Practice Tip #18
Playing A-major with big fingers or a small fretboard
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Ever have trouble getting your fingers crammed together to play the A-major chord? You’re not alone! Here’s a simple technique you can use - where a simple tweak of your finger position can create a lot more breathing room for all of your fingers. Not only does this make the chord easier to switch to, but it actually makes certain common transitions (do D-major and E-major) easier than they were before.
The “normal” way to play A-major
Usually, A-major is taught (and played) like this. Three fingers in a row, all on the 2nd fret. This may well be good enough for you – especially if your fingers aren’t huge, or if you’re playing on a large enough guitar.
However, a challenge with this finger positioning is things can get crammed when your fingers are in a straight line like this. For me, I have very little wiggle room - it’s quite frankly not comfortable. Luckily, there is another way…
The “triangle” way to play A-major
Here, we’re playing the same notes - but we’re using our left-hand fingers in a different way. Notice how the index finger is in the middle of the 3 notes, instead of on the far side. This creates a triangle shape, which actually allows for much more wiggle room around each finger. The result is a chord that’s quicker to switch to and more comfortable to play.
Easy transitions between A, D, and E
A straight-up benefit for playing A-major in this manner, is your index finger will be on the same string that it’s used on the D-major and E-major chord - both of which are very frequently played along with the A-major chord. See my video for reference - switching between these three chords is a breeze when your index finger doesn’t have to ever change strings.
E –––0––––2––––0–––– B –––2––––3––––0–––– G –––2––––2––––1–––– <== left index finger is used on this D –––2––––0––––2–––– string for all 3 chords (good!) A –––0–––––––––2–––– E –––––––––––––0–––– A D E
You can still play Asus2 and Asus4
Finally, a nice benefit of this chord voicing is that you can still play the common Asus2 and Asus4 chords just as you did before. Meaning, you’re using your left-hand pinky for the Asus4’s 3rd fret note - which feels 100% natural.
E –––0––––––0––––––0––––– B –––2––––––3––––––0––––– G –––2––––––2––––––2––––– D –––2––––––2––––––2––––– A –––0––––––0––––––0––––– E ––––––––––––––––––––––– A Asus4 Asus2
I hope this was helpful for you. As always, it’s best to see my video lesson for reference. Please let me know what questions you have, and until next time - best of luck!
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