How to play

How to play the A major chord on guitar

Play songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Wild Thing" by mastering the A major chord.

The A major chord

The A chord, pronounced "A major," is one of the most fundamental chords in guitar playing. It's a bright and cheerful chord that's easy to play, making it perfect for beginners. The A chord is widely used across various musical genres, from folk and country to rock and pop. Many popular songs, such as "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, heavily feature this versatile chord.

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

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Finger placement for A major chord

The most common way to play an A major chord on guitar is in the open position, without any barring required.

Follow these finger positions to play an A major chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd (B) string.

To strum this A major chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion, starting from the 5th (A) string.

How to play an easy A major chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the A major chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Strum the top five strings.

How to play a A major bar chord

The A major barre chord is a great alternative to the open A chord, as it allows you to play the same chord shape at any position on the fretboard, opening up new possibilities for your playing.

Here's how to play an A major barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 5th fret, creating a barre.
  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.
  4. Place your middle finger on the 6th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common A major chord progressions

The A major chord is often used in progressions that convey a sense of brightness, optimism, and uplift. Some common A major chord progressions include:

  • I-V-vi-IV (A-E-F#m-D): Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley
  • I-vi-IV-V (A-F#m-D-E): Used in "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey and "Octopus's Garden" by The Beatles
  • I-IV-V (A-D-E): Used in "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles and "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens
  • I-V-ii-IV (A-E-Bm-D): Used in "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon
  • I-iii-IV-V (A-C#m-D-E): Used in "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and "Wonderwall" by Oasis

Drills to master the A major chord

To master the A major guitar chord, try this simple drill: play each note of the chord individually, starting with the lowest note (A) and moving up to the highest (E). Focus on getting a clear, crisp sound from each string. Once you can play each note cleanly, practice transitioning between them smoothly.

Another effective drill is to strum the chord repeatedly, concentrating on maintaining consistent pressure and positioning. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed while ensuring each strum rings out clearly. With regular practice, you'll build muscle memory and soon be playing the A major chord confidently.

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Songs that feature the A major chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the A major chord:

  1. Hey Jude by The Beatles (A, D, E, F#m, B7)
  2. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz (A, D, E, F#m)
  3. Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan (A, D, E)
  4. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (A, D, E, F#m)
  5. Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses (A, D, E, F#m, B7)
  6. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison (A, D, E7)
  7. Free Fallin' by Tom Petty (A, D, E)
  8. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (A, D, E, F#m)
  9. Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver (A, D, E7, F#m)
  10. Wonderwall by Oasis (A, D, E, F#m)

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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