F Chord: How To Play

Posted by Mike Schuck

The chord that is often forgotten when practicing guitar is the F major chord. This article will go into detail about the chords of the G-chord, A-major chord, C-major chord, D-major chord, and then the F-major chord!

The first thing you should know about this chord is it’s name. It is called the F-Major chord because it contains an F note (the root) along with a B flat (or sometimes referred to as a #4), E natural (or sometimes referred to as a #5), and a G note (the third).

This article will also take some time to talk about how to play the notes in this chord by using their names instead of numbers. This way you can more easily refer back to them later! Also, there are two different ways to play the second degree (or lower part) of this chord: index or middle finger. You may have already seen this done before, but here we will discuss it more in depth.

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Once again, stay tuned for more information! Read on to see what other chords include the underused letter “F.

Write down the chord on your fingers

f chord how to play

The first thing you need to know is that most songs are made of one or more chords. A chord is simply three or more notes, all played at the same time.

The chord structure in a song can make it easy for you to pick up the instrument and play along. For example, look at the following lyrics and chord progression:

Music: Hey baby, what's my name?

Verse 1: I wanna touch ya, put me through some tests

Chorus: What is this feeling I have?

Intermediate: This chord is called an F major. It is composed of the roots (the smallest note), the third (after the root, then the next larger size note) and the fifth (largest). The bass line does not include a tonal base, so we do not use the second degree of the scale (no fourth).

This means that instead of using the D natural minor seventh chord, which would be written as DCm7, here it becomes FDmaj7.

Connect the F chord to your mouth

f chord how to play

The first thing you will need to do is connect the F chord to your mouth! This is typically done by either biting down or pressing your top lip up.
You can also stick your tongue out, but make sure your lips are closed at this stage!

Your hand may want to fall away, that’s okay! Keep holding it there for now until you get the hang of playing the chords. Once you feel comfortable letting go, drop your hands and see what happens.

Now try making the chord sound! Repeat after me: “F, re, mi, so-and-so, fa, sol, la, ti.

Practice playing the F chord

f chord how to play

The second major scale degree is the F-sus2 (sometimes called the flat suspended bass). It is one key higher than G, the first major scale degree.

Just like with the A natural minor scale, you can use the white keys or black keys for the F-sus2. This means that the song could start either in the open position or in any of the other five possible positions.

Practice singing the note name and then play it using your third finger as shown below.

Practice using the different keys that contain the F chord

f chord how to play

The first key you will learn to play with the flamenco guitar is the one that contains an open string (usually A) and a major third (often G). This key is called the natural minor, or sometimes referred to as the Neopolitan Key!

To play in this key, your index finger needs to be placed on the A string and your middle finger on the G string. Then, press the white button at the top of the guitar down slightly so that it sticks and release the strings simultaneously to produce a sound of B-flat. This note is known as the bianchetto, or little half note.

After repeating this two times, add some tremolo by shaking the lower part of the guitar up and down slowly. After doing this three times, add vibrato by moving your hand around quickly. When performing vibrato, do not use too much momentum; rather, shake the notes very lightly and smoothly.

This whole process should take about a minute to perform. Once done, repeat for the second time until you are able to play the second tone of the chord effectively.

Use the F chord in different songs

f chord how to play

Many musicians use the F chord frequently in music, for several reasons. First, it is very common to start every song with the F major chord, or what some call the “home base” of the chord. This makes sense because the home base is usually where you begin your musical journey as a guitarist!

The second reason is that many songs contain an extended period of time spent in the F major chord, which gives us the term “F-minor ballad”. A ballad is typically short and slow, so this give us another way to learn how to play this chord!

Thirdly, the natural progression from the F major chord is the next most popular chord tone, the third (think: tripping down the stairs after coming up the steps). By playing the G minor chord right after the F major, we go one step further and create an easy transition into the next chord.

So now that you have learned three chords using the root, fifth, and octave form, let’s apply all of these concepts to our learning process by practicing them separately but also together.

Identify the F chord in music

f chord how to play

The first step towards playing your bass guitar chords is to be familiar with the A, B, C, and D major scale notes. By now, you probably already are! If not, go back and review those before moving onto the next level.

Once you have that down, it’s time to move onto the second chord style we will cover: finger-chords. These require you to use at least one of your fingers to play an additional note beyond what our major scale would normally contain.

The extra note you add into the chord equals the fret number of the chord. For example, if the chord has a third (or b3) as its highest tone, then you need to place your index or middle finger above this third for the chord to be fully recognized.

This adds another layer to how many possibilities exist with bass guitar chords. You can choose to stick with only natural harmonic rhythm patterns, but by adding these new chords into the mix, you open up opportunities for more creative styles.

What I mean by that is, instead of sticking to using only the diatonic modes found in the A, B, C, and D major scales, you can combine all three together to make unique melodies and riffs.

Mix and match with other chords

f chord how to play

Changing the chord you are using as a root can completely change the feel of a song! This is called mixing chords. Using a different root means that your music will look new and interesting.

Using an open position or close position mix up makes it more interesting. An example of this would be if the song already has an A tonal center then move away from A by switching out the root for the G major chord.

This creates a less steady feeling than having a strong base, like in A. You may also want to add trills (short repeated notes) or mutes (no strings being hit). These could bring depth to the music and create harmonic movement.

Create your own chord progressions

f chord how to play

In music, chords are something that all songs contain in some form or another. A chord is three or more notes played at one time. Some examples of common beginner chords are G, Dm, Am, Em, C, and so on.

The trick about chords is how to play them! Most people learn difficult chords like these where you have to figure out which notes go together to make the chord. This is called finding the root note of the chord.

But there’s another way to look at it. The third tip here is to create your own chord progressions. You can pick any two adjacent notes and add those onto a existing chord to get a new chord. For example, if you take the first half of this article and put an extra bar over it and then underline the word “chords,” you will get the following diagram:

We made our own chord by adding the b note (second line) onto the old chord (the first line). This creates a B tri-tone (three-note) chord we call a Dominant VII.

That’s why they refer to the second tip as creating your own chord progressions. Because you choose what chord you want to use and move away from it, thus creating your own progression!

This applies not only to guitar but other instruments as well. There are many ways to approach learning chords for different instruments and genres.

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