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LIChick
10-07-2003, 05:53 PM
Is there any trick to getting the F chord to sound good? If I get the barre part to sound OK, the other strings buzz and vice versa.
Can I "cheat" and play another chord altogether?

Cuno
10-07-2003, 07:31 PM
There a many ways to play a chord. One easy thing to do is to omit the notes on the lower 2 strings, making the chord a half-barre. From there you could --if you miss the bassier notes-- play the note on the low E-string (i.e. F) with your thumb, and gently touch the A string to mute it.

vetas
10-07-2003, 07:58 PM
LIChick,

Greetings from Upstate!

The F barre chord ("E-type" at the first fret) is the hardest barre chord to master because your hand is really stretched out. I know that it took me a long time to get it down. Keep practicing - not just the chord alone, but simple progressions using it. To get the stretch down, start by practicing the chord shape further up on the neck and moving it down one fret at a time.

In the mean time, there are many ways to "cheat". For example, you could play just the F, A, and C on strings 3, 4, and 5 (if you want to stay in this area of the neck) or play an F power chord (F-C-F on the 6, 5, and 4 strings or just F-C on 6 and 5).

Hope this all makes sense.

Vetas

DDTonFire
10-12-2003, 02:02 AM
I did the same thing Cuno mentioned, took out the 5th and 6th strings. Eventually, after playing it enough, I could make the stretch. Thats what I did when I first started. Hopefully it might work if you try it. It takes time, but I got it down no prob now!

Koala
10-12-2003, 01:03 PM
Hey LIChick, as the guys have mentioned there are many ways for you to play any chord on the guitar. (For better understanding and a fantastic explanation of this, read gunis article on triads, if you dont know intervals read the intervals article first)
DOnt you worry about a thing the Fbarre is tough at first because the action is high and strong in the first few frets, but intead of finding a way around it keep practising it.
A simple exercise to help you out:

Strum F for four bars, then change to another chord for 1 bar, then back to F for 1 bar then chord change for 1 bar. ALl the changing will warm you up well, and will help you change from F and to F.

Try

F/Am/F/Dm/F/E/ F and so on...

Hope this helps,

potshot
10-12-2003, 01:07 PM
I would take the advice of playing the same shape of chord further up the neck where the frets are closer together and the stretch will be easier. This way you're still getting practice on the full chord shape.

You may need to strengthen your left hand strength to allow you more pressure with the barre. You can get exerciser things which you just squeeze repeatedly.

My guitar teacher showed me an exercise where you use all four fingers of your left hand fretted on adjacent strings and adjacent frets. So maybe you play index at fret 1 on the top e, then middle on fret 2 on the b, ring on fret 3 on the g and pinky on fret 4 on the D. Play the chord, and make sure you're playing it cleanly, no buzzing. Then you repeatedly play the chord, then release the pressure from your left hand fingers, so the chord will be muted. So it's like on off on off on off, or squeeze release squeeze release with the left hand.

It seems (at least to me) that with such a fretting pattern, putting the pressure on and taking it off in quick repeats really works out the thumb and index finger strength, which is what you need for barring chords like the F chord. You'll find after not too long doing that exercise (like a minute, maybe less), you will start to feel the strain in your thumb. When that happens, take a rest, maybe switch position of your fingers and try again. Don't work it too hard or make it painful, just do little bits of it here and there while you're practising. I hope this is clear to you.

The other thing you can try is the way you position your index finger when you're barring. You can try moving it up or down a bit, see if that helps you get a cleaner hold. Also, most people seem to barre at least partially with the side of the index finger closest to the thumb, rather than just using the bottom side of the finger. I guess this is more boney and might fret things more cleanly.

One last thing. As someone else already said, try moving in and out of the F chord from other chords, as you're playing a song. It's tricky at first, but as you get used to it, your fingers get a better memory of what position is best and how hard to press. After a while, you'll probably find you're using a fair bit less pressure than before (or maybe you're just stronger so it doesn't feel so hard).

Hope some of this helps, the F chord used to drive me nuts. The B shaped barre chord used to send me to the brink :D

potshot
10-12-2003, 01:11 PM
Oh, also, this may be obvious to you, but just in case: try to keep your fretting fingers and the index finger barre as close to the fret as possible.

If you fret a string far from the fret, you need more pressure to play it without buzzing than if you're close to the fret. So playing closer to the fret makes it easier.

Once again, sorry if you know this already, if not, maybe it might help.