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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: That "darned" F chord on the guitar


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/53700

TuneWeaver - Posted - 06/28/2020:  14:08:22


I'm not a guitar player..at all.. Finally, I thought I'd found a good guitar player who could accompany me on C tunes.. after about 4 tunes the guitar player said that there was thumb pain in the left hand.....bummer.........Once again..foiled!!!! The comment was also made that basically, playing in C required pretty much all of the fingers most of the time.. Again, I'm not a guitar player so I really can't relate..However, I DO know that many of the Hangout fiddlers also play guitars. What do THEY say about this?

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 06/28/2020:  14:50:19


I would feign injury from boredom also after playing backup guitar for OT for a song in the same key four times in a rowwink

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 06/28/2020:  15:14:00


The only chord in that would use a thumb in the key of C is the F played thusly


TuneWeaver - Posted - 06/28/2020:  15:16:16


Arthritis may have been a contributing factor.

carlb - Posted - 06/28/2020:  15:37:50


With all the runs in backup, I love playing guitar in C, or any other key. Try to keep the runs complimentary to the melody and the rhythm of the tune. Of course, I would rather play fiddle or banjo.

BanjoBrad - Posted - 06/28/2020:  15:42:13


I've never used the thumb (chording hand) for guitar, but that's probably because I have short fingers and play a classical guitar.

But, I have seen the thumb used in a G chord before. I've always preferred to use a barre for a full 6-note F chord, myself, because - see above.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/28/2020:  15:53:30


 Could you post a picture?


quote:

Originally posted by BanjoBrad

 I've always preferred to use a barre for a full 6-note F chord, myself, because - see above.






 

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/28/2020:  15:59:20


If y'all think playing an F chord shape in standard tuning in first position is hard on a guitar, try doing it on a banjo in standard tuning in first position.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 06/28/2020:  17:03:45


Rock guitar players habitually use the thumbed F chord mmussiiccaallii shows in his post. Who knows who first did it that way or why, but it is totally easy to do on a solid body electric because the neck is so skinny and the strings are so thin. It doesn't hurt that the thumbed F chord is one more opportunity for an electric player to show how rebellious he/she is.

buckhenry - Posted - 06/28/2020:  17:28:42


I thought it was the barre chord also, because if played by thumbing the low F, that note doesn't even need to be strummed, so the thumb could relax the pressure.

Anyway, all fiddlers should carry a capo for their forgetful accompanist.

DougD - Posted - 06/28/2020:  19:17:47


I used to play guitar, and sometimes still do. C is one of the best keys on the guitar, maybe second only to E. You might fatigue your thumb not just playing an F, but also the C, depending on your technique and the instrument. As for using all your fingers, what does he think they're there for? What a crybaby. Bwaa, waa, bwaa!
Maybe he was just playing with you to meet Harry?
Hey, here's a little tune in C as an example of "fingering with your fingers," as the saying goes: youtu.be/2koAEUFxrYo


Edited by - DougD on 06/28/2020 19:27:01

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 06/28/2020:  19:27:22


Huh?

Key of C is the best key for picking the melody out of just the cowboy chord shapes. C to F shape is just a matter of moving a string down. Look at the guitars when you call key of D--they are all capo-ing up 2 frets to play in C shapes. Hardly anybody stays 'nekkid' and plays D shapes in that case.

But, if they don't have a capo, and can't play in key of D 'nekkid', I'd just shake my head.

DougD - Posted - 06/28/2020:  19:50:56


Here's another case of "Fingering with your Fingers," featuring the incomparable Shaye Cohn: youtu.be/B1ysC5kn08I
I know it has nothing to do with this thread, but it won't kill you to watch ig. You might learn something, and besides it was originally a string band tune from the Mississippi Sheiks.

DougD - Posted - 06/28/2020:  19:55:53


I don't see their guitar players complaining.

