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Jumping The First Chord Hurdle

Ted O'Farrell (114) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1

Many beginning guitarists have given up playing the guitar when it comes to playing the F Chord in the first position... no doubt it is hard to play, the first hurdle to jump. If you have screamed, pulled your hair out, felt the pain in your fingers, you are not alone. Here are some ideas that I have used in teaching many students to overcome this obstacle and play the chord successfully.

F Chord


Here it is, usually it is played with fingers 1 holding down the first and second string on the first fret(notes F, C), then second finger on third string, second fret (note A) and finally finger 3 on 4th string, 3rd fret (note F). When learning this chord, many times the first 4 strings are not cleanly played - this is caused by your fingers not pressing the string, or another finger blocking an adjacent string from sounding, or your fingernails are too long and can't press the string because your nail is hitting the fretboard, or your fingers are not strong enough yet... or... (you get the idea)

Try to break up the chord in managable chunks... First, (Example 1)play with your first finger on the first two strings. Practice this until your hand can play clear and effortlessly
example 1


Second, (Example 2)play the chord by adding your second finger on string three
example 2
play clear and effortlessly

Third,(Ex. 3) play the chord by adding your third finger on string four and leave first string open
example 3
play clear and effortlessly.

Fourth,(Ex.4) now lay down first finger on the first two strings while fingers 2 and 3 are holding their notes down
example 4
play clear and effortlessly.

The key to conquering is to play consistently every day until mastered and slowly, gradually building up strength. Also look at where your thumb is supporting - Is it matched up with your first or second finger behind the neck? Usually if your thumb is off to one side or hanging over the top of the neck - lack of proper finger support can cause chords not to sound correctly.

Two more ideas... Play the chord with 4 fingers. Place 2 finger on 1st fret, string 1, Place 1 finger on 1st fret, string 2. Place 3rd finger on 2nd fret, string 3. Place 4 finger on 3rd fret, string 4.

Use 3 fingers but block out first string. It only takes 3 notes to play a chord. The R,3,5. F then is spelled F, A, C. Place 1st finger on string 2, 1st fret (C); 2nd finger on string 3, 2nd fret (A); and 3rd finger on string 4, 3rd fret (F); Don't play the first string.
3 finger F Chord


Remember, practice every day slowly and consistently - and the F Chord will start to sound beautiful in a few weeks.