So, don't panic and let’s get started with the first barre chord: F major.
To play this chord, you need to barre the first fret, which means that one finger is used to press down multiple strings in a fret (like a bar pressing down the strings).
In the case of F major, your first finger will barre the first fret while your second finger will press the second fret of the third string, your third finger will be in the third fret of the fifth string, and your fourth finger will press the third fret of the fourth string.
As you can see, it is really the same shape as E major, except that you press the string with different fingers and barre the first fret.
Don’t worry if not all of strings sound properly - this is normal at the beginning. The strings that are muted will not make a sound and you will only hear those strings that you press correctly. The chord will not sound like it should, but because you are muting you will be taking some notes out and it is much less important than not playing an incorrect note in the chord.
Learning barre chords is always a pain for guitar students, but after a few months you will be a pro.
Meanwhile, you can play songs without barre chords at the same time as you practice F major, so you can have fun playing during this period!
Regardless, the real problem with this chord is not the shape itself because, after a few seconds of switching your gaze between the chord diagram and the neck of your guitar, the chord will sound (more or less). The problem is trying to play a song, and moving from any given chord to F quickly.
Many people use a simplified version of F in order to avoid barring any fret. This option is pressing the first fret of the second string with your first finger, the second fret of the third string with your second finger, and the third fret of the fourth string with your third finger. If you strum only the first four strings (leaving untouched the two lower strings), it will sound more or less like an F major.
In fact, this chord really exists. It is Fmaj7. However, I do not recommend using this shortcut because, sooner or later, you will need to learn the barre chords and the correct F major shape will allow you to play many other chords.
Yes, if you play the same shape that you use for F major but barre the second fret instead of the first (all your fingers will go up a fret), you will go half a step up and you will be playing F# major. By barring the third fret, you will play another version of G major; by barring the fourth fret, you will have G# major, and so on…
Instead of looking for shortcuts, I could give you some tips to make your first transitions to F easier.
For instance, you can look for songs where you should play F major from a C major, because both chords’ shapes share a finger position: the third one in the third fret of the fifth string.
So, when you are playing C major, you should keep your third finger pressed and move the other ones. The movement you should make is to switch your second finger a string down, from the fourth string to the third, to add your fourth finger to the third fret of the fourth string and, finally, and as quickly as you can, to barre the first fret with your first finger.
In this way, you do not need to look for the position of all your fingers but rather only move two of them (the second and the fourth) and barre the first fret.
Try to suppress your desire to throw your guitar away, because if you practice it you will be able to do it faster than you think.
You might again open the Box and try the following songs. All of them use F major following C major, and the other chords are easy ones. Please note that some of them require a capo.
Play songs while learning to play guitar. A new cool and easy song every week.