How to play

How to play the F#13 chord on guitar

Unlock the jazzy sounds of Steely Dan's "Aja" and more with this essential chord.

The F#13 chord

The F#13 chord, pronounced "F sharp dominant thirteenth," is a sophisticated and jazzy chord that adds depth and complexity to music. Notable for its rich, colorful sound, the F#13 is often used in jazz, funk, and R&B genres to create interesting progressions and melodies. While it may be challenging for beginners, mastering the F#13 can open up new creative possibilities on the guitar.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common F#13 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for F#13 chord

The most popular way to play the F#13 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 2nd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a F#13 chord on your guitar:

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

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to play all six strings together in a downward motion.

How to play an easy F#13 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F#13 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Strum only these two strings together.

This two-note version still captures the essential sound of the F#13 chord.

How to play a F#13 bar chord

A barre chord version of F#13 allows you to easily move the chord shape up and down the fretboard to play the same chord type in different keys.

Here's how to play a F#13 bar chord:

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

Common F#13 chord progressions

The F#13 chord adds a jazzy, sophisticated flavor to progressions, creating a rich and complex emotional atmosphere. Some common chord progressions featuring F#13 include:

  • I - VI - II - V (F#13 - D#m7 - G#m7 - C#7)
  • I - IV - V (F#13 - B13 - C#13) Used in "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Fly Me to the Moon"
  • I - VI - II - V - I (F#13 - D#m7 - G#m7 - C#7 - F#13)
  • I - III - VI - II - V - I (F#13 - A#m7 - D#m7 - G#m7 - C#7 - F#13)
  • I - II - III - IV (F#13 - G#m7 - A#m7 - B13) Used in "Girl from Ipanema"

Drills to master the F#13 chord

Mastering the F#13 chord on guitar can be challenging, but with focused practice, you'll be playing it smoothly in no time. One effective drill is to break the chord into smaller pieces, practicing each part separately before combining them. Start by playing the lowest three strings (F#, A#, and C#), then add the higher three strings (E, G#, and D#) once you're comfortable.

Another helpful drill is to practice transitioning to and from the F#13 chord. Choose a simple chord progression that includes the F#13, and focus on switching between chords smoothly and efficiently.

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Songs that feature the F#13 chord

Here are 4 popular songs you can play with the F#13 chord.

  1. Birdland by Weather Report (F#13, B13, E13, A13, D13, G13, C13)
  2. Satin Doll by Duke Ellington (F#13, B13, E13, A13, D13, G13, C13)
  3. Spain by Chick Corea (F#13, B13, E13, A13, D13, G13, C13)
  4. Stablemates by Benny Golson (F#13, B13, E13, A13, D13, G13, C13)

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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