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What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?

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Rick Fielding 05 Apr 00 - 04:57 PM
The Shambles 05 Apr 00 - 05:04 PM
wildlone 05 Apr 00 - 05:09 PM
Willie-O 05 Apr 00 - 05:11 PM
Áine 05 Apr 00 - 05:12 PM
wildlone 05 Apr 00 - 05:21 PM
bbelle 05 Apr 00 - 05:26 PM
Bert 05 Apr 00 - 05:29 PM
Áine 05 Apr 00 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 05 Apr 00 - 05:35 PM
Joe Offer 05 Apr 00 - 05:42 PM
Frank in the swamps 05 Apr 00 - 05:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 00 - 05:48 PM
Willie-O 05 Apr 00 - 05:48 PM
Kim C 05 Apr 00 - 05:57 PM
Peter T. 05 Apr 00 - 06:06 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Apr 00 - 06:08 PM
kendall 05 Apr 00 - 06:27 PM
Gary T 05 Apr 00 - 06:31 PM
jeffp 05 Apr 00 - 06:35 PM
Mbo 05 Apr 00 - 06:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 00 - 07:01 PM
Áine 05 Apr 00 - 07:01 PM
ddw 05 Apr 00 - 07:15 PM
skarpi 05 Apr 00 - 07:24 PM
Callie 05 Apr 00 - 08:39 PM
catspaw49 05 Apr 00 - 09:15 PM
Mbo 05 Apr 00 - 10:04 PM
Áine 05 Apr 00 - 10:20 PM
Mbo 05 Apr 00 - 10:34 PM
Little Neophyte 05 Apr 00 - 10:53 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Apr 00 - 11:00 PM
GUEST, Threadie 05 Apr 00 - 11:10 PM
Duane D. 05 Apr 00 - 11:21 PM
Mbo 05 Apr 00 - 11:31 PM
rangeroger 05 Apr 00 - 11:32 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 05 Apr 00 - 11:58 PM
Mark Cohen 06 Apr 00 - 12:18 AM
Mark Cohen 06 Apr 00 - 12:28 AM
Mbo 06 Apr 00 - 12:51 AM
JedMarum 06 Apr 00 - 02:09 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Apr 00 - 03:54 AM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 06 Apr 00 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,flattop 06 Apr 00 - 08:23 AM
Mbo 06 Apr 00 - 08:27 AM
SDShad 06 Apr 00 - 09:02 AM
Fortunato 06 Apr 00 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,flattop 06 Apr 00 - 10:35 AM
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Rick Fielding 06 Apr 00 - 11:00 AM
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Subject: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 04:57 PM

Don't shoot me!

We got sidetracked a bit in Shamble's "VOW" thread so I'm bringin' this over here where it can't harm anybody. Sorry Sham.

There are three or four ways to play an "F" chord, and I know that at least two of them cause folks grief. When I first started, my index finger was not strong enough to do a full barre F. I just used the first 4 strings. Since I didn't have a lot of right hand control either I would often accidentally hit the open E and A string as well. When my mother would hear this she'd hit the roof! Bad enough that my models were Woodie Guthrie and Jimmie Rodgers rather than Mozart (or even Benny Goodman) but now she was hearing her kid play a "WRONG" and an "INAPPROPRIATE" note. Naturally the E is just wrong, but the fifth string A, although in an "F" chord, makes for a very bad first position inversion, and just doesn't sound tight.

She insisted I at least cover the fifth and make it "A". Tricky, but after about five days I managed it, using the ring finger on the fifth and little finger on the fourth. Still strummed sloppy though and kept hitting the open E. Still couldn't barre. She'd say "can't you play an "F" on the bass"? Only with my thumb, I thought. I tried. It sounded awful and I muffled the high strings when I tried. Not having Segovia around to tell me I HAD to barre it was a help. Within a couple of days it was working. Within a week I'd gotten it. I was playing a classical Goya (G-13) with a medium width neck and I don't have large hands or long fingers. I did however work like a sunnava gun for several days on it.

The REAL Payoff? I'd also learned F#,G,Ab,A,Bb and B with only one hand position. Give it a real try...it's a heck of an accomplishment.

