If you've followed my beginners guitar chord series then so far you've learned three chords - G, C, D. In this post I'm going to introduce you to the A chord.
The A chord is both simple to play and will allow you to play in a new key giving you access to many more songs. It is fingered as shown below.
As usual, start by placing your fingers on the strings very lightly, with no pressure on your fingertips. Your goal should be simply to get your fingertips in the right place. Don't worry about pressing strings or making sounds yet.
Practice placing your fingers, slowly, as many times as you need to get comfortable with the placement.
Once you feel comfortable placing your fingers it's time to move on and make some sounds. Place your fingers and then press down the tips to touch the fingerboard. Strum slowly across the chords and check that each one is sounding. You omit the 6th string in this strum, by the way.
There are two common problems when playing this A chord.
1. The 1st (bottom) string is muffled by your third finger.
2. The E note played on the 4th string by your 1st finger doesn't sound clearly.
The first problem is solved by ensuring that the ends of you fingers are going straight up out of the fretboard. They should be square to it, and not angled.
The second problem is usually due to the 1st finger being too far back from the 2nd fret. Make sure your fingers are as near to this fret as you can get them. You'll need to apply less pressure to make a clear sound.
This post has shown you how to play an A chord. Take your time to practice it slowly. The tips provided should help you to overcome common problems with this chord.
Later we'll be taking a look at how to combine it with other beginner chords to play songs in the key of D. Be sure to sign up for the RSS feed to be notified of future posts.