How to play the A Chord on Guitar - Diagrams and Tabs

The A-Major chord is one of the most basic beginner guitar chords. This is a comprehensive guide to playing the A-Major chord all over the neck.

A-major open chord

A Major Open Guitar Chord Diagram
A-Major Open Guitar Chord Diagram

Tab

0
2
2
2
0
x

To play the A-major open chord on a guitar:

  • Press your index finger on the 2nd fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the B string (2nd string)
  • Strum all the strings except the Low-E string (1st / thickest string)

A-major barre chord (5th fret)

A Major Barre Guitar Chord (5th Fret) Diagram
A-Major Guitar Barre Chord (5th Fret) Diagram

Tab

5
5
6
7
7
5

To play the A-major barre chord on a guitar at the 5th fret:

  • Barre your index finger at the 5th fret across all 6 strings
  • Press your middle finger on the 6th fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your pinky on the 7th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your ring finger on the 7th fret of the A string (5th string)
  • Strum all the strings

A-major barre chord 12th fret

A Major Barre Guitar Chord (12th Fret) Diagram
A-Major Guitar Barre Chord (12th Fret) Diagram

Tab

12
14
14
14
12
x

To play the A-major barre chord on a guitar at the 12th fret:

  • Barre your index finger at the 12th fret the first 5 strings
  • Press your middle finger on the 14th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your ring finger on the 14th fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your pinky on the 14th fret of the B string (2nd string)
  • Strum all the strings except the Low-E string (1st / thickest string)

Alternatively if you find this too difficult, try barring the 14th fret with your pinky or ring finger (hint, I always use my pinky here).

Alternative voicings for A-Major Chord

A-Major Chord in D-Shape (CAGED)

The first alternative voicing of the A-Major chord that we’ll cover in this guide is the “D shape” in the CAGED system. This can be quite difficult to play thanks to the stretch from your index to middle finger but does provide a nice, bright voicing to the chord.

For an easier version of this shape, you can also simply omit the 7th fret of the D-string (play just G,B,E strings) which gives you an A-Major chord with a 2nd Inversion.

A-Major Guitar Chord D CAGED
A-Major Guitar Chord in the D shape of the CAGED system

Tab

9
10
9
7
x
x

To play the A-major guitar chord in the D shape:

  • Press your index finger on the 7th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your middle finger on the 9th fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your pinky on the 10th fret of the B string (2nd string)
  • Press your ring finger on the 9th fret of the high-e string (1st string)
  • Strum the first 4 strings

A-Major Chord in F-shape (CAGED)

This next voicing is a simplified version of the F shape in the CAGED system. It’s fairly easy to play – I usually just use the full-barre shape at the 5th fret and just omit the Low-E and A strings when strumming.

A-Major Guitar Chord F-shape CAGED
A-Major Guitar Chord in the F shape of the CAGED system

Tab

5
5
6
7
x
x

To play the A-major guitar chord in the F shape:

  • Barre your index finger at the 5th fret across all 6 strings
  • Press your middle finger on the 6th fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your pinky on the 7th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your ring finger on the 7th fret of the A string (5th string)
  • Strum the first 4 strings

A-Major Chord with a high root

I find this be a really interesting voicing. The extra root note on the high-e adds a little extra brightness and the high note almost tricks my ears into expecting a 7th or other extended chord, so you can add that flavor without actually changing the function of the chord.
A-Major guitar chord with high root
A-Major guitar chord with high root

Tab

4
2
2
2
0
x

To play the A-major guitar chord with a high root note:

  • Barre your index finger at the 2nd fret across the first 4 strings
  • Press your pinky on the 4th fret of the high-e string (6th string)
  • Strum the first 5 strings

A-Major Chord - alternate

This voicing has a lot of treble, but you can try omitting the high-e if you don’t need so much treble. Personally, I prefer this chord to be played with the high-e as it has a really pleasant, pop-py harmony to it.

Alternative A-Major Guitar Chord Diagram
Alternative A-Major Guitar Chord Diagram

Tab

0
5
6
7
0
x

To play the Alternative A-major guitar chord 

  • Press your ring finger on the 7th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your middle finger on the 6th fret on the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your index finger on the 5th fret of the B string (2nd string)
  • Strum the first 5 strings

A-Major Chord 1st Inversion

When a chord has the 3rd in the bass, this is known as the first inversionIn this case, the lowest note in the chord is the C-Sharp, which is the 3rd note of the A-Major scale.

A-Major 1st Inversion Chord Diagram
A-Major 1st Inversion Chord Diagram

Tab

x
10
9
11
x
x

To play the A-major guitar chord 1st Inversion

  • Press your ring finger on the 11th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your middle finger on the 10th fret on the B string (2nd string)
  • Press your index finger on the 9th fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Strum the D, G and B strings only

A-Major Chord 2nd Inversion

When a chord has the 5th in the bass, this is known as the second inversionIn this case, the lowest note in the chord is the E, which is the 5th note of the A-Major scale.

You can play this voicing using the same shape as the barre chord at the 5th fret, except you don’t play the Low-E string.

A-Major 2nd Inversion Chord Diagram
A-Major 2nd Inversion Chord Diagram

Tab

5
5
6
7
7
x

To play the A-major guitar chord 2nd Inversion

  • Barre your index finger at the 5th fret across all 6 strings
  • Press your middle finger on the 6th fret of the G string (3rd string)
  • Press your pinky on the 7th fret of the D string (4th string)
  • Press your ring finger on the 7th fret of the A string (5th string)
  • Strum the first 5 strings

Which keys does the A-Major Chord belong to?

The A-Major chord belongs to the following keys:

Major keys with an A-Major Chord

  • 1st chord in the key of A major
  • 5th chord in the key of D major
  • 4th chord in the key of E major
Major Keys containing an A-Major Chord
Major Keys containing an A-Major Chord

Minor keys with an A-Major Chord

  • 6th chord in the key of C# minor
  • 7th chord in the key of B minor
  • 3rd chord in the key of F# minor
Minor Keys containing an A-Major Chord
Minor Keys containing an A-Major Chord

How to construct an A-Major Chord from the A-Major Scale

How to construct an A-Major Chord from the A-Major Scale
How to construct an A-Major Chord from the A-Major Scale
  • Scale intervals: 1 – 3 – 5
  • Notes in the chord: A – C# – E
  • Various names: A – Amaj – A Major
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