Rick


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:04 PM

Now about these flamers..........Don't FRET.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: wildlone
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:09 PM

Rick, I have a problem with the F chord as I damaged my right index finger many years ago [hit my hand with an axe and damaged the knuckle where the finger joins the hand] so unless I tune the guitar to a chord I play in the first position and cheat on the F.
dave


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:11 PM

Strange state of affairs when you have to disguise your thread as another whip-up-controversy one to talk about fingering guitar chords. Sneaky, rick.

I've been thumbing on the low E string for so long I don't even think about it. Your mom was right--3rd fret on the D string is not a very bassy note. Thumb low F in F chord, F# to add flavour to a D chord, or for F#m, and god knows what else.

At least half the time when I play an F, I finger the top 2 strings, let the G string ring open (so I guess it's a ninth), and finger the F and C for an alternateable bass.

Only time I ever notice is when someone comments on it.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Áine
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:12 PM

Dear Rick,

I'm glad you've started this thread about the infamous "F". It took me quite a while to finally get the 4-string version down (and actually write songs with the F chord in them); but, you're the teacher, so if you say a full barre can be done, I'll give it another go.

Question is, do I have to take responsibility for all the expletives my kids are going to learn while I accomplish this feat? Are you volunteering to come down and explain their new vocabulary to their grandparents? *BG*

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: wildlone
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:21 PM

Rick I have just waded through the vow thread and saw your "handy hints on the F chord" the 6 sting I use has a very narrow neck its a 60's Ibenez humming bird copy,Iwill practise using my thumb.
dave


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: bbelle
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:26 PM

I fretted for 30 years over the F chord!!! Finally, I just transposed everything so I didn't have to deal with it. My hands are small and my fingers are short and it's almost impossible. I cannot blame my guitar because the neck width is small so I just blame it on arthritis. I must admit, though, that every now and again I run across a tune that should be played with the F chord. Right now, those "tunes" are on the backburner. At least until I figure out a better way to transpose them.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Bert
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:29 PM

I've got big hands and quite long fingers. I think that the barre chord is the only way to go and it's just going to be a question of practice. It's even more difficult for me to hold down less strings with my index finger as it twists my hand back too much.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Áine
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:31 PM

I've got big hands and quite long fingers . . .

Bert, luv, don't brag . . . *BG*

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:35 PM

Hey Rick,

Fun thread. I use a prehensile thumb over the top but I got that from the jazz guys. Some chords just won't happen without it such as a G9. It still doesn't help me play lead single-string fast enough though. My single-string lead feels like I'm running in 7 league boots with cast iron heels.

Django must have been born with the right genes. I'll settle for the tight jeans.

All dirty words for guitar pickers indeed start with an F. (But please exempt my first name. :)

Frank


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:42 PM

This sounds really good in theory, Rick, but I've been trying to master the dreaded "F" chord for twenty years without success. Isn't there an alternative for those of us who aren't nimble enough to do it? I'm getting weary of playing just in G, D, and A.
-Joe Numbfingers-


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:47 PM

If you're playing most of your chords with five or six strings in the first position these alternatives may sound a bit thin, but I almost always use three or four note chords.

Version 1.

2nd finger, sixth string "C" on the 8th fret.

1st finger, fourth string, "A" on the seventh fret.

4th finger, third string, "F" on the tenth fret.

Version 2.

2nd finger, fourth string, "A" on the seventh fret.

1st finger, second string, "F" on the sixth fret.

3rd or 4th finger, first string, "C" on the eighth fret.

Version 3.

1st finger, fourth string, "F" on the 3rd fret.

3rd finger, third string, "C" on the fifth fret.

4th finger, first string, "A" on the fifth fret.

Version 4.

3rd finger, sixth string, "A" on the fifth fret.

1st finger, fourth string, "F" on the third fret.

4th finger, third string, "C" on the fifth fret.

Learn these inversions and apply them to the other chords and you've got a goldmine of possibilities.

Frank i.t.s.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:48 PM

I've always found the F chord with the thumb the easy way to do it, both down the bottom and up as high as the 10th.

But the real reason I tend to use it is that, down at the bottom of the neck, when you lift the middle, ring and little fingers off you get neat little notes that come in handy (A,D, and G, I mean). Can't do that so easily with the barre - and can't do it at all if you want to strum a chord with one or more of those notes in it. And you can hammer on and pull off with the thumb, without disturbing the rest of the chord, which would be a lot trickier with the full barre.