ChickenMan - Posted - 06/29/2020:  04:28:05


quote:

Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

The only chord in that would use a thumb in the key of C is the F played thusly






Actual most chords use the thumb - on thy back of the guitar neck.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 06/29/2020:  05:33:42


Well I've heard a lot of guitar players who can't play much because of arthritis, and apparently it affects guitar players moreso than other instrumental players. Fortunately, I don't know this personally because I haven't been visited by "Arthur," myself, and feel for anyone who plays who deals with that critter.

But for me, a lifetime amateur on guitar, C is really the easiest key to manage. As some have said above, you don't really need the top strings on F if you can't get to them that good...just the bottom four will do. Although F in played in any way might be a little awkward for beginners or for anyone with hand problems, still...C is just easy overall, and especially for fingerpicking...it's all just laying right there inside the chords to be easily gotten.

But besides capoing up to other keys, which sometimes has other issues to deal with, anybody who had difficulty playing guitar at all might benefit from finding open tunings for the keys they like to play in. Sorta like how they do on slide guitars ... your tuned to the chord of the key you want, and then you just pick out the notes and chord changes are pretty easy too...I speak from zero experience with open tunings. Well not zero...once I fumbled around and found a tuning I needed for playing background music for an oral history project in the ky mountains I got a chance to do...all I had was my one guitar, and usually I could borrow instruments, but the people decided at the last minute they needed background music for the filmstrip to make it more interesting...so...I had a job, a child, dirty dishes as always has followed me around...lol...stayed up all night reading the script and then listening to the tape and comin' up with something, anyuthing...had trouble knowing what was legal (was a big fear to me back then...lol...now I don't care) and finally just fumbled around and tuned my guitar to something that would sound more dulcimerish and just made up most of the stuff, went to the recording studio the next night and got it on there. 50 bucks for goin 48 hours with no sleep...that was good money when minimum wage was 3.35...lol...plus so much more fun for me than my job could ever had been.

Ok, so well, with almost zero experience in open tunings, outside of the one time I did it and had no idea where I was tuned to at the time I was using it...I've heard a lot of Hawaiian Slack Key guitar, from knowing a small handful of folks who migrated to Hawaii...if you have hand problems and like to play guitar, this would be a great resource...some of the slack tunings are "secret," but there's a lot of shared info on how the tunings work online now.

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 06/29/2020:  06:13:32


Chords , capos, cumulative stress injuries .... yeah ... full six tone barre chords can get old playing a dreadnought with a medium action. Alternating chord shapes can help a bit, playing in "C" with either the capo in the first or third fret works well enough to smack out some rhythm. If you want to get some tired fingers bang out some four tone chords for a coulpe of hours on a mandolin. R/

DougD - Posted - 06/29/2020:  06:32:46


Richard, how do you play guitar in C with a capo at the first fret? I don't see how that could help much.

screecher - Posted - 06/29/2020:  07:46:43


I usually don't play the low F (first fret on the 6th string). I alternate between the higher F (3rd fret 4th string) and C (3rd fret 5th string) with my ring finger.

I'm a big proponent of playing in D open (and E and F with a capo). Fuller sounding chords, and access to a great phrase-ending ending "D run" in the lower octave.

BanjoBrad - Posted - 06/29/2020:  10:10:53


quote:

Originally posted by soppinthegravy

 Could you post a picture?


Here you go - it's just an E shape moved up one fret, which is barred at the first fret with the index finger (all six strings covered by the finger - essentially a capo).


I often use the index finger to cover just the first 2 strings, which is the, I guess, popular way to play an F chord.  In classical guitar, barre is used quite often to move positions up the neck.


Edited by - BanjoBrad on 06/29/2020 10:13:11


Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 06/29/2020:  13:54:41


Rock & Rollers habitually play in A because it's easy to lay a semi-barre across the second fret with your index finger and use your ring finger to do that all-too-familiar runta-tunta blues-rock rhythm. For me, though, G and D are the chords my fingers naturally gravitate toward. D is particularly wonderful for finger-picking as the hammer-ons and hammer-offs are both easily accessed and oh-so-mellifluous.

