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Old 07-22-2017, 08:29 PM
Troyboi Troyboi is offline
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Default Do you need long fingers for an F bar chord?

Im trying to learn to do an F bar chord and think its impossible with my fingers. When I watch videos of people playing this chord they always seem to have long slender fingers. Is this chord only possible with long fingers? Im following a tutorial where he first says to try barring the 1st and second string with the first finger, which I can do.
Then he says add the 2nd finger to the 2nd fret, 3rd string, which I can only sometimes do.
Next step is to try adding the 3rd finger but I find then my 2nd and 3rd fingers mute the strings below therm because they are not long enough to curve over the top and have to sit like on a 45 degree angle so mute the strings below them.

Is this chord really a long fingered person thing? Because at the moment Im about to give up Im so frustrated.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:35 PM
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Nope. I have relatively short fingers, and the F barre chord is no problem.

However, it wasn't always that way. That F chord is pretty difficult for most beginners, regardless of finger size. It just takes lots of practice, patience, and perseverance... but if you stick with it, it'll eventually be easy to play without even thinking about it.

I'm sure everyone on this forum remembers how it felt when they were in your position. Don't give up... you'll get it!
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:10 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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You need strong fingers. Barre chords are difficult, but IMHO not really necessary for acoustic playing. You don't have to play all 6 strings to play the chord. I can get the point across by playing an E shape slid up one fret by playing only the A, D and G strings. When I quit playing electric guitar I pretty much saw barre chords as unnecessary and focused learning alternate chord inversions instead. I don't want to categorically say "never play barre chords on an acoustic guitar"; I think learning to play them clean is an important tool we all should have. I just never play the F barre as I think the standard first position F sounds better. I also add a C by playing the 3rd fret A string with my ring finger and 3rd fret D string (the F root) with my pinky. You get all the notes of the barre F except for the low F on the E string 1st fret.

Is your guitar set up for you? High action makes barre chords harder than they need to be. It just occured to me that you're not describing the F barre but the standard first position F where you cover just the first fret of the high E and B strings with your index finger, not barring all the way across on the first fret.

Try the real F barre by playing an E chord with your 2nd finger on the G string 1st fret, your 3rd finger on the A string 2nd fret and your pinky on the D string 2nd fret. Now move the works one fret higher. Now make the barre with your index on the 1st fret across the strings.

I keep thinking of just one more thing. How is your left hand position? Your wrist should be straight. If you pull your left elbow up against your body it makes your fingers angle down toward the fretboard - this effectively shortens them. Keep your elbow out away from your side so your fingers are perpendicular to the fretboard. I hold my left hand like a violin - my hand only contacts the neck in two places. The first knuckle of the index finger touches the side of the neck on the high E side. The pad of my thumb contacts the neck on the low E side. No part of the palm should touch the neck. Palming the neck or wrapping the thumb around limits your finger's range of motion.

Last edited by Mandobart; 07-22-2017 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:03 PM
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Nope, you need lots of hours forming that chord. What helped me with barre chords is finding songs that were filled with them. Playing those songs for years and getting comfortable with the shapes. In my experience it takes a lot of time and patience. Enjoy the journey!
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troyboi View Post
Next step is to try adding the 3rd finger but I find then my 2nd and 3rd fingers mute the strings below therm because they are not long enough to curve over the top and have to sit like on a 45 degree angle so mute the strings below them.
In a barre the thumb is normally anterior to the index finger and for many chords the thumb is near centered behind the neck.





It is also ok to double finger barre when it fits into the demands of the music:

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Old 07-23-2017, 03:32 AM
Troyboi Troyboi is offline
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Thanks for the advice and tips guys. My guitar is setup correctly with the action lowered. In fact I often think it's to low as I get fret buzzing.
The reason I was only barring 2 strings is because I was following a lesson plan video which said to start off on just 2 strings first.

I'll give some of your ideas a try, especially those that you mention Mandobart, and keep persevering. It's just good to know I don't need long fingers to master them. I do have the other F chord down pat but I still want to learn to do bar chords properly.

I'm actually getting a lot better at a Bmin bar chord and am now practicing switching to and from a Bmin to other chords.
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:39 AM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Default Do you need long fingers for an F bar chord?

F barre is just a hard chord to master. I recommend to learn the 4 string F instead for now xx3211 or instead of practicing the F barre, try higher up the neck instead like G# (barre on the fourth fret) because barre chords get easier as you move the barre away from the nut.

But really it takes tons of practice, it took me many months to get that chord right.

Bm was a very hard chord for me to get too so keep at it! Bm is used in a lot of songs in A or Fm. Very popular chord progression with Bm is Bm, D, A, E.

Last edited by 1neeto; 07-23-2017 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:10 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Threads on the dreaded "F chord" are pretty regular...

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=406854

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=247653

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=106907

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=107634

- should be plenty of tips there.
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Last edited by Kerbie; 08-29-2017 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Removed language
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:14 AM
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Long fingers are not necessary, but a good set-up is! The nut slots on a vast majority of acoustic guitars are terribly cut, and are way too high. This makes barring at the first fret nightmarish.
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Old 07-23-2017, 05:17 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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You've had all the info already so, now you know that it isn't abut your fingers and that you WILL master the F shape chord, but don't forget the thumb over option (where the thumb frets the 6th string).
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:29 AM
piper_L piper_L is offline
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I'm a big believer in trying to break difficult techniques down to simpler parts, and trying to practice those separately, then putting things back together slowly. I found the first exercise on this page

http://www.guitarhabits.com/effectiv...s-sound-clean/

to be helpful in isolating just the index finger - letting you experiment with where it needs to be placed, what angle, what overlap. etc.

And it's a strength-training exercise too, building up the index finger by practicing with it in increasing difficulty, then decreasing. It's always good, when learning something, to have something you can succeed at, rather than fail, so you get a sense of progress and achievement. Barre chord practice can take that away, if you're not careful! -)

Good luck/hang in there/when you're ready, find a tune with just one bar chord in it and work on that. -)
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:53 AM
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You're fighting against the nut. The strings at the nut are higher off the fretboard than strings stopped by a fret. For the purposes of developing muscle memory, capo the first fret and practice the F chord as though the capoed fret were the nut.
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:37 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Default Do you need long fingers for an F bar chord?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Mac View Post
You're fighting against the nut. The strings at the nut are higher off the fretboard than strings stopped by a fret. For the purposes of developing muscle memory, capo the first fret and practice the F chord as though the capoed fret were the nut.


You don't need a capo since a barre chord is a movable chord. That's why I recommended to start at G# barre as a starting point.i guess a capo helps to release nut tension, but I think after the second-third fret, it doesn't really matter.
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:39 PM
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A long time time ago, long, long, long...

Someone pointed out to me that when I barred a chord, my elbow was away from my body and that I ought to consider bringing it in closer to my body. I did and my index finger lined up with the frets. Bar chords became immensely easier for me after that. YMMV
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:50 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1neeto View Post
You don't need a capo since a barre chord is a movable chord.
Using a capo eliminates the possibility of an over high nut making the bar F chord more difficult than it should be. It certainly is a movable chord and can get easier higher up the neck, but the original post was about the F chord.
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