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How to play the F major chord on guitar

Learn the essential F chord, used in hits like "Hey Jude" and "Wonderwall."

The F major chord

The F chord, pronounced "eff major," is a fundamental guitar chord that adds a rich, full sound to many popular songs across various genres. Notable for its challenging fingering, the F major chord requires a barre technique, making it a milestone for beginner guitarists to master. Once learned, this versatile chord opens up a wide range of musical possibilities in rock, folk, country, and beyond.

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

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Finger placement for F major chord

The standard way to play the F major chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 1st fret.

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

  1. Use your index finger to barre all six strings at 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.

Strum all six strings together to play the F major chord. Make sure to apply firm pressure with your index finger across all the strings for a clear, well-defined sound.

How to play an easy F major chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F major chord, try playing an F major seven chord instead. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 1st (high E) string, your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string, and strum only the top four strings.

How to play a F major bar chord

The F major barre chord is a great alternative to the standard F chord, as it allows for easier transitions and a fuller sound.

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

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings on the 1st fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum from the 6th (low E) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common F major chord progressions

The F major chord is a versatile chord that can be used in various progressions to create different emotional atmospheres, from uplifting and joyful to melancholic and introspective. Here are some common F major chord progressions:

  • I-IV-V (F-B♭-C): Used in "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles and "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens
  • I-vi-IV-V (F-Dm-B♭-C): Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King
  • I-V-vi-IV (F-C-Dm-B♭): Used in "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey and "With or Without You" by U2
  • I-iii-vi-IV (F-Am-Dm-B♭): Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's
  • I-IV-vi-V (F-B♭-Dm-C): Used in "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic and "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers

Drills to master the F major chord

To master the F major guitar chord, try practicing the chord transition drill. Start by playing a chord you're comfortable with, like C major, then smoothly transition to the F major chord. Repeat this process, gradually increasing your speed until you can switch between the chords effortlessly.

Another effective drill is the chord progression exercise. Create a simple progression using the F major chord, such as F - C - G - F. Play through the progression slowly at first, ensuring each chord rings out clearly. As you become more comfortable, increase your tempo and experiment with different strumming patterns.

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Songs that feature the F major chord

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

  1. Hey Jude by The Beatles (F, C, G, D)
  2. Let It Be by The Beatles (C, G, Am, F)
  3. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz (C, G, Am, F)
  4. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd (D, C, G)
  5. Stand By Me by Ben E. King (A, F#m, D, E)
  6. Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan (G, D, Am)
  7. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison (G, C, D, Em)
  8. Peaceful Easy Feeling by Eagles (E, A, B7)
  9. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival (D, A, G)
  10. Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett (D, G, A)

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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