Beginner rock guitar lessons for n00bs and rusty rockers
A major is one of the easy guitar chords to learn how to play. There are a couple different ways to finger the chord in the open position.
The easiest is just to "barre" the fourth (D), third (G) and second (B) strings at the second fret with your index (first) finger. This gives you a combination of the notes E, A and C# (C "sharp").
Since you’re probably playing loud and distorted, this is a great power chord. Crank it!
If the strings sound muffled at all, you just need to press a bit harder down to the fingerboard. As your fingers get stronger, the chords will sound clearer. Don't get bummed if you don't hit it right at the beginning – just a little practice and you’ll nail it!
Another way to play an open A chord is to start with your first finger on the G string/second fret, your second (middle) finger on the D string/second fret and your third finger (ring) on the B string/second fret.
This sounds harder than it is and you’ll see that it feels pretty natural. It’s helpful to play the A chord with this fingering when you are doing songs that have finger picking in them. This way you're not muffling the high e string (first).
OK, let’s move up the neck for the next A major position. This is your intro to your first barre chord! You’re going to use all four fingers on the neck. If you’re learning on an acoustic guitar, this will take a little more practice to strengthen your fingers than on an electric guitar.
It’s all good though – it’ll make it easier for you in the long run. Strong fingers are a must. Even though this is a barred chord, you’re still going to find it’s one of the easy guitar chords.
Back to A major. Place your index finger across all six strings at the fifth fret. Next, put your middle finger on the G string (third) at the sixth fret. Now you’re going to press your ring finger on the fifth string (A)and your pinky on the fourth string (D), both at the seventh fret.
Voila! A major! Pat yourself on the back – you just did a barre chord!
Alright, one more chord for A major.
This time we’re going to do another barre chord but at the seventh fret, so press your index finger across all six strings there. Press your ring finger on the third string (G) at the ninth fret, and your pinky on the second string (B) at the tenth fret.
You can hear this chord at the intro of "She’s a Beauty", by The Tubes.
You’re going to find minor chords in all sorts of rock songs, so let’s finish up the A series of easy guitar chords with a couple Am (A minor) chords.
First off in the open position at the end of the neck, lets press your index finger on the B string (second) at the first fret. Add your middle finger on the D string (fourth) and your ring finger on the G string (third), both at the second fret.
Congrats! A minor! Give it a strum...
For the barred version of Am, this is even easier than A. Start off with the A chord at the fifth fret up the neck, and pull your middle finger off the string. There you have it – A minor.
Just a recap, you’re barring all six strings with your index finger, and pressing the fifth and fourth strings (A and D) with your ring and pinky fingers.
You’ve run through the A chords, easy guitar chords to get started with. You are on your way! Now that you have some the basic fingering positions down, the rest of the chords are going to come a lot easier for you.
Let's move on to the next set of easy guitar chords, the B chords...