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How to play the F13 chord on guitar

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The F13 chord

The F13 chord, pronounced "F dominant thirteenth," is a rich and complex guitar chord. It's built on the foundation of an F dominant 7th chord with an added 13th note, creating a jazzy, sophisticated sound. The F13 is commonly used in jazz, funk, and blues music to add harmonic flavor. Notably, it can be heard in songs like "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common F13 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for F13 chord

The F13 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 1st fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a F13 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, play all six strings simultaneously, making sure each note rings out clearly.

How to play an easy F13 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F13 chord, try playing an F major chord (133211) and adding your pinky on the 3rd fret of the B string. This gives you a basic F dominant 7th chord, which captures the essential sound of the F13 without the complexity.

How to play a F13 bar chord

The F13 chord is typically played as individual notes rather than a barre chord shape. While it's possible to construct a barre chord version, it would be quite difficult to play and is not a standard shape for this advanced jazz chord. I'd recommend sticking with the standard F13 voicing for now.

Common F13 chord progressions

The F13 chord adds a bluesy, jazzy flavor to progressions, creating a sophisticated and slightly haunting atmosphere. Common chord progressions featuring F13 include:

  • I - IV - V - IV (F13 - B♭13 - C13 - B♭13) Used in "Fly Me to the Moon"
  • ii - V - I (Gm7 - C13 - F13) Used in "Stolen Moments" and "Maiden Voyage"
  • I - vi - ii - V (F13 - Dm7 - Gm7 - C13)
  • iii - VI - ii - V (Am7 - D13 - Gm7 - C13)
  • I - ♭VII - ♭VI - V (F13 - E♭13 - D♭13 - C13)

Drills to master the F13 chord

To master the F13 chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution and consistent tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in various patterns, such as ascending or descending order, or alternating between strings.

Another effective drill is to play the chord as an arpeggio, plucking each note one at a time. This helps develop finger independence and accuracy. Gradually increase your speed while maintaining precision. Incorporate the F13 chord into progressions you already know to build familiarity and muscle memory in a musical context.

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Songs that feature the F13 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the F13 chord:

  1. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  2. I Wish by Stevie Wonder (F13, E13, Eb13, D13, Db13, C13, B13, Bb13, A13, Ab13, G13, Gb13)
  3. Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  4. Superstition by Stevie Wonder (F13, Eb13, D13, C#13, C13, B13, Bb13, A13)
  5. Living for the City by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  6. You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  8. I Was Made to Love Her by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  9. My Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  10. Boogie On Reggae Woman by Stevie Wonder (F13, D7, G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)

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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