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How to Play the F Chord On The Guitar

The F Chord appears often in flamenco music – Rafael shows you different ways of playing it

by Michael & Rafael

Rafael has taught and performed flamenco guitar for over 40 years, including many famous stars – from EOB (Radiohead) to Jack Peñate (recorded with Adele).

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Guitar chords can open up a vast range of musical possibilities. F is a slightly more challenging one for beginners, but with a lovely sound (especially in flamenco guitar).

One of the essential chords any guitarist should learn is the F chord. It's a staple in many songs across various genres, but it can be challenging for beginners due to its need for finger strength and placement precision. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you master the F chord on the guitar.

The F chord is a major chord, which means it has a happy, bright sound. It’s commonly played in one of two ways on the guitar: as a barre chord or as an open chord. The barre chord version is more versatile but also more difficult for beginners.

Playing the F Major Barre Chord

Positioning Your Fingers:

  • Index Finger: Place your index finger across all six strings at the first fret. This is known as a "barre."
  • Middle Finger: Position your middle finger on the second fret of the third string (G string).
  • Ring Finger: Place your ring finger on the third fret of the fifth string (A string).
  • Pinky Finger: Position your pinky on the third fret of the fourth string (D string).

Make sure your thumb is at the middle of the neck on the backside, providing support for the barre.

Strumming: Strum all six strings, making sure each string rings out clearly. If any strings buzz or don’t produce a clear sound, check your finger positioning and pressure.

Playing the F Major Open Chord (Easier Alternative)

If you find the barre chord too challenging, you can start with an easier version of the F chord that doesn’t require barring all the strings. Rafael shows how to do it in the video above, as it is more common in flamenco guitar.

Positioning Your Fingers:

  • Index Finger: Place your index finger on the first fret of the second string (B string).
  • Middle Finger: Position your middle finger on the second fret of the third string (G string).
  • Ring Finger: Place your ring finger on the third fret of the fourth string (D string).

Once you've worked out how to position your left hand, take a look at our article on flamenco right hand techniques (rasgueos).

Tired of playing the same chords over and over?

A new course for flamenco guitar beginners. Join thousands of other students taught by Rafael Lloyd Iglesias.