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 06/29/2020:  14:38:00


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

D is particularly wonderful for finger-picking as the hammer-ons and hammer-offs are both easily accessed and oh-so-mellifluous.






Those same giggles can be found on the second string while playing A.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 06/29/2020:  16:26:21


quote:

Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

D is particularly wonderful for finger-picking as the hammer-ons and hammer-offs are both easily accessed and oh-so-mellifluous.






Those same giggles can be found on the second string while playing A.






I wish!  My fingers are just too fat to perform the same gymnastics on the A string that they can do on the E string.  The guitar also just doesn't ring out as much.  Also, for me, it takes more finger moxie to properly do an A chord than it does to do a D chord. 



As for the key of G, it falls under the fingers even more naturally than D if you do it as I do, fingering the chord with the pinky on the high G, the ring finger on the low G, and the middle finger on the fifth string at the B.  It allows a double hammer-on with the index and middle fingers to sound a C chord.  Think of Jorma Kaukonen's Embryonic Journey -- though on the Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album he has the guitar capoed up so that the tune happens in A.  This isn't to say, though, that I avoid the A.  My rock friends can't play in anything else...

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 06/30/2020:  07:37:27


Well so much for my ageing gray matter .. apparently my brain kicked from the key of C to the Key of F . Hence my capo comment. I do play often in the key of C without difficulty. F and Bd over and over again do wear me out. R/

BanjoBrad - Posted - 06/30/2020:  10:33:31


I use a lot of barre chords for some tunes; "Puff, The Magic Dragon" and "Westphalia Waltz" come to mind, they start on the 5th fret and work their way down to the open fret.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 06/30/2020:  11:28:09


I've been playing guitar for 50 years, well almost...3 more years will make 50, and when I go after a barre chord, I'm still not sure what's gonna happen...lol.  I'm talking about a real barre chord, as opposed to wrapping your thumb around the neck.  I normally go for the thumb, but sometimes it's impossible to avoid a barre chord, and then I get the heebie jeebies.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 06/30/2020 11:29:48

bsed - Posted - 07/03/2020:  13:31:44


I like playing in C. I usually opt for the open chord, though at times I like to try the barre F. I'm fortunate that at almost 65 (September) I have no arthritis to complain about. 

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/03/2020:  13:48:32


quote:

Originally posted by bsed

I like playing in C. I usually opt for the open chord, though at times I like to try the barre F. I'm fortunate that at almost 65 (September) I have no arthritis to complain about. 






Dang Bruce.. you are still  a child..!!! Good for you!!

old cowboy - Posted - 07/03/2020:  15:31:19


I don't know what all the fuss is about. I play it just like Banjo Brad said. Index finger on first two strings. Sometimes for the right effect I hook thumb over the E string. No big deal.

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/04/2020:  07:15:11


Much of what makes the F chord hard has to do with the guitar’s setup. Too much height at the nut usually, but string gauge can be a factor too.

BanjoBrad - Posted - 07/04/2020:  11:40:21


If you look at my fingers, you can see why I don't use my thumb on the sixth string - it won't reach. Not even on a narrower neck.

Setup does have a lot to do with it, and nylon strings help a whole bunch!

Old Cowboy - I tend to reach automatically for the full barre unless I want my little finger available for melody notes.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/04/2020:  11:48:04


Easiest and most relaxing way to play a 3 chorder in C is to plant your 4th finger (pinkie) on the G ( high E string), and 3rd finger on the D (B string), and keep em there. And just move your 1st and 2nd fingers as a unit from:



2nd finger C (A string), 1st finger E (D string) for the C Chord.



2nd finger G (low E string), 1st finger B (A string) for the G chord.



2nd finger F (D string), 1st finger A (G string) for the F chord.



