The A Chord Guitar – Chords for Beginners

Now we’re on our way to guitar mastery! Welp… kind of. We just need to get through one pesky chord shape that most find difficult. But I promise you that when you finally get this chord shape under your fingers you will be so happy you took the time to learn it.

I can promise you that when you look up guitar tabs for most popular songs, you will often find this guitar chord in those tabs. Though this chord can be a tricky one and leave you feeling like you might not be cut out for guitar after all, I assure you it is merely a bump in the road to you jamming out to your favorite songs!

Anyway. Let’s get started!

How To Play The A Chord on Guitar

There are a few ways to approach this, the first would be to have your first, second and third fingers all in a row on the second fret. But you might find that that approach might be limiting to you as it wouldn’t allow you to transition to and from other chords as easily.

The second approach you might find to be a bit more forgiving in both the fingering and in the shape allowing you to transition to another chord. But hey! Let’s show you both and you decide which method you prefer:

To use the first approach:

Open A Major - basic
  • Place your 1st finger on the fourth string 2nd fret.
  • Place your 2nd finger on the third string 2nd fret.
  • Place your 3rd finger on the second string 2nd fret.
A chord hand fingering
Basic Open A Chord – Human Fingering

To use the second approach:

Open A Major - crossover
  • Place your 1st finger on the third string 2nd fret.
  • Place your 2nd finger on the fourth string 2nd fret.
  • Place your 3rd finger on the second string 2nd fret.

You will be picking all the strings from the 5th string to the 1st string but be sure to avoid picking that 6th string.

A chord shown with fingers on neck
Open A Major chord using the finger crossover method

Finger Position

Make sure to finger the chord as described above and make sure that no finger is touching any string that it’s not supposed to (i.e., your 1st finger should only be touching the third string and not the second string).

“But what if I am fingering the chord like you told me to and it still sounds bad?”

Then simply pick every individual string. This way you can pin-point where any nasty unwanted noises are coming from, and you can correct your finger position as needed.

Easy Ways To Practice The A Chord

So, we could just strum the A chord over and over but really the best practice is to go from one chord to another and back and forth to get you practicing making the A chord shape. If we just strum the A chord over and over, we won’t really get the needed muscle-memory down.

So let me show you a simple two chord exercise that will get you that much needed muscle-memory (Note: that this exercise calls for you to use the first approach of the A chord). So first we are going to make our A chord and then secondly, we will make a D chord.

We are going to strum our A chord and then D chord over and over to build muscle-memory.

In order to make a clean transition between these two chords we need to plan out how our fingers will move from one position to another.

Open A Major - basic
Open A Major
Open D Chord - basic
Open D Major

Transitioning from the A chord to the D chord:

  • Move your 3rd finger over from the 2nd fret to the 3rd fret keeping it on the same string.
  • Move your 1st finger down from the 4th string to the 3rd string keeping it on the 2nd fret.
  • Move your 2nd finger down from the 3rd string to the 1st string keeping it on the 2nd fret.

Great! Now let’s transition back from the D chord to the A chord.

To transition back from the D chord to the A chord:

  • Move your 1st finger back from the 3rd string to the 4th string keeping it on the 2nd fret.
  • Move your 2nd finger back from the 1st string to the 3rd string keeping it on the 2nd fret.
  • Move your 3rd finger back from the 3rd fret back to the 2nd fret keeping it on the same string.

Of course, there is more than just one way to transition between these two chords and there is no wrong way really. But whichever you choose you need to be sure to stick to that one way that way you can become good ant transitioning between those two chords.

Once you feel comfortable transitioning between these two chords you will find that your transitioning will become fluid and nearly flawless!

Simple Songs Using the A Guitar Chord

“You said I would probably come across this chord in most guitar tabs. Is that true? Do a lot of popular songs really use this chord?”

Yes, it’s true! You might think that you would have to scour the internet for days to find a guitar tab with this chord in it. But really your scouring would likely end in a matter of minutes. Some of the most well know pop songs consist of only three chords, and guess what? The A chord is one of them buddy! There are numerous pop songs that consist of only three chords and that is the A chord, D chord and E chord.

Here’s some pop songs that consist of the A chord:

Wild Thing by The Troggs.

 
A 
Wild 
 
thing
D 
E 
..
D 
you make my  
A 
heart 
 
sing
D 
E 
D 
You make  
A 
every
D 
thing
E 
Groovy
D 
A 
wild 
 
 
D 
thing
E 
…  
G A G 

Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

 
A 
Where it  
D 
began I can’t begin to knowin’
A 
But then I know  
E 
it’s growin’ strong
A 
Was in the  
D 
spring, then spring became a summer
A 
Who’d have believ
E 
ed you’d come along

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