Shifting The F

I just want to revisit the F chord for a moment and check in with how it’s coming along. At this point, I would hope that you can generally play the full F barre chord pretty well with all of the strings ringing out most of the time. However, if you find you’re still struggling with it… it might not be your fault!

For the F chord, you’ve got your 1st finger barring over the 1st fret. If you’re having trouble getting that barre down properly with your finger pressing down all of the strings, it could actually be that the nut on your guitar is a touch too high. This raises the strings further away from the fretboard, making them harder to press all the way down. The closer to the nut you are, the harder it will be.

To test this, let’s try shifting the F chord up to the 5th fret. Do you find it’s easier for you to get a good, solid sound up there, further away from the nut? You might actually find that it’s a little more difficult for you to play up there initially since you’re engaging different muscles in your hand, but practice it for a few days and see if it doesn’t get easier.

Ultimately, if you’re able to play the chord on the 5th fret but are still struggling on the 1st, there’s a good chance you’ll need to take your guitar in to have the nut sanded down a touch. A good guitar setup can make a world of difference! A cheap guitar with a good setup is often more preferable than an expensive one with a bad setup. It can affect the sound of the instrument, but more importantly, it can affect your playing.

Keep working on these barre chords, though! You’ve simply got to get them down. As you get more advanced, you’ll be using them more and more frequently, and in some cases, you may even prefer them over the open chords.


Lesson 11: Sus Fingerstyle