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That "darned" F chord on the guitar

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Jun 28, 2020 - 2:08:22 PM
8257 posts since 3/19/2009
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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?

Jun 28, 2020 - 2:50:19 PM
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247 posts since 12/2/2013

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

Jun 28, 2020 - 3:14 PM
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247 posts since 12/2/2013

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


Jun 28, 2020 - 3:16:16 PM
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8257 posts since 3/19/2009
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Arthritis may have been a contributing factor.

Jun 28, 2020 - 3:37:50 PM
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carlb

USA

2220 posts since 2/2/2008

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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 3:42:13 PM

3021 posts since 6/21/2007

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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 3:53:30 PM

1256 posts since 7/26/2015

 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.


Jun 28, 2020 - 3:59:20 PM

1256 posts since 7/26/2015

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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 5:03:45 PM

1557 posts since 12/11/2008

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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 5:28:42 PM
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2159 posts since 8/23/2008

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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 7:17:47 PM
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DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007
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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

Jun 28, 2020 - 7:27:22 PM
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129 posts since 6/11/2019

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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 7:50:56 PM

DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007
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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.

Jun 28, 2020 - 7:55:53 PM

DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007
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I don't see their guitar players complaining.

Jun 29, 2020 - 4:28:05 AM
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4653 posts since 9/26/2008

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.

Jun 29, 2020 - 5:33:42 AM

10900 posts since 9/23/2009

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.

Jun 29, 2020 - 6:13:32 AM

2257 posts since 10/1/2008

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/

Jun 29, 2020 - 6:32:46 AM
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DougD

USA

9609 posts since 12/2/2007
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Richard, how do you play guitar in C with a capo at the first fret? I don't see how that could help much.

Jun 29, 2020 - 7:46:43 AM
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19 posts since 6/12/2015

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.

Jun 29, 2020 - 10:10:53 AM
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3021 posts since 6/21/2007

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

Jun 29, 2020 - 1:54:41 PM

1557 posts since 12/11/2008

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.

Jun 29, 2020 - 2:38 PM

247 posts since 12/2/2013

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.

Jun 29, 2020 - 4:26:21 PM
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1557 posts since 12/11/2008

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...

Jun 30, 2020 - 7:37:27 AM

2257 posts since 10/1/2008

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/

Jun 30, 2020 - 10:33:31 AM

3021 posts since 6/21/2007

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.

Jun 30, 2020 - 11:28:09 AM

10900 posts since 9/23/2009

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

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