If I was playing an F where I wanted to be able to switch to an Fm, I'd probably use a barre... No I wouldn't - I've just tried, and I found I instinctively did it the other way, and it wasn't any quicker doing it with the barre, though I'd have thought it would be.

I think the thing is, it's handy to be able to do it both ways. But using the thumb is definitely my preferred way.

Which doesn't help with my problem playing Bb chords at base position. Now if I could only stretch my thumb over to hold down the A string...


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:48 PM

Well, hey, Frank, Django didn't have 5 fingers crowding his hand, did he?

I am SHOCKED that the demure Aine would consider letting her children use the infamous F-chord. Mine probably wouldn't even use the F-word if they hadn't spent so much of their formative time within earshot of me and my badly aimed hammer.

But as far as I'm concerned, the F word for guitars is...

Framus.

Willie-O
(wish I still had my f-in Fender though.)


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Kim C
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 05:57 PM

Oh man, I hate F. Hate it. Coming from a piano background, where the notes are almost always the same distance apart no matter what key you're in, the guitar gave me fits. But with some practice, I was able to learn the dreaded barre F. Since I don't play guitar everyday (I'm fiddling now!), it's still a little plunky sounding, but it's way better than it was when I started. And since I've been playing the fiddle, the guitar makes a lot more sense.

The only thing about strings, though, is that I've pretty much had to give up my favorite singing key: Bb. That is, at least until I learn second position!!!!


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:06 PM

Now if someone could just figure out how to do the even more dreaded "C" barre on the 3rd and 5th fret (smush those fingers!!!!), we could all relax. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:08 PM

Capo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:27 PM

Capo, third fret..play D position for F chord.(Been hanging around bluegrass types) Of course, this is no good if you are in G and there is a quick F or F# Still cant manage? Get a Taylor.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Gary T
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:31 PM

I used the 5-note F chord (xCFACF) for years. While it lacks the bass F note, it doesn't sound too thin too me most of the time, and it's a quick chord change to either a 5-note or a 6-note C chord. Recently I had my guitars refretted and set up, and now I can actually do some barre chords. I can't manage the ones with a whole frets worth of space from the barre to the other fingers (A form, D form, etc.), but the adjacent-fret barres (E form, Am form) work well. I could never manage the thumb thing without losing control over other notes, so I just use it for an occasional hammer-on note.

My personal struggle is with getting a good B chord. I've tried several variations, and the best I can manage (without doing an E-form on the 5th fret) is to start with a B7 chord and mute out the A note (on the G string). Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: jeffp
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:35 PM

The barred F chord takes a lot of effort and pain to learn, but it's definitely worthwhile. I remember struggling with it and I still cheat if I don't absolutely NEED that low F. Sometimes I'll use the thumb if that's more convenient. The value in learning the F is that you can take it all the way up the neck, giving you more inversions and leading the way to learning even more with other chord formations up the neck. This comes in really handy when you are playing with someone else and don't want to play the exact same thing.

I suggest practicing the F somewhere in the middle of your practice session, after you are warmed up. Work on it until you are nearly frustrated, then go on to something you can do easily and love to play. That way you won't be left with a bad taste in your mouth about the instrument and your ability. Finish on a postive note (so to speak) and hang in there. It will come eventually.

jeffp


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 06:55 PM

I don't get it! Maybe I'm just weird then! I used to have trouble with the full barre chord, but I got over it within my first year of playing...maybe you learn things faster when you're younger, I don't know. I play the full barre all the time, and quite enjoy the ket of F#, playing all the chords with full barres...brag brag brag blah blah blah...now the chord I REALLY hate is Eb! It always sound so yucky! I avoid it at all costs!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 07:01 PM

I find the thumby F gets easier the further up the neck you go, till the 9th fret or so.

Learning to do an F barre is excellent practice, and strengthens you and all that, and is really handy playing in certain keys. But a thumby F has so many conveniences (eg changing from an F to a C in a hurry and back) that it shouldn't be seen as a cheat's way out of doing a barre F. You really do need to have it available.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Áine
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 07:01 PM

maybe you learn things faster when you're younger

Mbo -- As another Mudcatter put it so well the other day -- Please go and apply negative pressure on an avarian ovum! *BG*

-- Áine (who's old enough to know the score, but young enough to play the game!)


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: ddw
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 07:15 PM

I guess my musical preferences made me a pretty lucky guitarist — if not necessarily a good one. When I first started playing one of my heroes was Hoyt Axton, who showed me his version of Greenback Dollar. Another song of his I really liked was Movin' Down The Line — written, if memory serves, by Rod McKuen (Sp?). My Air Force buddy who was teaching me the basics said the only way to play the latter was to start in F#, drop to an E and alternate that through two verses and a chorus. Then I took it up half a tone and alternated between G and F and so forth, ending the song in A. The only way to do it, he said, was with a barre F position. So I learned it, no questions asked. Don't remember how long it took — probably a fuzzy-noted couple of weeks — but until I read this thread I had no idea so many people found it so difficult.

As I said, I guess it was just dumb luck, but I've always been glad because that barred E position is a mainstay in blues and besides, I can't hook my very short, once-broken thumb over the neck — much as I'd like to for walking the bass down. I HATE people with long, supple thumbs!

cheers all,

david


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: skarpi
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 07:24 PM

" G " Rick I dont know, maybe the " D " has been around.

All the best to all my friends, listen to the mudcat radio , I am calling in very soon.

skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Callie
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 08:39 PM

A timely thread indeed! Was accompanying a singer on guitar the other night who said "I do this song in 'F'" "No way!" thought I, and played it in 'G'. At the end of the song he looked at me and said "that wasn't in 'F' and flounced off.

Having sought advice from other 'F' haters, the next time I have to play in 'F' I'll put the capo on fret 1 and play in 'E'.

--Callie


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 09:15 PM

Ta hell with the chord....This is Mudcat, vintage 'Cat....cute idea Rick....Thanks.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 10:04 PM

Well Aine, 14 in my case was a BIT old, especially for learning an instrument...that's why the violin stuff didn't go so well, I started at 15...so I switched to fiddle and "The Mbo Way" at 18. Cool, Gollum used to suck eggses! My idol!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Áine
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 10:20 PM

Dear Mbo,

You're still my precioussss! But I refuse to think of you as anything other than a hobbit!

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 10:34 PM

Why thank you Aine! But you know Gollum once was the hobbit Smeagol, before he was corrupted by The Ring !

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 10:53 PM

Well I am not too sure how much this thread applies to the banjo F chord, but I do know playing an F chord on a long neck banjo in a G tuning can be a might fine Hudini trick.
It was one of the things that inspired me to tune my banjo down to an open F tuning and capo two frets up to play my F chord.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 11:00 PM

Check out F-Chord on DigiTrad


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: GUEST, Threadie
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 11:10 PM

Not going to get technical about it at this hour of the evening (for Threadie will soon be going to beddie), but if your hand can do it:
Thumb 1st Fret over A & E.
Your 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers in that cute little E major shape.
And your 1st finger over E and B, 1st Fret.

Of course, the 'secret' to anything like this is that there is no 'proper' way to do it. You have to feel comfortable, especially on your chording hand. So, position of your fingers in relation to each other, and what function they have to perform at that moment in time, whatever else it must be, it must be comfortable.

Unfortunately, of course, certain fingers have to be in certain places and there is no way out of that; get a small squash ball or something, get your fingers - especially the tips used to bending backwards over themselves. Whenever you're pissed off with me or anybody else in life, start drumming your fingers on the desk. Limber up those fingers and hands.

If your creativity is going to show on the instrument, the only bottle-neck is your hand.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Duane D.
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 11:21 PM

I heard stories of classical guitar instructors breaking students thumbs for wrapping them around the neck to avoid the full barre chord. Luckily for me, my mentor taught me that style. If I was playing an F minor, I started reinforcing my index finger with my middle finger over the top. This was especially useful when playing my 12 string. I play a lot in open tunings, particularly open G, and the F chord is considerably easier to play there.

