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How to play the A major over E chord on guitar

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The A major over E chord

The A chord, pronounced "A over E," is a unique voicing of the A major chord with an E note in the bass. This chord creates a bright and open sound, making it popular in folk, country, and rock music. Notable songs featuring the A/E chord include "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty and "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Its distinctive voicing adds a fresh twist to the standard A major chord.

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

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Finger placement for A major over E chord

The most common way to play an A major chord over an E chord on guitar is by using a barre chord shape on the 7th fret.

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

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion starting from the 6th (low E) string and moving across all six strings. You can also experiment with different strumming patterns to create various rhythms.

How to play an easy A major over E chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the A major over E chord, try playing an open A chord (no barring required) while adding your pinky finger to the 2nd fret of the low E string. This creates a similar sound to the barre chord version without the added complexity.

How to play a A major over E bar chord

The A major over E barre chord is a great way to add variety and richness to your guitar playing, especially when transitioning between chords in the key of A.

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

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from low to high.

Common A major over E chord progressions

The A major chord played over an E bass note creates a sense of longing, nostalgia, and emotional resolution when used in chord progressions. Here are some common progressions featuring this chord:

  • I - IV - I/V - V (A - D - A/E - E): Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce
  • I - vi - I/V - IV (A - F#m - A/E - D): Used in "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls and "Cigarette Daydreams" by Cage the Elephant
  • I - V - vi - I/V (A - E - F#m - A/E): Used in "The Scientist" by Coldplay and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" by Pearl Jam
  • I - I/V - IV - V (A - A/E - D - E): Used in "21 Guns" by Green Day and "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's
  • I - vi - IV - I/V (A - F#m - D - A/E): Used in "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day and "Breakeven" by The Script

Drills to master the A major over E chord

To master the A major over E guitar chord, try this simple drill: play each note of the chord individually, starting with the lowest note (E) and ascending to the highest (C#). Focus on cleanly fretting and picking each note, ensuring they ring out clearly. Once comfortable, play the notes in reverse order, descending from C# to E.

Another effective drill is to play the chord as an arpeggio, plucking each note one after another in a repeating pattern. Experiment with different rhythms and fingerpicking patterns to develop dexterity and familiarity with the chord shape.

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Songs that feature the A major over E chord

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

  1. Redemption Song by Bob Marley (E, A/E, B7/E, A/E)
  2. All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan (Am, G, F, Am/E)
  3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G/B, C/G, D/F#, FM7, Am/E, Dsus4)
  4. Layla by Eric Clapton (Dm, Bb, C, A/E)
  5. Blackbird by The Beatles (G, A/E, B7/E)
  6. Behind Blue Eyes by The Who (Em, G, A, A/E)
  7. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (C, G/B, Am, A/E)
  8. Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers (Am, G, Fmaj7, A/E)
  9. Gravity by John Mayer (G, A/E)
  10. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm, A/E)

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.

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