[Acoustic Guitar Chords] > How to Play the A5 Chord on the Guitar (Finger Positioning, Variations, Exercises)
The A5 chord is one of the most widely-used and versatile chords. It’s found in a huge variety of songs spanning countless genres and for good reason – it’s got a huge sound, is easy to play, and segues beautifully into any number of chord progressions.
Below I’m going to show you exactly how to play it, a number of popular variations, and some exercises to help you master it.
Ready? Let’s go!
What Is the A5 Chord?
The A5 chord is one of the most versatile power chords out there and consists of the notes A and E.
Power chords not only sound awesome, but they’re easier to play than standard chords. They’re typically played on electric guitars with added distortion and effects, but in their simplest form on acoustic guitar they work very nicely.
Sonically, they’re full, rich and punchy, which is why you’ll find them used widely in rock, punk, metal and other heavier genres of music.
You might be most familiar with power chords from some of the greatest guitar riffs of all time – think Sex Pistols or The Ramones.
How to Play the A5 Chord on the Guitar
Like most guitar chords, there are a variety of ways to play the A5 chord. This is great for beginners as it allows you to find a variation that you’re comfortable playing.
I’ve included four variations below that range from easy to difficult so you can find one that works for you.
A5 Chord – Variation 1
This first variation is the simplest one on the list. And guess what, you only need one finger.
How to Play the A5 Standard Variation
- Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the D string
- The A string remains open
- Strum strings A and D
And that’s it!
A5 Chord – Variation 2
Now let’s move up a step. This next variation is one of the most common ones.
Place your fingers in the following position:
- Index finger on the 2nd fret of the D string
- Middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G string
Strum the strings A, D and G.
A5 Chord – Variation 3
This next variation uses the classic power chord shape. To form it, place your fingers in the following way:
- Index finger on the fifth fret of the E string
- Ring finger on the seventh fret of the A string
- Pinky finger on the seventh fret of the D string
Strum the fretted strings and you’re good to go!
The great thing about this shape is that you can move it literally anywhere on the neck and all different types of power chords, so it’s really good to know!
A5 Chord – Variation 4
This last variation requires a bit more dexterity from your fingers.
Place your fingers in the following position:
- Index finger on the 7th fret of the D string
- Ring finger on the 9th fret of the G string
- Pinky finger on the 10th fret of the B string
Strum the strings D, G, and B.
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A5 Chord Guitar Finger Positioning
Let’s talk about finger positioning for a second. The beauty of power chords is that they use the same shape for almost all the different chords out there. This means once you have the shape and the finger positioning down, you can very quickly and easily shift the power chord shape up and down the neck.
Let’s look at how to really nail it.
One of the common mistakes with power chords is accidentally muting the wrong string.
There’s a lot of stretching going on in some of the above variations so this is only normal.
The best way to avoid this is to ensure you have an arch in your fingers. So instead of pressing down on the strings with flat fingers, work on maintaining an approximate 90-degree angle.
Remember to also keep a firm thumb. While the rest of your fingers are busy, your thumb shouldn’t be completely idle. Gently press it into the back of the guitar neck for added stability, facing upwards.
Another thing to take note of when forming power chords is palm muting. If you’re unfamiliar with the technique, it’s where you mute a number of strings with your strumming or picking hand to give the notes a muted tone or muffle them completely.
Palm muting is frequently used when playing power chords as it allows you to isolate the notes you’re playing for a crisp and vibrant sound.
A5 Chord Exercises
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to practice. Try these exercises and keep practicing until you’ve really mastered the A5 chord.
This exercise will help develop your ear and swiftly get your hands into the correct position. Here’s how it goes:
- Form an A chord and strum down a few times.
- Form an A minor chord and strum down a few times.
- Form an A5 chord and strum down a few times.
When you’re playing the different chords, try to isolate the differences in sound and notes as you play them. Also, pay close attention to your finger positioning the entire time and watch how quickly you become able to switch between them.
This second exercise is to help you quickly develop the muscle memory that’s so important for guitar players. Here’s how to do it:
- Place your hand near the strings of your guitar.
- Countdown from five.
- During those five seconds, form an A5 chord.
- Once you count to zero, strum the chord.
Next Steps After the A5 Power Chord
Now that you’ve nailed the A5 chord, I’m sure you’re eager to increase your arsenal of guitar chords.
If that’s the case then I recommend working your way through my chord guides – such as the C chord or the F chord – and trying to learn as many chords as you can.
Or, if you’re looking to add more power chords to your stable, try the C5 guitar chord.
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