...Ok its a F69..., and the C is a C Maj9...But they sound OK and a bit modal, which should sound good for OT etc??...and they are REALLY easy. Just play the top 4 strings for the F chord, top 5 strings ror the C chord and all of the strings for the G

 


Edited by - pete_fiddle on 07/04/2020 11:59:11

fiddlewood - Posted - 07/04/2020:  12:23:55


There are lots choices...full chords, partial, voicings, capoed...the only real problem sounds like the difference between a guitar owner and a guitar player...a player has little (if any) trouble accommodating a key or chord once they know where a piece goes.

DougD - Posted - 07/04/2020:  15:34:10


When Lonesome Fiddler described how he fingers a G chord I was going to say that fingering is what distinguishes a guitar player from somebody who's sitting with a box in his lap that happens to have strings on it.

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/04/2020:  17:04:26


quote:

Originally posted by DougD

When Lonesome Fiddler described how he fingers a G chord I was going to say that fingering is what distinguishes a guitar player from somebody who's sitting with a box in his lap that happens to have strings on it.






I learned it that way and never understood using the first three fingers. Depending on the key, I might play it as Pete described, but leaving the index finger free is the most versatile way for sure 

alaskafiddler - Posted - 07/04/2020:  18:12:14


quote:

Originally posted by pete_fiddle

Easiest and most relaxing way to play a 3 chorder in C is to plant your 4th finger (pinkie) on the G ( high E string), and 3rd finger on the D (B string), and keep em there. And just move your 1st and 2nd fingers as a unit from:



2nd finger C (A string), 1st finger E (D string) for the C Chord.



2nd finger G (low E string), 1st finger B (A string) for the G chord.



2nd finger F (D string), 1st finger A (G string) for the F chord.



...Ok its a F69..., and the C is a C Maj9...But they sound OK and a bit modal, which should sound good for OT etc??...and they are REALLY easy. Just play the top 4 strings for the F chord, top 5 strings ror the C chord and all of the strings for the G

 






I was going to point out that some prefer the key of C shapes to key of D shapes; find it easier; or just has better sound/options. So will capo up 2 for key of D and use C shapes.



------------------



Here is what I find typically easiest for accompanying fiddle tunes. Keep in mind for boom chuck, you want a good bass (boom); but don't always need to play full chords (make a chuck).



The basic C chord shape is not hard, nor should strain the thumb.



1st string open

2nd string First finger on 1st fret

3rd string; open

4th sting; Second finger on 2nd fret

5th string; Third finger on 3rd fret 

Sixth string; Fourth finger on 3rd fret . Perhaps optional, but good for alternating bass.

 



The F chord I use most, view as essentially moving that same shape of second third and fourth fingers down one course.



1st string First finger on 1st fret

2nd string First finger on 1st fret

3rd string; Second finger on 2nd fret

4th sting; Third finger on 3rd fret

5th string; Fourth finger on 3rd fret  (for alternating bass)

[F chord quite often doesn't need to use the low F on sixth string]



The G chord, mostly just shifts the same second and third finger shape over a course the other way from C.



-------



There is an alternative that comes in handy, is reversing the third and fourth fingers on third fret. For F it is the same shape as what would use for a barre chord. Easy to add in low F. Use for both C and F, again same shape of 2/3/4 fingers, just moves over a course.



---------



Three finger option.

There is another option folks use for C and F, for alternating bass for either chord, without need for pinkie;  some just shift third finger back and forth; but keeping rest of chord shape. 



-----------



I would add; If the first string is troublesome for any chord (F, G, D, A, Bm..), can often just leave it out for many chords and just focus on the bass and middle.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 07/04/2020 18:26:16

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/06/2020:  01:53:43


There's loads of standard gypsy swing stuff in C using "Django" chord shapes, which don't use many (if any) barre chords. Those guys seem to be able to Chug along all day. For C they seem to be mostly around the 7th/8th fret. it sort of sounds a bit like Rodney Miller if  you play trad stuff with folk who use em. especially if there's a bass as well.

