The A Chord

There are 4 common ways of playing the A chord, they are:

A Chord – Traditional Version


This is the traditional way of playing the A chord. When you play the A chord like this, the fingers take on quite a natural shape that isn’t too tricky to make with the fingers.

Tricky Points:

If you have chunky fingers it can sometimes feel difficult to get all three fingers into the same fret.

If you’re playing in a Closed Grip, the bottom part of your first finger can sometimes mute the high E string if your fingers are not quite long enough.

Because finger 1 is so far back in the fret, it requires extra strength and pressure to allow the note to ring out.

Finger 3 can sometimes mute the high E string if it’s not curled enough.

A Chord – Variation 1


This is the first variation of playing the A chord. Essentially we’ve swapped fingers 1 and 2.

This does a couple of good things:

  1. Finger 2 can be placed closer to the fretwire (than finger 1) allowing for easier fretting of that particular note.
  2. Finger 2 is also longer than finger 1, which gives more space down by the High E string.
  3. Finger 1 can also get a little closer to the fretwire, making it easier to sound the note out.

Tricky Points:

The shape the fingers need to make with this chord is more fiddly than the Traditional version. Getting the notes to ring out might be easier, but changing to this version of the A chord from other chords is more difficult.

A Chord – Variation 2


This is the second variation of the chord, and it’s used more in Rock music. It’s played using just finger 1, and the high E string is pretty much always muted.

Tricky Points:

Getting the shape of the first finger might feel a little awkward at first. Other than that, it’s pretty straightforward.

A Chord – Variation 3


This is 3rd variation of playing the A chord. It’s not that common, but you will see some people playing it. It’s kind of the same thing as the Traditional version, although we’re using fingers 2, 3 and 4 instead. This does help the fingers fit into the fret better, and it does give finger 2 (the strongest finger) the role of fretting the difficult note on the D string.

Tricky Points:

Fingers 2, 3, and 4 are not as strong as fingers 1, 2, and 3. Finger 4 can struggle at first.