If you’re new to playing music, then you might not be completely clear on the importance that chords have in helping us to construct songs and melodies. You might associate chords with the things that we strum on the guitar or ukulele, largely as a means of accompaniment.
While we can use chords in this way, chords also form the harmonic foundation for music. The chords that we use determine how our music is going to sound, as well as the notes we can use to construct melodies, and so on. The A Major chord is one that is used very widely throughout popular music, and you may even recognise the way it sounds from having heard it in so many recorded pieces of music.
Our guide to the A Major chord on ukulele goes into how the chord is constructed, as well as some of the different ways you can play the chord on the ukulele. We also discuss some of the best-known songs that use the A Major chord. So, if you’ve been looking to get a better understanding of the A Major ukulele chord, then you’ve come to the right place.
Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First
Before discussing how to play the A chord on ukulele, it would be helpful to establish how chords work in general. Chords are essentially groups of notes that are played together. In their most basic form, chords are made up of triads. Triads are clusters of three notes, and these consist of the building blocks for most types of chords, such as major and minor chords.
The major triad is made up of its root note, major third, and perfect fifth, while minor triads consist of their base note, a minor third, and perfect fifth. So, the A Major chord on the ukulele is made up of the notes A, Db, E, and A again.
How to Play
Now that we know how the A Major chord is constructed, we can focus on learning how to play it. Like all chords, there are plenty of different voicings that you can use to play the A Major chord on the ukulele. In this guide, we’ll be covering some of the most commonly used voicings.
This is the most ‘standard’ voicing for A Major that you’ll encounter for the ukulele. It’s also quite easy to play. Simply fret the G string at the second fret with your second finger and the C string at the first fret with your first finger. Then, play the E and A strings open.
While this shape is quite straightforward, it can be tricky to completely clear your third and fourth fingers of the fretboard while leaving the E and A strings open. This is due to needing to keep your hand curled up while fretting the G and C strings. If you find yourself struggling with this, try to keep your hand as relaxed as possible, as this should make it easier for you to ‘open’ your hand up somewhat and keep your fingers clear of the fretboard.
Chord Shape 2 – Barre
This particular chord shape is a barre chord, and it requires us to move all the way up to the 9th fret. Barre chords can be a bit difficult to play for a number of reasons, usually related to the extra strain they put on the muscles of the hand. Fortunately, this is one of the easier barre chords to play, as you really only need to be fretting with two fingers to play this particular chord.
Simply fret all of the four strings at the 9th fret with your first finger. Then, fret the A string at the 12th fret with your fourth finger. Depending on the size and scale length of your ukulele, this may feel awkward or like something of a stretch. If you are struggling to reach the 12th fret comfortably, keep in mind that this is something your hand will get used to as you practice the ukulele more and more.
Keeping your fretting hand as relaxed as possible will also help you both with holding the barre chord for longer, as well as reaching the 12th fret with your fourth finger. However, make sure to go a little easy on your hand and take a break if you find that your hand does start to cramp up. Give your body adequate time to adjust to playing these more awkward shapes is important if you want to prevent injuries further down the road.
Chord Shape 3 – Alternate A
This is another, advanced way to play the A chord on the ukulele. While not exactly a barre chord, this shape does require essentially barring most of the fretboard. However, you’ll likely want to do so by using your second, third, and fourth fingers. Fret the G, C, and E strings with your second, third, and fourth fingers respectively. Then, fret the A string with your first finger.
More A Chord Variations
Songs that Use this Chord
- Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit: This classic grunge number by the iconic Nirvana is based around only four chords, with A Major being one of them.
- Seal – Kiss from a Rose: Seal’s mysterious ballad of love and seduction uses the A Major chord to tremendous effect, creating tension and release in spades.
- Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon: The titular track from Pink Floyd’s classic album, Dark Side of the Moon uses the A Major chord heavily.