A major chord-impossible


terra25
Registered User
Joined: 01/20/11
Posts: 11
terra25
Registered User
Joined: 01/20/11
Posts: 11
02/01/2011 9:02 pm
Hi,
I'm brand new to guitar tricks. I've begun the fundamentals 1 training and am on the last part where we are learning chords. I need some assistance. The A major chord seems impossible to me. If I can get all my fingers in the 2nd fret, I struggle with one or two of the strings being muted either b/c my top finger is too close to the 1st fret bar or my 3rd finger is too close to the 2nd fret. I notice on Chris's video that he is pretty close to both fret bars but his guitar sounds right. Is it something I am doing wrong? I have arched my fingers up to make sure I am only touching that specifi string, but still, I either get that weird vibrating string sound or it just sounds muted. It's driving me crazy!. Also, could it be my guitar? It's just a $100 acoustic guitar, is this less of a problem with different guitars?

Any advice would be appreciated!

Terra
# 1
haroldjenkins
Registered User
Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 10
haroldjenkins
Registered User
Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 10
02/02/2011 2:07 am
I also had a really tough time cramming three fingers down on the 2nd fret for an A maj chord. The tip of my middle finger is a bit big and fat compared to the others.
I learned it was a lot easier for me to just use the index and middle finger to hold down and fret all three strings. Alternately, you can try the middle and ring fingers. See if that helps.

As for your guitar, an action that's too high can cause problems especially with beginners. If you know someone familiar with guitars they can look at for you and judge if they think there's a problem with the action. You can also measure it yourself if you have a decent ruler that goes down to 64ths or 32nds. But try some alternate fingerings for the A chord to see how it goes.
# 2
Slipin Lizard
Registered User
Joined: 11/15/07
Posts: 711
Slipin Lizard
Registered User
Joined: 11/15/07
Posts: 711
02/02/2011 2:33 am
Ok, first get that word impossible out of your head... its possible... and trust me on this one, in the not too far future it will be EASY. You will hit the chord perfect with all three fingers flawlessly without even thinking about it. You will.

There can be a few things working against you because you're new, I'm just not sure how new to the guitar you are. If your callouses are not well developed, it can be hard because it feels like you're pushing harder than you really are.. oww! If this seems like a problem, the solution is to not fret (ha ha!), I mean worry because in time your callouses will be very strong, allowing you to push down properly on the string.

Ok, if that's not the problem, here goes... fret your fourth string (D) at the second fret with your index finger. Now pick just that string, and make sure it rings out properly. Now move your finger back, towards the 1st fret, but still keep pressure on the string, and still keep picking the string. See how far you can move away from the 2nd fret towards the first, but still make the note, in this case E, sound properly. Keep in mind that the way the guitar works, as long as you create enough pressure on the string behind the fret so that the string is firmly down, it will sound properly. You don't have to have your finger right behind the fret to get the note to sound right.

With a little experimentation, you should be able to gauge how much room you have for the other fingers. Add them one at a time, always making sure that the notes sound properly. It will get better with time, and probably faster than you think.

Also, there's nothing wrong with allowing your thumb to come out from behind the fretboard and instead wrap around a bit if that's more comfortable.

Good Luck!
# 3
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
02/02/2011 2:48 am
Which strings are the ones getting muted or buzz? You could also try doing it another way. Just barring all 3 frets with 1 finger. Or use your first finger to fret the top 2 notes and your second finger for the bottom one. You shouldn't have a problem with being too close to the 2nd fret. Just as long as you aren't on top of it, it should be clear. Also make sure you are pressing down enough.

Best way to see where the problem is is to play the chord "1 finger at a time". place your first finger, see if all strings sound, then second and see if all strings sound, then 3rd. Wherever you are no longer able to hear the strings clearly take a step back and see what may be causing the problem. It is is obviously right before that last finger you are supposed to lay down.
# 4
terra25
Registered User
Joined: 01/20/11
Posts: 11
terra25
Registered User
Joined: 01/20/11
Posts: 11
02/02/2011 9:58 pm
Thanks everyone. I think I tried using one finger on two strings, but the same muted thing happened and it's probably b/c I am not pushing down hard enough. I have long skinny fingers which is why this was making me so frustrated, I don't feel like I have overly large fingers, but it was still buzzing/muting. I tried it again last night and it wasn't as hard but I still didn't always get all three strings to sound and I had been trying to push harder on that string but like you said, it feels like I am pushing so hard already. My callouses are developing. I can no longer feel light touches on the very tip of my index finger, so I guess that's a good sign. The M and R finger are catching up but I'm sure that's part of it. Actually right now, it's a bit painful to type :) I've been with guitar tricks for a couple weeks now. I play everyday at least for a few minutes and I'm really enjoying myself, I just get hung up on that A maj chord. I'm sure like with everything, the more I practice, the easier it will get. Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it!
# 5
haroldjenkins
Registered User
Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 10
haroldjenkins
Registered User
Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 10
02/03/2011 2:09 am
Looks like you're on your way with that particular chord. Just keep plugging away at it and like the other guys said it'll get easier.

Yeah, if you have skinny fingers the two-finger thing I described may not work out too well.

I haven't talked to anyone yet who didn't run into a temporary brick wall with some particular chord(s). There will be other walls here and there that you'll jump if you keep going.
# 6
Franci5
Registered User
Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 25
Franci5
Registered User
Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 25
02/03/2011 5:08 am
I just bar the D,G,B string with my index finger.

