F Chord on Guitar

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So you want to be a rock star – but it turns out there’s something called F chord on guitar. There are plenty of basic guitar chords we can use to get by, but the F major chord has plagued guitarists for countless years. The main reason for this is that F major, being a non-accidental note (as opposed to F#), cannot be played in open positioning like many other chords a student learns when they just start out. Now, when I say “open” or “open position”, this simply means that typically, the F major chord needs to be played as a barre chord. But alas, we as guitarists have plenty of options at our disposal!F Chord On Guitar

How to play F Guitar Chord

First things first, we will need to understand a bit of notation. Since I cannot simply walk out of your computer screen and show you how to play this chord (thankfully), we use this simple notation:

022100 – These are six numbers that refer to frets that we will want our fingers to occupy. As we read this left to right, it will translate to our lowest string (in pitch) to our highest string. When you encounter a “0”, this will mean that the specified string should be played open. Lastly, when you encounter a “X”, that will mean to omit that string. So let’s begin! Here are a number of different options to play our F major chord ranging from basic to more advanced.

How to play F Chord Guitar – Barre

f chord, life hacks

F Major Barre Chord

133211 or X8(10)(10)(10)8 – F Major, barre chord beginning on the first fret and using the “E major” barre shape to create the F major chord. This is our typical starting point with the F major chord. The barre chord seems to be at the heart of our issue with this chord. Now often, when we are starting to learn chords and extend into learning barre chords, they tend to be quite difficult and make life a bit more unpleasant (temporarily of course). Now if the full barre (where your first finger extends over all of the first fret) is a bit too uncomfortable, start with this partial barre shape:

How to pick F Major Chord

f chord on guitar, life hacks

F Chord

XX3211 or X33211 – This F major chord is absolutely acceptable and will sound quite similar to the full barre version. In this arrangement, our first finger only barres over 2 strings (our 2 highest). A barre over two strings sure beats the heck out of trying to control all six strings! Let’s look at a few other options that don’t require a barre.

How to strum Fmaj7 Chord

f chord on guitar, life hacks


f chord on guitar, life hacks


X03210 or X33210 – Fmaj7/A and Fmaj7/C, respectively. Now I know what you are thinking, those chord symbols look an awful lot like they could be part of some witch’s spell or reminiscent of high school math. Although those are valid thoughts, these happen to be just another variety of “F major”. The “maj7” implies that the note E is also included (spelled F A C E). The “/A” and “/C” refer to a change in the foundation in the chord, meaning that instead of the lowest sounding note being F, it is A or C (both part of our original F major chord, so don’t lose sleep over it). Let’s check out one more open voicing of the F major chord.

Advanced Moves -Fmaj9/A Chord

f chord on guitar, life hacks


X03010 – Fmaj9/A. Another “f”ishy looking chord, I know. Much like we had with the Fmaj7 above, the notation means something specific here as well. Fmaj9 would be spelled F A C E G (numbers in chord symbols above 7 imply all the notes below them as well. For example, Fmaj13 would be F A C E G B D). This flavor of F major is yet again different than all the ones we have mentioned previously.

These F major chords are all played in 1st/open position, meaning our hand is occupying the first 3-4 frets. Just in the same way that you would not want to mix flavors in cooking randomly just because they taste great alone, you also do not want to randomly mix too many different variations of the same chord. This is not to suggest that your creativity should feel restricted, only to convey that certain types of chords are more appropriate for certain types of songs. When starting out, do try many different options and learn how each sound in comparison to the song you are playing. Let’s take a look at some more advanced versions of our F major chord that pair particularly well with certain genres.

F9 Chord

f chord on guitar, life hacks


X87888 – F9. This chord is great for the more funky or bluesy tunes. This chord is spelled F A C Eb G (the Eb comes from the absence of “maj” in the chord symbol. Without it, the chord is said to be “dominant” in quality, thus having a flatted 7th note, Eb).

F7 Chord

f chord on guitar, life hacks

F7 barre

X8(10)8(10)8 or XX3545 – F7. This chord would work great for a more jazz oriented situation. Again, the absence of the “maj” in the chord symbol leads us to know that this chord is spelled F A C Eb.

F Power Chord!

f chord on guitar, life hacks

F power chord

133XXX or X8(10)(10)XX or XX356X – F5. Last but certainly not least, the power chord. Power chords work great for rock, country or heavier music. Here is the catch with this guy, “F5” means that the chord is spelled with just F and C. We have no type of A note, which is what tells us if the chord is minor or major (major being A and minor being Ab). So it can be used in both situations, woo!

How to Play F Chord on Guitar

There you have it, a number of different ways to play the F major guitar chord. Don’t find yourself searching “F guitar chord” or “f major guitar chord” one more time. These options I have laid out above will do you wonders. So please, explore, create and make the F chord on guitar your new pal!

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