The A Chord again...
A very useful trick is learning how to hold down more than one string with the same finger! The mini bar that's not going to charge you $20 for a coke!
A Chord with a mini barre
We already learnt to play the A chord in lesson BC-112, but there is another way to play it that many people find easier. This is the way that I play A most of the time, especially when playing rock music on electric guitar.
What we have done is taken away the note on the thinnest string (the open E) and we can play all the notes with your 1st finger. This is called using a barre.
It's important to lift your finger a little so that the thinnest string is muted; lifting your 1st finger enough so that it touches the thinnest string very lightly and will stop it ringing out.
If you barre the thinnest string too, you will be playing The ‘Elvis' chord: an A6!
If you wanted to try and let the thin open E string ring out, it would not sound bad, but it's next to impossible to do and so not worth it! Sometimes it just sounds better not to have the thin string ringing out too. I know it doesn't seem logical, but sometimes it just sounds better without that extra note.
There are a few people who play this with fingers other than their 1st finger, but I really don't recommend it. If it still sounds the same I guess it's OK, but it will make chord changes to and from A a lot harder. Using your 1st finger keeps the others free for adding in other cool stuff later on, like sus chords and blues riffs. Also, using a part barre with your 1st finger and another finger is a bad idea. I strongly advise using just your 1st finger.
Playing this way is going to take some practice, and some people choose to leave out this chord, but I think it's a
good idea to learn this one too. It will help get your fingers strong for the dreaded F chord in Stage 6 (Lesson BC-161).
Make sure that you don't play that thickest string, or the chord will sound muddy. When playing this chord you might find your thumb poking up over the neck. If this is happening it is fine. You could actually let it drop down and mute the thickest string if you like, which is a very useful skill we will be checking out later. But this is not an important thing to be doing at this stage, so don't worry about it.
It's definitely OK to keep working on the original way of playing A, as you will use them both depending on the circumstance. I must admit that it is rare these days that I play the A Chord with three fingers, but it does happen from time to time, and when learning beginner songs it is very useful to have both chord shapes as an option.
OK, we have some cool new chords, now you gotta change between them!
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