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When playing fingerstyle do you use an F Barr Cord or do you hook your thumb over the top to catch the 6th string? With the wider neck on the Seagulls it seems a little harder to reach over with the thumb but if able to do so it does give you some open strings to work with.

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its a bar-type for me - even on my M12.
My hands are smallish, so I generally play an F with a full barre form, though many times I may just play an F with the top 4 strings. If I'm using a capo, say on the 2nd fret and above, I can use my thumb. So, for me it varies.
I try to avoid full barre chords when playing fingerstyle, so my F is the 4 string one, I'm afraid...


I play a 5 string F without the bass E.  I catch 1st & 2nd (B&E) strings with my index,  3rd (G) with my index, 4th (D) string with my middle and 5th (A) with my ring finger.  If I'm finger picking I don't play the 5th String (3rd fret) but leave the ring finger free for picking with the pinky.


I have always used my thumb for making the "F" chord formation ... just the way I learned early on.  I have never used barre chords, but that's just my personal preference.  Of course, I'm a strummer/flat picker.  I don't play fingerstyle. To me, getting that top E string involved makes the F chord sound so much fuller and that applies to all the chords sounds using the "F" configuration as you move up the fretboard.  However, you're right about the difficulty of folks with smaller hands to effectively hook the top E string with their thumb.  Particularly on a Seagull.

I use to be a top four sting F chord "cheater" and still am depending on the song, but I'm working diligently to master the E shape barre chord such that all notes ring clearly. Same holds true for the A shape barre chord. I like to incorporate syncopated rhythms and percussive sounds into my playing, and barre chords are great for this. However, fairly recently I've discovered the advantage of fretting the "cheater" method while utilizing the thumb to get the bass note. I can't fret the low E sting cleanly with my thumb yet, but I'm still working on it. I think Jimi Hendrix utilized this method almost exclusively, as it frees up the pinky to embellish notes on the top three strings (G, B, e) two frets away from the root note fret. These notes are all in the major scale, so they all work for embellishments.

This reminds me of a recent video of Tommy Emmanuel where he shows the audience the difference between his two thumbs. The thumb on his right hand looks perfectly normal, but the thumb on his left (fretting) hand is all sorts of elongated and oddly shaped. He says this is a result of years of practice at fretting the low E string (and I think he can also fret the A sting as well) with this thumb. He talked about how this is a perfect example of how our bodies adjust to meet new demands placed upon it. In his case, it's his thumb. Very inspiring!

Wow .. now reaching around and catching the "A" string with my thumb?  That's something I had never, ever considered!


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