# 7
Slipin Lizard
Registered User
Joined: 11/15/07
Posts: 711
Slipin Lizard
Registered User
Joined: 11/15/07
Posts: 711
02/03/2011 6:01 am
Francis, are you able to play the open high E string when you bar like that?
# 8
Franci5
Registered User
Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 25
Franci5
Registered User
Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 25
02/03/2011 1:56 pm
Yup. just practice the chord and you'll get it....
# 9
Slipin Lizard
Registered User
Joined: 11/15/07
Posts: 711
Slipin Lizard
Registered User
Joined: 11/15/07
Posts: 711
02/04/2011 5:21 am
Originally Posted by: Franci5Yup. just practice the chord and you'll get it....


I tried, and couldn't do it, but that was trying for maybe 10 seconds... the reason I didn't pursue it was because I don't have an issue using the 3 fingers method, but the single finger bar method seems like a really good solution for anyone having a lot of trouble with the 3 finger method as long as you can get that open high E string to play cleanly. I think Christopher alludes to both methods in GF1, calling the 3 finger method "classical", which would apply to me... one of the first chords I learned as a kid on a classical guitar. Thats a good pic by the way!
# 10
Franci5
Registered User
Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 25
Franci5
Registered User
Joined: 09/04/10
Posts: 25
02/04/2011 2:00 pm
I tried the three finger A chord but couldn't get it. Then while watching some music videos, i saw someone do the A chord bared. So I copied it and ever since then I got used to it. I still teach my nieces the three finger way first, then if they can't do it Ill show them the bared way.

The pic BTW was from my iPhone. I took it as soon as I saw this post. I hope this helps the OP though....
# 11
singeri
Full Access
Joined: 11/29/10
Posts: 37
singeri
Full Access
Joined: 11/29/10
Posts: 37
02/14/2011 1:33 pm
Hi All -

I'm also a newbie (been at it since Thanksgiving). I was having a lot of trouble with the classic 3-finger approach to the A major chord. I bought my electric guitar second hand and thought something might need adjusting. Then I had my guitar "set up" be someone whose been in the business a long time and new what they were doing. Also had my strings replaced at the same time. The result was playing the A major is now a breeze for me with 3 fingers on the 2nd fret.

Like someone said previously in this thread, if your action is too high, then the required pressure to properly fret the D,G, & B strings may also cause you to come in contact with the surrounding strings.

The setup on my electric cost about $60 at the local shop, but it was totally worth it. Plays like a dream now :)

HTH,
Irv
# 12
Carmine M
Registered User
Joined: 02/27/09
Posts: 504
Carmine M
Registered User
Joined: 02/27/09
Posts: 504
02/14/2011 3:05 pm
Originally Posted by: singeriHi All -

I'm also a newbie (been at it since Thanksgiving).


welcome to th site, Singeri.

Carmine

Regards,

cm

# 13
singeri
Full Access
Joined: 11/29/10
Posts: 37
singeri
Full Access
Joined: 11/29/10
Posts: 37
02/14/2011 5:51 pm
Originally Posted by: carminemarottawelcome to th site, Singeri.

Carmine


Thanks Carmine -

Seems to be a lot of good folk hangn' out here :)

Irv
# 14
Guitarteacheruk
Registered User
Joined: 11/07/10
Posts: 17
Guitarteacheruk
Registered User
Joined: 11/07/10
Posts: 17
02/14/2011 9:50 pm
I remember those days like it was yesterday.

The A major chord can be tricky to start with but not impossible.

You need to cram your fingers together as much as possible so that they can all fit on the 2nd fret.

Here is how I teach people to play the chord (in the beginning), with finger two on the 2nd fret of the D string, finger one on the 2nd fret of the G string and finally finger three on the 2nd fret of the B string.

If you have strong fingers, (I have hands like a bunch of bananas!) then try barring the A, which is achieved by playing with the pad of the 1st finger across the D,G, B string, Don't play the two E strings.

This is also great for later on as it free's the other fingers up, allowing you to be creative, I love to play the blues and I use this to my advantage.

Can you play a A minor? this is easier as not all three fingers are needed on the same fret.


I wish you luck, if you keep on plugging away and asking when you get stuck you will get it!

As for practice view it the same as taking a multi vit, take a little each day rather than 7 once a week.


All the best.

Rob
www.eventstudiosnottingham.co.uk - One to one and Skype lessons
# 15
innocci
Registered User
Joined: 12/12/12
Posts: 114
innocci
Registered User
Joined: 12/12/12
Posts: 114
06/07/2023 9:31 pm

for three finger approach, finger it the same way you finger your D major chord, or a D7 chord,except your fingers are crammed together. whether you use three, one as a bar or two (one as a bar and one as a single note placement, which is referred to as a partial bar chord). I switch between the three options depending on what I am playing. Don't worry, things that are difficult now will become easier, and new challenges will present themselves. As far as the guitar, like others have said, the action on the strings can be an issue. Also remember you're using your fingers, hand, and wrist in a way that you haven't before so it will take a while for those muscles to develop. If you bought the guitar new for one hundred dollars, the guitar could possibly be part of the issue. Terra most of us had these challenges in the early stages of our playing, at one time Eddie Van Halen was a beginner. 


edited
# 16
mikhael.kohen
Full Access
Joined: 12/18/23
Posts: 3
mikhael.kohen
Full Access
Joined: 12/18/23
Posts: 3
12/24/2023 8:07 am

Thank you Terra for asking that question. I just signed up a few days ago and as a newbie have been also having problems with the D and A chords. My fingers are on the thicker side and I cant seem to find the sweet spot where Im not muting the strings below my fingers. Maybe Im not getting enough curve in my hand but then I think I over correct and my thumb is lost somewhere behind the neck and I feel my fingers hand and arm adjusting to a very uncomfortable position and feeling...and it still isnt the sweet spot. Think I will try the 2 finger method discussed...


 


Thank you everyone


 


# 17

Please register with a free account to post on the forum.