Is the F chord holding you back from playing some of your favorite songs? The most popular song keys have the F chord, so there’s no way to avoid learning it. But fear not!
I'll show you how to play an easy version of the F chord for guitar. It sounds great and there is no barre required. In fact, if you can play a C Major chord you’re 80% of the way there already. Ready? Let's do this!
First let’s form the easy F chord from the top down. Start with your index finger on the 1st fret 2nd string, 2nd fret of the 3rd string with your middle finger. Then your ring finger and pinky will play the 3rd fret of the 5th and 4th strings respectively.
When you’re playing this easy F chord on your guitar, you won’t play the low or high E strings. They’re not part of the chord.
I like to mute them with my fretting hand. The high e string is muted with my index finger slightly touching it. My ring finger is slightly touching the low E string to mute it.
With the high E string specifically, you can also strum so you don’t hit that string. I actually do both.
Does The Easy F Guitar Chord Sound As Good?
You might be thinking, “Well that’s all fine and good, but is it really gonna cut it? I mean, will it sound anywhere near as good as a full F barre chord?”.
In short, definitely. For proof, check out 2:01 in the video. I don’t hear much of a functional difference between the two. A slight difference, sure. But when you’re strumming through some chords I don’t think you’ll notice much of a difference at all.
(Note: It’s not just the F barre chord that can be made into an ‘easy chord’. Our F chord is easy to play compared to a full barre chord, but it’s also a different voicing of the F chord. A lot of times in music people use different voicings of chords or different variations of the chords on purpose!)
Practicing The Easy F Chord on Guitar
Being able to finger this easy version of the F guitar chord doesn't help unless you can do it smoothly and automatically. I’m going to give you an extremely effective way to practice this. It’s effective for two reasons...
First, it uses two chords that you’ll change between often in songs. You’ll be practicing movements that you’ll use often.
And second, it uses a method that I teach in my Real Guitar Success Academy called Common Chord Fingers.
1. First, make a folk-style C chord. I put a chart of it at the top of this section for reference. This is a standard open C Major chord.
2. Now move your middle finger up one string to the 3rd string (still 2nd fret), and your pinky down on the 3rd fret 4th string. That’s the easy F chord.
3. Don't move your index and middle fingers (the blue markers on the chart). These are what we call Common Chord Fingers. Now let's move back to the C chord.
4. Do this several times without strumming just to get the feel of the movement.
5. To practice, strum the C chord two times, and then change to the F chord while leaving the Common Chord Fingers where they are each time. I recommend doing this with a steady rhythm. Use a metronome at a slow speed. Practice so you can change on time without stopping or slowing down.
7. When you can do this without too much strain change to one beat per chord. Strum each chord one time and then change.
8. Finally, increase the speed of the metronome little by little to improve your chord changing speed.
Do this a little each day and you'll have this easy F guitar chord under your belt.
Final Thoughts About The Easy F Chord On Guitar
There's one more important thing I want to talk about. Even though this easy F chord is very useful and can be used in place of any F barre chord, there’s still great value in learning barre chords. Mostly because you can play them up and down the neck.
The F barre chord is a great stepping stone to learning barre chords. You learn the inner workings of barre chords.
Here’s a quick tip to expanding on the easy F chord and turn it into a partial barre chord. If you fret the easy F chord, just flatten out your index finger to fret the 2nd string and the 1st string at the same time.
Thank you for being here with me. If you haven't already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave me a comment. I really love to hear from you. If you're ready to take your guitar playing a little farther check out my Real Guitar Success Academy. We have an entire course dedicated to barre chords. I'd love to see you there.