Learn 7 Ways to Play A Major



BY KATE KOENIG

Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. At this point we’ve done 30 lessons, covering chords of all types. In this lesson we’ll restart that cycle, using an entirely different set of chords, beginning with A major.

The Work

If you remember, a major triad is made up of three notes, the root, the third, and the fifth. In an A major triad, those notes are A, C#, and E, as shown in Example 1. (Note that there are three sharps in the key of A major: F#, C#, and G#.)

Example 2a shows a basic open A chord. In Example 2b, you’ll find the same voicing, but with a first-finger barre. Depending on the shape of your guitar’s neck and your hand, you might be able to include the open high E string. Example 2c uses the same barre at the second fret, but adds the fourth finger to play the A on string 1, fret 5.  

Example 3a depicts an A barre chord played at fret 5. If it’s too uncomfortable to bar your first finger across all six strings, then try the common workaround in Example 3b—wrap your thumb around the neck to play the fifth-fret A on string 6, and then you just need to bar the top two strings with your first finger. In either barre shape, feel free to play just the top or bottom four strings.

Example 4 depicts a more compact voicing using just the top three strings, with the fifth (E) on the bottom. If you’re fingerpicking, you can add the open A string to get the root note in the bottom. Lastly, Example 5 shows an A voicing way up at the 12th fret. This shape can be difficult to play even on a 14-fret guitar, but it helps if you have a cutaway. Also note that this is essentially the same as Ex. 2a, but moved up 12 frets.

The Result

Now you should know a bunch of different A major chords at different spots on the fretboard. As always, practice these shapes until they are in your muscle memory. Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” is a great example of a song that makes use of an A chord. It also happens to include an E major chord, the subject of your next lesson.

Source link

Apparel

Guitar Gear

Books

Amplifiers

Learn 5 Ways to Play E7 | Chord by Chord
Jazz Guitarist Pat Metheny Teams Up with Jason Vieaux and the L.A. Guitar Quartet on New Classical Compositions
Abigail Dowd Performs “St. Vrain“ | Acoustic Guitar Sessions in Place
Cole Clark Lead the Sustainable Discussion
The John Myung Artist Series Bongo Six String Bass – Ernie Ball Music Man
Beamer Wigley with Brotherhood of the Guitar – Ernie Ball Music Man
St. Vincent Offers A Masterclass Teaching Creativity and Songwriting – Ernie Ball Music Man
The Jason Richardson Artist Series Cutlass – Now Available in a 6-String Model and a new Buckeye Burl Finish – Ernie Ball Music Man
Best Electric Guitars & Amps for Beginners
Amazing electric guitar sounds at the speed of light
100 Greatest Guitar Riffs Of All Time (Part 1)
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish – Electric Guitar Cover
Beginner Strumming Patterns For Acoustic Guitar Pattern 1 – Beginner Guitar Lessons
Classical Guitar Lesson 1
Learn Fingerpicking in 20 minutes – BEGINNER fingerstyle exercises – GUITAR MASTERCLASS
Guitar Lessons for Beginners in 21 days #1 | How to play guitar for beginners
Fingerpicking Tips To Save Years of Guitar Practice
20 Quick Tips For Guitarists
10 Things ANYONE Can Do To Get Better At Guitar Faster
10 Guitar Hacks You NEED To Know
Best Acoustic Love Songs English Covers for 2021
36 STRINGS BASS SOLO (World Record)
Beginner Strumming Patterns For Acoustic Guitar Pattern 1 – Beginner Guitar Lessons
Classical Guitar Lesson 1
theGUITARaddict: Gold pieces
Sophie Lloyd: Bullet For My Valentine – Tears Don't Fall | (SHRED VERSION)
Life's Ax
Alex Hutchings: EPIC String Snap