Skip to content

A Major Chord on Guitar, Piano and Ukulele – How to Play it

The A major chord is built from a root note (A), a major third (C), and a perfect fifth (E):

  • Type: major triad.
  • Formule: 1 3 5.
  • Music notes: A (1) C# (3) E (5).
  • Chords to play with: IV (D) y V (E).
A chord pentagram staff stave

A chord [Musical explanation]

The A major chord is a major triad with formula 1 – 3 – 5. Therefore, to build it we need A (1), C# (3), E (5):

what notes are in the A chord

This is due to the fact that a major chord is made up of 2 third intervals:

  • A major interval (4 half steps between the 3rd and root).
  • A minor inteval (3 half steps between the 5th and 3rd).

If we apply this principle to the A chord we obtain that:

  • C# is the major third of A because it is 4 half steps above the root.
  • E is the perfect fifth of A because it is 3 half steps above the 3rd.

Thus, this confirms that the A major chord is defined by:

Root (A) – Major Third (C#) – Perfect Fifth (E)

A Guitar Chord

The A chord guitar has the following shape on the fretboard:

how to play A on guitar

Let’s analyze in detail this chord diagram above to make sure that we understand how to play the A on guitar:

A major guitar chord
A guitar diagram

Let’s start by analyzing the 3 circles in blue, which indicate that on the strings 4 (D), 3 (G) and 2 (B) we have to place the fingers 1 (index), 2 (middle) and 3 (ring finger). Note by the way the number 1 in black on the left that indicates on which fret we start playing the chord.

On the other hand, at the top we see that we have the characters:

A  E  A  C#  E

This simply means that in the:

  • Sixth string there is no sound.
  • Fifth string sounds the A note.
  • Fourth string sounds the E note.
  • Third string sounds the A note.
  • Second string sounds the C# note.
  • First string sounds the E note.

And at the bottom we find the numbers:

1  5  1  3  5

This indicates that in the:

  • Sixth string There is no number because there is no sound.
  • Fifth string sounds the root (1).
  • Fourth string sounds the perfect fifth (5).
  • Third string sounds the root (1).
  • Second string sounds the major third (3).
  • First string sounds the perfect fifth (5).

⚠️ Important: it is not mandatory to memorize all this information to play the A chord on guitar. But it is highly recommended to know it in order to understand the musical theory behind each chord.

By the way, I have noticed that lately the A major chord on guitar is played by interchanging fingers 1 and 2, as shown below:

A major chord on guitar

Other ways to play the A guitar chord

In addition to the diagram shown at the beginning of the article, we can also find the A chord in the following fretboard positions:

a major chord guitar

A major triad chords and inversions

Triads

A major guitar triad chord

First Inversion (A /C#)

Am/C# guitar chord first inversion

Second Inversion (A /E)

AE guitar chord second inversion

What chords are in A major?

The A major scale harmonized results on the following chords:

A (I) – Bm (ii) – Cm (iii) – D (IV) – E (V) – F#m (vi) – Gº (viiº)

A major scale harmonized

A Ukulele Chord

Here you can see as well the A uke chord diagram:

A ukulele
A on ukulele

A Piano Chord

To play the A chord on piano we only need to find the same music notes on its keys:

A piano chord
A piano

First Inversion (A/C#)

A/C# piano chord 1st inversion

Second Inversión (A/E)

A/E piano chord 2nd inversion

Music scales in which the A major chord can be found

  • A major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • A Bm D♭m D E G♭m A♭dim
  • E major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • E G♭m A♭m A B D♭m E♭dim
  • D major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • D Em G♭m G A Bm D♭dim
  • F# minor natural scale (harmonized with triads)
    • F#m G#dim A Bm C#m D E
  • C# natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • C#m D#dim E F#m G#m A B
  • B natural minor scale (armonizada por tríadas)
    • Bm D♭dim D Em G♭m G A
  • D harmonic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Dm Edim Faug Gm A B♭ D♭dim
  • C# harmonic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • C#m D#dim Eaug F#m G# A Cdim
  • E melodic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Em G♭m Gaug A B D♭dim E♭dim
  • D melodic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Dm Em Faug G A Bdim D♭dim

A Major Chord PDF

If you liked this lesson and want to download it in PDF click here below: