Tag Archives: F minor

Why We Use “Thumb F”

“Thumb F” vs. F Barre Chord

Okay, we all agree that playing an F major chord “thumb-style” is difficult. Students ask me, “Why not use a full barre chord instead?”

My answer is YES, you can if you like. BUT, if you don’t learn this fingering you’ll be cheating yourself out of some other great chords.

Fadd9 is a very lush, beautiful sounding chord that commonly is substituted for F. You need only take off your 2nd finger. Make sure the open G note is sounding – that note is the 9th that’s being added to the chord. You can’t play this if you start with the barre chord.Fmaj7

Fmaj7 is another pretty chord that is commonly used in place of F, and which tends to make a progression sound a bit atmospheric and dreamy. To play it, simply tip your 1st finger up onto just the 2nd string. Again, you can’t play this if you start with the barre chord.Fmaj9

Fmaj9 is a combination of both the above chords, sounding even dreamier, more complex and sophisticated. Very nice!Fm

Fm can also be played as a barre chord, but if you’ve mastered playing the thumb-style F and you are playing a progression that uses Fm along with other non-barred chords, this baby comes in real handy. A little harder perhaps, because your 1st finger has to hold down three notes, but well worth the effort in the long run. This chord, just like the barre version, is movable to other fret locations.

It’s my understanding that classical guitar is the only discipline that discourages players from using their thumbs to fret notes.

I say, “Hey, it’s like having one more finger!

So there you have it.

No pain, no gain.

Let that be a lesson to you.  ;)

© 2014 Matthew Woodward