Some chords are used so widely throughout popular music that you’ll find them in an incredible range of songs and pieces of music across multiple decades. One of them is the chord of F Major.
Learning to play the F Major chord on ukulele is relatively simple and will open you up to an incredible range of new repertoire. This guide goes over the structure of the chord and how to play it, as well as some noteworthy pieces of music that use the chord.
Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First
The F Major chord is a major chord. This means that the chord is based on the major triad. A triad is a group of three notes that make up the structure or foundation of the related chord. A major triad contains a root note, a major third and perfect fifth.
If you’re not too familiar with music theory, then this may sound complicated. However, terms like third and fifth simply explain the relationship of a given tone to the root note of the scale or chord that it belongs to. A major third is four semitones away from its root note, and a minor third is three semitones away from its root note.
The presence of the major third in a major triad is what gives major chords their ‘major’ sound. Other types of chords, like dominant or minor 7th chords are also based on triads, but add additional notes to them to give the chord a different sound.
How to Play
Not only is the F Major ukulele chord fundamental to learning many different songs on the instrument, but it’s also fairly easy to play. Below is a diagram of the standard voicing of the F Major chord:
The easiest way to play this chord is by fretting at the second fret on the G string with your second finger, and on the first fret of the E string with your first finger. Play the C and A strings open. A chord with this kind of voicing should feel fairly straightforward and relaxed to play.
One thing that some beginners struggle with when learning to play the F Major chord on ukulele is to keep their third and fourth fingers clear of the strings. You might find it somewhat tricky to hold these two fingers high up enough off the fretboard that they don’t brush the strings when you’re first starting out on the ukulele. If you do find yourself struggling with this, the main thing to do is be mindful of it and keep practicing!
Voicing #2 – Barre Shape
If you’d like to give your F chord a little more oomph when playing it on the ukulele, then you can experiment with barre voicings. When playing a barre chord, you use one of your fingers (usually your first finger) like a bar to block off the whole fretboard at a given fret.
For this voicing of F Major, you’ll want to barre the fretboard at the 8th fret with your first finger. Then, fret the G string at the 10th fret with your third finger and the C string at the 9th fret with your second finger.
Some beginners to the ukulele find playing barre chords tricky, especially when required to hold them. Barre chords can cause your hand to cramp or tire out quickly, even more so when you’re not used to playing them. The only real way to get past this is by practicing holding different barre shapes and letting the muscles in your fretting hand adjust to the increased stress.
Another important tip with barre chords is that tension is your enemy. When playing this chord voicing, try to keep your fretting hand as relaxed as possible. This will help you play the chord for longer and prevent your hand from potentially cramping up.
Voicing #3 – Alternative Closed Shape
This voicing is another variation on F Major that you can choose to play as a barre chord or by fretting the second fret of the G string normally. Either way, you’ll still need to fret the 5th frets of the C and E strings with your third and fourth fingers, and the 3rd fret of the A string with your second finger.
You might find this chord shape quite awkward to play at first. We recommend learning it as a nice alternative to the standard F major chord for the ukulele; it has a rich, resonant character to it. Still, it may take some time to get used to if you’re not used to playing trickier chord shapes like these on the ukulele.
More F Chord Variations
Songs that Use this Chord
As previously mentioned, the F Major chord is very commonly utilized in music of all kinds of genres. Here are a few examples of noteworthy songs that feature heavy use of F Major:
- Adele – Rolling in the Deep: Adele’s powerful illustration of heartbreak and regret owes much of its harmonic structure to the chord of F Major.
- Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire: Inspired by romantic passion, Ring of Fire is a country classic based largely around a few simple chords, one of which is F Major.
- The Beatles – Twist and Shout: One of the Beatles’ earlier hits, Twist and Shout features a great chorus with super catchy backing vocals. F Major is one of the key chords that make up this twangy pop classic.