Duane


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 11:31 PM

Those stories are UNFOUNDED! Classical guitar teachers aren't THAT cruel!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: rangeroger
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 11:32 PM

Great thread Rick.I was going to respond to the F remark last night on the VOW thread, but everything was slow as molasses and I wasn't able to post.
Anyway,I've been playing a full F with the thumb for a long time.Started when I had trouble learning to barre chord.Still can't very well.
Tom Paxton wrote a song called " I give you the Morning,I Give you the day" that is in F. I alternate the bass between the E and the F with my thumb for the song.
My real trials began when I started playing regularly at church.We do a lot of stuff in F and Bb so I had to learn to play in those chords. Capo to the 5th fret and and C position for the F. The Bb? You got it.Thumb-over F position.
rr


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 05 Apr 00 - 11:58 PM

You can play the F chord without using either a barre or your thumb, just put your index finger on the Low E 1st fret, Ring finger on the B string 1st fret, and Middle finger on the G string 2nd fret--All the notes you need and painless, too!!!


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 12:18 AM

Thanks for the plug, Dick. However, I couldn't find the song myself until I added a hyphen to "F-chord". And the title is misspelled (it should be The Perennial Beginner, with two N's) so that wouldn't work either. Tell you what I'm gonna do. Just click on The F-Chord Song right here.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 12:28 AM

I got so into my baby HTML that I forgot about my other F-chord story. I saw Stefan Grossman at the Troubadour in London in 1978. He demonstrated how to play the F with the thumb on the sixth string, and said, "You should know that Andres Segovia doesn't play the F chord this way." Then, after a pause, "That's because he can't."

By the way, Rick (or anyone), if you want to do the F-Chord Song (and I hope you do), try playing a different (wrong) chord on the word "wrong" each time through the chorus. And the last chorus is kazoo obbligato.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 12:51 AM

Darn tootin' he couldn't! Try to wrap YOUR thumb around a classical guitar neck! It DOESN'T work! Ben--come help me out here, we're gettin' squelched!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: JedMarum
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 02:09 AM

Since I stopped playing electric guitar, I've nearly stopped playing any bar chords. I've long used my thumb wrapped around my acoustic neck for full chords. I have big hands and can double up on strings, I also like to change the voicing of chords, from time-to-time for effect. For example - you can get an tremendous range with the low E dropped to a D, and play a D chord with an added high A at the 5th fret of your 1 string using your little finger - then play a G chord by sliding up just a bit to fret both the 1 and 2 strings at the third fret for the G and D, and the 5th fret with your third finger on the low E, blunting the 5th string as you do - again, a very full range with simple fingering. Fun stuff!


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 03:54 AM

The cheat B is barre F at the 7th fret, but don't put the barre on the top E or B strings, so the B rings open and the top E gives you the twiddly extra note people use on D and A chords, I think it's a sus4. Really stands out!


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 08:14 AM

I read that Merle Travis almost never used barre chords, and looked what he accomplished. He was able to play all those beautiful, jazzy sounding chords by draping his thumb over the neck - sometimes over both of the top strings - when needed. It looks almost like he had a double-jointed thumb from the photos of him making those pretzel-twist chords. I tried to copy his fingerings, with little success, but I was originally taught the barre method, so in that way I suppose I was predisposed to failure.

I play a little electric blues, so it's almost unavoidable, as well as easier, to make barre chords on an electric guitar. I've been making barre F at the nut for so long that when I play F on electric or accoustic, I almost always make it a barre, out of habit.

My nemesis is barre E (or barre D, for that matter) at the fourth fret - what I call E second position (what others call an 'inverted E??). It's hard to make the change to E at the fourth fret - it requires more accuracy because no two fingers end up on the same fret; all your fingers, especially the pinkie, are outstretched. It's also harder for me to slide this chord up and down the neck, for the same reasons.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: GUEST,flattop
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 08:23 AM

No matter how you finger the F, try relaxing the pressure between beats and squeezing again for the next beat. Relaxing makes the chords less stressful and can create interesting rhythm patterns. And then you'll want to barre more chords to keep up the rhythm.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 08:27 AM

Yes, flattop, I never realized that, but I do apply pressure on the strum and relax off the strum, kinda like doing chops. And you're right, it DOES make playing full barre chords more fun!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: SDShad
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 09:02 AM

What a great idea, flattop. I haven't received this much good advice about F-chords (and barre chords) ever, I don't think. And even a song about 'em!

Another thing that works in certain limited places is to substitute a Dm for the F. There are plenty of places where it doesn't work, but I tried it, for instance, on the bridge of Cowboy Junkies' "This Street, This Man, This Life," and I think it really punches up the sadness of the song. YMMV.

