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I am a 6 year cerebral hemorrhage survivor. My lasting leftover from it is hypertonicity (permanent stiffness) on my left side. This affects my fret hand. I recently began playing guitar to strengthen my weak and stiff left hand.

I am having problems with getting the F chord (the one where the first and second strings are barred at the first fret) to ring without thuds. The main difficulty is barring the first and second strings with my index finger. Am experimenting with slight position changes and just barring string one and two by themselves for strengthening. For a couple of sessions I actually got the whole chord to ring, but I haven't recaptured how I did it.

Aside from an infusion of persistence and patience, does anyone have any helpful hints/tactics/exercises/workarounds?

Thanks in advance y'all!

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Just keep what your doing and it will come to you, I'm 52 years old and I'm having the same trouble, so don't fill bad.  Try the Fmaj7 chord, it is a lot easier, just keep trying that hard F chord you'll get it.
Before I forget the Fmaj7 is the 1st finger on string 2 of the 1st fret, the middle finger is on string 3 of the 2nd fret, and the ring finger is on string 4 of the 3rd fret, then you strum the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. I sometimes strum the 1st string also. I hope this helps you.

Hello friend

This is how we teach our students about chords, how to make it easy and not hurting your hand and fingers.

1. just lay out all the fingering as show, do not need to press so your fingers so hard, will hurted.

2. now take your hand away from the fretboard.

3. Immediately put back all the fingers as where they supposed to be

4. take your hand and fingers away from the fretboard and immediately put them back again.

5. do this about 10 or 20 times, immediately one after another.

By now it should be much easier to play the chord - do this to every new chords you learn


Thanks and have fun


If your not already you may want to work with an Occupational Therapist to strengthen your left hand and fingers.

Sometime ago I saw an add for a device for guitar players to strengthen their fingers. It was a web of bands that fit on your fingers and you opened and closed your fist. The bands were such that there was tension in both directions.

As for the F chord I just use a full bar, placing the finger over all six strings. With practice it came much easier. You may also want to try rolling your index finger a little more to it's side rather than laying it flat on the strings. This should work with both a full bar or just the 1st & 2nd strings.


Good luck,

Hello and Good morning.


Exercise is the key for building up strength for your arms and finger muscles. Matter fact I advise my students to perform exercise daily, just a few simple exercise to make your fretboard fingers strong and in control.

go to my site and see those exercise.


I advise my students to exercise daily if for some reason they do not want to practice.


It is so hard and words are not enough to describe - so just go to my site and i think you will be happy.


Have a great weekend

I'm a 62 year old newbie.  So, I'm glad to see other "seniors" take up the git.  That said, I have found that fretting the first frett with the SIDE of your index finger might help.  I get my index finger FLAT at the first frett then slightly ROLL it to the frett.  That technique got me going on all the barre chords.  Hope it helps and Keep It Fun, Dean
If you have large enough hands you might want to try using your thumb to fret the low-string(s).  Fret the two high strings just like you are doing.  Basically wrap your thumb around the top of the neck.  You only need to grab hold slightly to get it to sound.  Don't try to death-grip it.  This is technique practiced by many players.

Someone else asked about this before and here was a suggestion my me!


Hey RS, another hint to help with mastering F and Bb...tune your guitar down a half step and then put a capo on the first fret, you are now basically back to standard pitch...BUT the tension is lower and IF the nut is not cut deep enough and causing problems with fretting behind the first fret you will know it because these chords will be easier to press down, cluing you to get the nut slots filed down a little! AND (could it get any better) you can keep it here until you master r these two hard chords and when you take off the capo, it will be easier! Trust me, I wouldn't steer you wrong! Edward

Hi Micheal!

Here's a link to a discussion from last year about this very same subject:


My own method is to turn the index finger "in" so that the side of the finger is actually hitting the strings.   The best way to accomplish this is to sort of tuck the left elbow in towards your gut .  That forces the index finger to roll a bit.  


I'm far from any sort of expert or really any kind of guitarist for that matter, but that is what works for me on the F chord.

I'm certain an instructor will tell you that's not the correct way to do it.



My thanks to all of you!


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