The open A-Major guitar chord is among the first chords you will learn on your instrument. Pretty much all schools of thought, guitar courses and teaching programs feature this particular chord early on in the learning curriculum. I guess it’s save to say that most people find the this chord easy to learn and play – that said, occasionally a student asks me if there are alternative ways to play the open A-Major Chord on guitar, because he/she has issues squeezing three fingers ‘on top of each other’ in the same, namely the 2nd fret.
First, let’s have a look at how you would play the A-Major chord normally by putting the index, middle and ring-finger on the D, G and B-String, all in the 2nd fret:
I think I have rather small hands, which is typically – at least I feel that way – a disadvantage when playing guitar. Simply because I don’t have the same reach as people with long fingers. That said, take a look at the image above and even with my small hands, it’s undoubtedly tight to get those three fingers next to each other within the same fret.
Alright, so in the video below is an alternative way to play the A-Major chord on guitar. This workaround might be especially helpful to folks whose have massive pranks or sausage-y fingers.
So, what we do here is using a workaround. It’s not perfect, but by all means, if you really can’t play the A chord on guitar the regular way, this may be the answer. Instead of using three fingers, we now only use one, the index finger. This finger will ‘cover’ the D, G, B and high e-string. You play all the five strings you play as part of your regular A-Major chord, except for the high e-string, which you will have to mute. The way you do that is by lifting the bottom part of your index finger slightly off the fretboard, while remaining contact with the high e-string – that way you ‘play’ it, but it won’t make a sound (other than the damp muting sound).
Now, to be clear: as I mentioned in the beginning, chances are that you simply just struggle with this chord because it’s new to you. Automatically, you may assume that you just can’t play that chord because it’s “too hard”. The fact is, likely it’s just a matter of practice. I too struggled with the A-Major Chord in the beginning. As a matter of fact, I struggled with all new chords I had to learn. It’s easy to proclaim that a chord is ‘unplayable’ and therefore there is just no way that I can ever learn it. But in the vast majority of instances, it’s just an excuse. It’s a matter of willpower, discipline and commitment.
However, as I have also acknowledged, I know that there are exceptions. Folks who just have huge hands and it’s really difficult for them to get their fingers ‘in order’. For those, the above alternative to play an open A-Major chord on guitar could be a good workaround to get past this roadblock.
I hope the video was clear, but if you have any questions, just let me know.