How to play

How to play the A11 chord on guitar

Unleash the magic of A11 in hits like "Wonderwall" and "Blackbird". Master it now!

The A11 chord

The A11 chord, pronounced "A eleventh," is a sophisticated and jazzy variation of the standard A major chord. It incorporates the 11th note of the A major scale, adding depth and intrigue to its sound. Often used in jazz, fusion, and neo-soul music, the A11 chord can be heard in songs like Steely Dan's "Josie" and Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life."

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common A11 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for A11 chord

The A11 chord is typically played on the 5th fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a A11 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 5th fret.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum the A11 chord, use a downward motion to play all six strings together. You can also experiment with different strumming patterns to create various rhythms and textures.

How to play an easy A11 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the A11 chord, try playing an A7 chord instead. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string, your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd (B) string, and your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.

How to play a A11 bar chord

Playing the A11 chord as a barre chord can give you a fuller, richer sound and make it easier to transition to other chords in a progression.

Here's how to play an A11 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 5th fret, barring all six strings.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Strum all six strings from low to high.

Common A11 chord progressions

The A11 chord, with its unique voicing and tension, adds a sophisticated touch to progressions, often evoking a sense of longing, contemplation, or resolution. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the A11 chord:

  • vi11 - V7 - I (A11 - G7 - C). Used in "Stairway to Heaven" and "With a Little Help from My Friends".
  • ii11 - V7sus4 - I (D11 - G7sus4 - C). Used in "Hello" and "Wonderwall".
  • iii11 - vi - ii - V7 (E11 - Am - Dm - G7).
  • I - vi11 - ii7 - V7 (C - A11 - Dm7 - G7).
  • ii11 - V7 - I6 (D11 - G7 - C6).

Drills to master the A11 chord

To master the A11 chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clean, crisp sounds. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders, such as A-E-G-B-D, or A-G-E-D-B. Vary the tempo and rhythm to build dexterity.

Another effective drill is to practice the chord progression A11-Dmaj7-G-Cmaj7. This sequence is common in many songs and will help you memorize the A11 shape while improving your ability to switch chords smoothly. Remember to use a metronome and gradually increase the speed as you become more proficient.

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Songs that feature the A11 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the A11 chord.

  1. Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder (A11, B11, D, E, G)
  2. Valerie by Amy Winehouse (A11, Dm7, Gm7, C7)
  3. She's Always a Woman by Billy Joel (A11, Bm7, C#m7, F#m7)
  4. I Wish by Stevie Wonder (A11, D7, G7, Gm7)
  5. Lowdown by Boz Scaggs (A11, Bm7, Dmaj9, Em7)
  6. Rosanna by Toto (A11, Bm11, C#m7, D, E9sus4, F#m7)
  7. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon (A11, Dm7, Em7, Dm6)
  8. Easy by The Commodores (A11, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7)
  9. Peg by Steely Dan (A11, D7, G7, C)
  10. What You Won't Do For Love by Bobby Caldwell (A11, Bm7, C#m7, Dmaj7, G#7)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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