phiddlepicker - Posted - 07/25/2020:  10:40:40


F chord on guitar like some others is a rite of passage. Actually a rudimentary chord shape and moveable, difficulty with it just means (discounting structural illness) you haven't paid your dues in hours practiced (or your guitar setup sukks). The thumb....think Hendrix, a la Little Wing. Moveable chords and embellishments are made more fluid by the use of the thumb to anchor a note while leaving the rest of the hand with more dexterity.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 07/25/2020:  14:19:55


One thing to keep in mind when you play folk-style back-up/rhythm guitar is that it's perfectly OK to only strum three or four strings. That goes even more with jazz. Django chords almost invariably involve only the middle four strings. It's something that not only adds that distinctive Django crunch (for trad jazz you don't want the guitar to ring out, folk-style), it allows you to do chords practically everywhere up & down the neck without your fingers getting tired.


Edited by - Lonesome Fiddler on 07/25/2020 14:21:27

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/25/2020:  14:58:53


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

One thing to keep in mind when you play folk-style back-up/rhythm guitar is that it's perfectly OK to only strum three or four strings. That goes even more with jazz. Django chords almost invariably involve only the middle four strings. It's something that not only adds that distinctive Django crunch (for trad jazz you don't want the guitar to ring out, folk-style), it allows you to do chords practically everywhere up & down the neck without your fingers getting tired.






RE: Django chords,



Root or 5th on the E or A string the rest of em on the middle strings . If yo use the E string for the root or 5th the A string is naturally damped. m7 and m6 are the minors and Maj 7 Maj 6 are the majors. m7b5 is the dom7 for major keys, and Diminished is the dom 7 for minor keys usually.....but as always....not always.  interestingly the m7b5 (2 chord in a minor progression) is also an inversion of a minor6 chord. After a while they all sound like a snare drum so ....its all about the the bass...bout the bass ;o)

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 07/25/2020:  15:08:13


Pete, yeah. I guess I should'a picked up my guitar and played a few Django tunes before I posted.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/25/2020:  15:24:08


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Pete, yeah. I guess I should'a picked up my guitar and played a few Django tunes before I posted.






i need to get into swing mode.....but i keep playing trad stuff, because it sounds ok solo..... to me anyway. i have some great swing players to play with. Two guitars and a bass. But we can't get together lately, and the swing stuff is going off the boil :o(

BanjoBrad - Posted - 07/26/2020:  20:51:38


My first three chords on the guitar were C, F, & G7. Learned because the song I was learning was in C, which is what was notated in the song book I was learning from.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/27/2020:  12:02:33


Is this the F chord you guys are talkin' about?Image may contain: text that says 'If 2020 was a chord: youtube.com/toddpoorel'


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/27/2020 12:02:58

christym - Posted - 08/31/2020:  08:51:45


Hi Tuneweaver,

   If your guitarist friend prefers playing in A-shaped chords, maybe have them try capo'ing at the 3rd fret.

   Regarding that "thumb-style" F-chord (see mmuussiiccaall's photo above), I recently encountered it while trying to learn the guitar part in Wimbush Rag as I hear it on the 1920s recording. I found the following advice helpful for playing the "thumb-style" F-chord more comfortably : youtu.be/HSolRHYs6Xw . Though ultimately, I found that I prefer to play the tune uncapo'ed with D-shaped chords.


Edited by - christym on 08/31/2020 08:59:51

TuneWeaver - Posted - 08/31/2020:  09:00:13


quote:

Originally posted by christym

Hi Tuneweaver,

   If your guitarist friend prefers playing in A-shaped chords, maybe have them try capo'ing at the 3rd fret.

   Regarding that "thumb-style" F-chord (see mmuussiiccaall's photo above), I recently encountered it while trying to learn the guitar part in Wimbush Rag as I hear it on the 1920s recording. I found the following advice helpful for playing the "thumb-style" F-chord more comfortably : youtu.be/HSolRHYs6Xw . Though ultimately I found that I prefer to play the tune uncapo'ed with D-shaped chords.






Thanks, I'll pass that info to my friend..



 

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