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How to play the E major over F chord on guitar

Learn the secret chord behind hits like "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "Hotel California."

The E major over F chord

The E chord, pronounced "E major over F," is a unique guitar voicing that combines the open E major chord with an F note in the bass. This distinctive chord creates a rich, slightly dissonant sound, adding depth and tension to progressions. The E/F chord is particularly popular in folk, country, and rock music, featured in songs like "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common E major over F chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for E major over F chord

The E major over F chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 1st fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a E major over F chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 1st fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, place your fingers in the correct positions and strum all six strings together in a downward motion.

How to play an easy E major over F chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E major over F chord, try playing an F major chord and adding your pinky on the 3rd fret of the 1st (high E) string. This creates an Fmaj7 chord, which has a similar sound to the E/F chord but is easier to play.

How to play a E major over F bar chord

Playing the E major over F chord as a barre chord can make it easier to transition to and from other chords in a progression. It also allows you to play the chord in different positions on the neck.

Here's how to play an E major over F barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 1st fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from low to high.

Common E major over F chord progressions

The E major chord played over an F bass note (E/F) is often used in chord progressions to create a sense of tension, longing, or emotional lift. This chord can add a unique flavor to a progression and is commonly found in popular music. Here are some chord progressions featuring the E/F chord:

  • I - III - IV - V (C - E/F - F - G) Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "Hey Jude" by The Beatles
  • vi - III - IV - V (Am - E/F - F - G) Used in "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA
  • I - III - vi - IV (C - E/F - Am - F) Used in "Clocks" by Coldplay
  • ii - III - IV - V (Dm - E/F - F - G)
  • vi - III - I - V (Am - E/F - C - G)

Drills to master the E major over F chord

To master the E major over F guitar chord, try this simple drill: play the chord for four beats, then pluck each note individually in ascending order (F, G#, B, E) for one beat each. Repeat this pattern, gradually increasing your tempo as you become more comfortable with the chord.

Another effective drill is to practice transitioning smoothly between the E major over F chord and other chords commonly used in the same key, such as A and B7. Focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm while switching chords, ensuring that each note rings out clearly.

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Songs that feature the E major over F chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the E major over F chord:

  1. All of Me by John Legend (F, E/F#, Gm, E/F#, F)
  2. Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  3. Let It Be by The Beatles (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  4. Shallow by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper (Em/F, D/F#, G, C, G/B, Am)
  5. Say You Won't Let Go by James Arthur (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  6. Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  7. The Scientist by Coldplay (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  8. Love On The Brain by Rihanna (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  9. Hello by Adele (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)
  10. Perfect by Ed Sheeran (F, E/F#, Dm, Bb)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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