How to Play A Major – Ukulele Chord Charts

Difficulty: easy | Common: yes | Chord family: major

To play an A major chord on your ukulele, place your index finger on the 1st fret of the C-string and your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G-string. The E- and A-strings are left to ring open.

Part of the major chord family on the ukulele, A major is often simply referred to by its letter name: “A.” You might also see A major written as: Amaj, A MA, A major, or (rarely) .

Fingering variations: There aren’t any common fingering variations for A unless you’re choking up to change it into a moveable shape. For instance, you could switch everything up a finger so that you hold the chord with your two middle fingers and can use your index finger to envision a barre above the nut – similar to Bb major, but down off the neck.

Easy Transition Movements From A Major to Other Chords

Knowing how to optimize your finger movements on the fretboard really makes playing chords on the ukulele easier. Typically, you want to find commonalities between the chord shapes you’re moving between. Don’t lift you fingers unless you have to and slide them where possible.

Here are some common chord movements moving from A major to other shapes.

A major to D major

Depending on how you play D major, you can keep your middle finger on the top string, 2nd fret and just bend it down and inwards to achieve the invert knuckle bend.

A major to E7

To switch from A to E7, start by turning the angle that your first two fingers make by 90 degrees. If you draw a line through the tips of your fingers while holding A, the line points over your right shoulder. Switch the strings that your fingers are on (index finger goes up, middle finger goes down) so that the line angles over your left shoulder.

Then add your ring finger to the 2nd fret.

A major to F#m

When you can create a different chord by adding one finger to a shape you’re already holding, it’s a big win! To change to F#m from A, just add your ring finger on the 2nd fret of the E-string.

Don’t lift up A! Any time you lift up all your fingers you have to start from scratch. Avoid this when you can.

These movements can also be used in the opposite direction, just read the diagrams backwards.

Additional Voicings

While the open position A ukulele chord shape shown above is useful for most situations, if you want to play a more advanced version that highlights a different highest melody note, you can use these alternate voicings:

2nd position a major ukulele chord diagram3rd position a major ukulele chord diagram

There are, of course, many other possibilities using wider finger stretches and open strings, but those two are the most compact and distinct.

Where is A Major Used?

The A ukulele chord is a moderately common sound often used in the keys of A, D, E, and sometimes G. Here are the relationships between A major and the keys it often occurs in:

  • Key of A – I (A major is the root chord)
  • Key of D – IV (A major is the fourth chord in the D scale)
  • Key of E – V (A major is the fifth chord in the E scale)
  • Key of G – II (A major is the second chord in the G scale)

Because these are relatively common keys, you should probably memorize how to play A major.

A Major Chord Theory

The A Major chord is composed of three notes: A, C#, and E. These notes are the first, third, and fifth scale degrees in the A major scale, following the major triad formula of 1-3-5. This combination of notes gives major chords their distinctive, happy sound​.

Useful Resources for Learning How to Hold Chords Better

You can also learn more about chord theory and fretting chords better in these premium ebooks and lessons:

ukulele chord shapes ebook cover
PDF Ebook

A neo-traditional chord reference book. Learn to create 2,268 chords out of 189 moveable shapes and learn the theory behind the magic.

left hand technique for ukulele video course cover thumbnail
▶️ Video Course

Learn to play more confidently and with ease using better fretting styles and navigational approaches.

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