Chris


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Fortunato
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 10:07 AM

My $.02 goes like this:

Merle Travis and some other talented folks can use the thumb method and regain position quickly enough to reach the next chord or position. There's no 'RIGHT WAY'. But, the rest of us may need the classical hand and wrist and finger position in order to move quickly. So if the full Barre F is problematic. I offer the following.

You don't have to play the whole thing at once.
I.E, if you are Travis picking you pick the notes you NEED. Or Barre the F with the emphasis on the the 3rd 4th 5th and 6th strings while muting or damping the 1st and 2nd with the first finger of the left hand to play an F chord while singing.
Rick's "five string F with the ring finger on the 5th string, etc. is great for finger picking, just practice picking up the sixth string at the 1st fret SOMETIMES to provide that bass underpining for your tune.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: GUEST,flattop
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 10:35 AM

Hey, you guys are really positive. I didn't get that kind of response on my vituperate thread. Perhaps I can be the F'n family doctor on this one.

If the guitar neck is out of adjustment, you will have more difficulty with all types of barre chords. Test your neck by putting strings down in first and twelfth fret at the same time. Try it on the high and low E strings. If you can see light under the strings, the neck is out of adjustment. The guitar requires work and deserves some of the blame for the diffuculty that you are having with barre chords.

Positioning is another problem people have with barre chords. Anxiety over the chords can lead to funny, scrunched up fingering. A thumb over the top chord will be scrunched up but most barre chords should have the thumb and the fingers arched smoothly. Relax your wrist and elbow as well as your hand between beats and between chords. Move them around especially the elbow, in and out from your body, forwards and backwards) to try pressure on the strings from different angles for differnt chords. Milk the F chord and it's cousins out of the guitar with fluid arm movements rather than fighting it as a difficult and frightening chord.

P.S. I have no clue what YMMV means yet English is my first and second language (though my grandmother would break into bits of Scottish Gaelic, particularily when telling tales of Cape Breton relatives like Charlie Holy Malcolm MacDonald, Red Dan and Lizzie John Malcolm.)


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Easy Rider
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 10:46 AM

Isn't an opposable thumb what separates us from the beasts? I learned the thumb-over F chord before I ever heard the word, barre. It just feels natural to me, and changing to and from C and G7, when playing folk songs in C is very smooth. When I play this chord shape up the neck, I always have a low bass note, on the 6th string, for my alternating bass.

I'm a fingerpicker, so I need a free pinky to play melody notes, and the thumb-over technique does that for me. I use my thumb to play an F# (6th str, 2nd fret) in a D chord sometimes, and I play one Merle Travis type, closed C7 chord, in the "The St Louis Tickle". That involves a B7, moved up one fret, with my thumb fretting the 6th and 5th strings, at the third fret. It took a little practice, but it feels natural now.


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Subject: RE: What the 'F' is goin' on at Mudcat?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Apr 00 - 11:00 AM

One of the challenges that I faced when I decided that I wanted to play ALL six strings in EVERY chord I played was that I don't have long fingers or a lot of "bendability" in my fingers. I do have insatiable curiosity though, and over countless nights playing in bars I had lots of time to experiment. I discovered that lots of positions that seemed "impossible" at first required "wrist flexibility" rather than long fingers. My left hand position is constantly changing from "classical" to "clutch and grab". I've gotten used to almost always playing adjacent strings on the same fret with one rather than two fingers. Once it again, it becomes a "touch" thing as opposed to having "wide" fingers. Most folks watching my chording hand have no idea what chords I'm playing (at least visually) but I'm using what I see as a very "logical" approach, even though to say it's unorthodox may be an understatement.

From a teaching point of view, I'll stick to either a standard "classical-like" chord approach, or a "Travis approach" if the person has a narrow neck and country-blues aspirations. Someone like Mudcatter Michael K. (another with average size hands) WANTED to go in the "extreme" direction, so I've been giving him the "Full Monty" as far as chords that can be used to play melody, rhythm, and bass line simultaneously. The right hand style (usually thumb and two fingers) employs several variations of "pattern picking", independant thumbing, various "pinches", index/thumb single note runs, and "clutch chords. Michael is undoubtedly a quick study, but being like myself, self-employed, has a fair amount of time to sit around and pick. Believe me that extra "playing time" is a huge factor.

Rick


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