy” versions. Honestly, even watching a pro they’re often playing a non-barre version of the F chord, especially if they’re playing acoustic or fingerpicking.

I do want to learn to barre but mainly I want to have fun and not get overly frustrated with the learning process. :slight_smile:

In fact, I was just watching Justin’s “Hallelujah” lesson this morning. Even in the demo, he switches between an F barre and an “easy” F, for no reason that’s apparent to me.

Avleen, the action does look fine. I then suggest you re-watch the F chord lesson to ensure you have all the pointers fresh in mind, keep working those songs as part of your practice routine, and move on to the next lessons.

There really are not hard and fast absolute rules. Yes, Justin’s programmes is tried and tested to lay a solid foundation, but first and foremost you need to stay engaged and inspired. And it sounds like you should move on.

Another idea is to just forget about that F barre chord for a month or two. Continue to learn, practice, and play as regularly as possible. Then come back to it. I have found sometimes that general improvement in unrelated areas translates into improvement on something like playing the F barre.

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Thank you sir, i will move onto further lessons.
Playing alone in your room can be rough if the progress is slow.
Support from the community and teachers like you mean the world to me and keep my dreams fresh.


If the playability of some songs is a concern, why not just transpose to another key?

As above review the lesson again, put a capo on the guitar, practice perfect chord changes and the songs you are working on in addition to the new material. As you feel improvement change the position of the capo until you’re playing without the capo with no buzz.

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Hi Avleen. You might try strumming an F chord, then playing each string to see an area to correct. I know I had to move my index finger “in and out” to find the sweet spot. I went to the “easy” F for a while before getting the “hard” one perfected. The good news is that I learned a new chord that actually comes in handy in certain songs with faster chord changes. You’ll get it. Just give yourself time!

Hi Avleen,
Much fab advice above. Good idea to leave it for a bit then come back to it. In my experience you just have to keep working it. It will come. Just takes time. Remember your first finger only really needs to barre strings 6, 2 and 1. The other fingers are doing the other strings. That might help. I remember my first lesson on the F barre and I just thought are you kidding or what??? I was rubbish at it for a long time.That was some years ago. It took a while but I got there and now it’s just not an issue. You will get there too. Just don’t give up. It will happen. :grinning:

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I think I learn slower than average and I was definitely slow learning the F chord, but I managed to make progress by playing a chord progression with an easy transition to F. For me it was D-minor to F. I keep the second finger as an anchor and move the other fingers. (The song was Far From Any Road by the Handsome Family.)

The next step was to do a bit harder transition, but lots of repetition. EG: a repetitive progression with A-minor to F. I still use second finger as an anchor, but I have to slide it over by a string before forming the F. A good song for this is The Passenger by Iggy Pop–the whole song is the same cycle repeated until the end. I play it as a bit of a warm up.

I’m not 100% yet, but when I’m playing well my hand is relaxed and everything just flows.

Don’t worry if it takes 6 months, or a year. Just keep at it every day.

Seriously, practice it, but move on also.

Barre chords are hard and no one will ever play every one perfectly.

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If you’re getting E major style barre chords further down the neck but struggling with buzzing with F, the problem could be the guitar. As F is closer to the nut, a high nut will mess you up.

Im gonna throw my 2 cents in here. There are two main things imo with the f barre on acoustic. Strength and accuracy. I worked on accuracy first, to do this i put a capo on the first fret this makes fretting the f barre easy its technically going to be an F# barre. Then slow methodical practice to get my accuracy correct. I want to be able to place all 4 fingers down at the same time with no issues.

After i had the accuracy down i removed the capo and started working on the strength to fret the barre on the first fret. Im using light strings on my acoustic as well. That helped alot coming from mediums.

When i started practicing the barre this way i found out that i had the finger placement of the first finger correct. But because i had not built the strength up in my wrist, hand, and arm i was thinking i was doing it wrong. So it had me chasing finger positions.

Once i made this change i had the f barre down in about 2 weeks.


Not a recommendation, just something I do frequently that helps me with barre chords. Practice repetitions of chord progressions, eg Key of F maj. I may first start with the D min chord, then slide 2nd finger up one fret and finish E maj with 3rd and 4th fingers. Not conventional maybe, but is the same shape for all barre chords on 6th string and it’s easy to do. Next, slide those three fingers all together down one fret each and place 1st finger barring across the first fret. There’s F maj. Keep going - slide everything down two frets lifting 2nd finger only for G min and then two more for A min.

I like this because it’s fun, I can change chords quickly and have increased accuracy. Builds confidence overall for making barre chords, especially when also learning to come from other grip locations. I think it gives me good practice to reinforce the hand position structure.

Thanks for such detailed advice.

One thing that helped me was starting by putting the F shape at a higher fret like maybe the 5th fret. At the higher frets, you’re closer to the middle of the strings so it was a little easier for me to play it. Once I got that down, I then moved it closer towards the first fret until I could do that.

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