Chords are the foundation of guitar music. You would be hard pressed to find a single song on the radio that does not make use of them.
While some bands simply use chords that are not chords at all (such as the power chord, which in fact is not a chord because it contains only root and a fifth, then an octave of the root, which is a harmony as it is without a third), must use at least one real chord per song, whether that be an open chord or a barred chord.
In this article, we are going to talk about one of the most commonly used chords in music, the A chord, and its different usages.
Before we get into the chord itself, it is important that you take a moment to reflect on your skills. If you have trouble with the notes of the neck on the guitar, then it is best that you take the time to familiarize yourself with them.
Likewise, if you aren’t very well-versed in the usage and construction of guitar triads, it is best that you take the time to better understand them so that you understand the chord and its properties. This is because, in all reality, every single chord in music is built off of a triad, and thus if you don’t understand what makes a triad (a root, a third, and a fifth) and why each and every chord needs the triad as a foundation, you won’t really know what is going on when we start looking at the chord as a shape and not a bunch of notes.
Well, there are two different A Major chords that are commonly used; the A Major and the A Major7. The first is a triad based chord, with only a root, a third, and a fifth.
The second is a seventh based chord with a root, a third, a fifth, and a seventh. The first chord is played by using the open A, fretting the D, G, and B strings on the second fret, achieving the notes E, A, and C#, and playing the high E as an open note.
The second chord is played by doing the same exact shape, playing the A as on open string and fretting the second fret of the D, G, and B strings while playing the high E on the third fret to achieve the note G. This takes us from a root of A, the third of C#, and the fifth of E, to the root of A, the third of C#, the fifth of E, and seventh of G.
These chords can be used in a number of ways, for both choruses and riffs. The best way to discover how they work is to experiment with adding them to your pieces. If you had just started to play the guitar, learning guitar chords is one of your main priorities. In the beginning, your fingers will get very sore as they build up finger strength and muscle. It’s OK! Take your time to learn and let your fingers get accustomed to fretting the guitar.
Eve Goldberg will walk you through this video lesson and show you the proper fingerings, hand and elbow positions for playing the A chord.
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