It has been said so many times that playing cords is one of the most important things for the guitarist to learn. The Major A chord is represented by the triad of notes A, C, and E. Each finger is represented with a number.


Once you have placed your fingers in the appropriate places on the strings, brush down the sound hole or guitar body with an even swipe of the pick or your fingers. You want to hear the tone of every string, not a jumbled, muffled mess. The strings should ring clearly if your fingers are right and you strummed the guitar properly. If they do not, then re-position them on the fret board and try again.

You will need to keep in mind that the C note is sharp in the A Major chord. If you have any question as to whether any note of any chord is sharp, flat or natural refer to the Circle of Fifths.



The Circle of Fifths is a way to find out how chords and keys are related to each other. Keys are not truly considered close to each other in the chromatic scale. What really makes a key closely related is a similarity in its key signature. For example, the C Major and A minor have the same key signature because they both contain no sharps or flats. This puts them into the same slice of the circle. The keys that are the most spaced from the C Major chord have the most sharps and flats. These are at the opposite side of the circle.


Use the one they’ve got below – every school in the world has the same thing!


The name comes from the fact that you as you go around the circle from the Major C you will either become more flat or more sharp. The interval that is traveled between each slice, up or down, is a perfect 5th. If you travel clockwise on the circle you get a key that has one more sharp or one less flat in it. When you go counterclockwise on the circle you get a key that has one more flat or one less sharp.

This is also used as a tool for finding which notes of a particular chord are flat or sharp if you are unsure. A basic rule to remember is that the first sharp in a key signature is F sharp and the next is a perfect 5th away, C, G, etc. the first flat in any key signature is B flat, with E flat following all the way back to F.




If you look at chord definition as far as music theory is concerned, chords are a series of three notes called a triad. This triad includes notes from 3 different classes of pitch. They are called the root, the major 3rd, and the perfect 5th. This chord structure is considered the most relaxed in all of harmony. In the case of the Major chord A, the root is the A note, the major 3rd is the C sharp note, and the E is the perfect 5th.



It is common for many people to have issues with the A chord. Because of the fact that you have to get 3 fingers onto one fret, this is not always easy.

People think it is easy enough to just press the 2nd fret of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings. That is the major problem though. Many will tell you to use this fingering:

STRING:	1st (high E)	2nd (B)	3rd (G)	4th (D)	5th (A)	6th (low E)
FINGER:	Open	Ring	Middle	Index	Open	Open

The reality is, that fingering is very uncomfortable for most people. There are a few more Major A techniques to try before getting frustrated. Never use a finger technique that is uncomfortable. There is always another way to play the chord and not kill your hand.

STRING:	1st (high E)	2nd (B)	3rd (G)	4th (D)	5th (A)	6th (low E)
FINGER:	Open	Ring	Index	Middle	Open	Open

Many musicians find the above fingering easier and notice they make a better sounding A chord as well. This position tends to be more comfortable for the fingers. It also makes switching between the A, E, and D chords easier as well, which are the dominant chords of songs in the key A Major. It is very important to mention that some people, especially those with big fingers, who will never get 3 different fingers at once onto the fret board, no matter what they try. These individuals will have to barre the 2nd fret to play this chord. Barring a fret means to lay a single finger across all the strings on a single fret. For the A Major chord you would barre the 1st 4 strings on the second fret. Do not play the 1st string, this chord requires only playing the bottom 5 of the 6 strings.

STRING:	1st (high E)	2nd (B)	3rd (G)	4th (D)	5th (A)	6th (low E)
(don't play)	Index	Index	Index	Open	Open

With these 3 possible techniques for playing the A Major chord, you should be able to find one that works for you. Take your time, get comfortable with this chord, and try to change between other chords as well. Once you know how to play each chord and switch fairly quickly and smoothly, you will be on your way to bigger and better stuff.