C to A chord ( Need advise )

I have no problems going from A to C chord ( I use the 2nd finger as an anchor and just spread fingers 1 and 3 into place ) . However I need some advise on how to efficiently transition from C to A chord. Even though the 2nd finger is in the same position on both chords it’s not possible to use it as an anchor going from C to A ( because with Justin’s A Chord ( 2,1,3) the 1st and third fingers need to go behind the 2nd finger ). So when going from C to A I have to raise all of the fingers then place fingers 1 and 3 into position and then lower finger 2. It seems very inefficient . Is there a better more efficient way to go from C to A ?

I never got the hang of Justin’s A fingering.

Try 1,2,3 d, g, b.

1st finger moves up 1 string the others fall ij place beneath

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I slowly tried a few C to A transitions (2,1,3 - Justin’s A Chord) to analyze what I was doing unconsciously to answer your post.

It does work for me without raising the 2nd finger. I put the 1st finger behind and 3rd finger next to the 2nd. I’d advise doing a one minute exercise where you focus on making the transition without moving the 2nd finger and putting 1st and 3rd fingers accordingly. You’ll eventually find the position that works for you.

But, sometimes, when I play fast, my reflex is to do just like you and move the 3 fingers a little bit to reposition. But the movement will become so small and fast with time that you may not even notice. So, don’t worry too much if it’s not perfect yet. :slight_smile:

You can also try the other fingering Rob mentioned.

There is not a secret, alternate technique or hand trick.

You just haven’t practiced it enough.

Practice it at least once a day, or two, three or more practice sessions a day. Use the change in songs. A lot.

You’ll eventually be able to do it.

Then later you can even hammer-on chords.


There are some chords changes where you can use anchor fingers, however most the time when changing chords you will need to raise all fingers and place them back down again. Keep practising and you will get C to A down pat.

C changes are the first ones you come across with a lot of finger movement so it’s inevitable they’ll take a little more time to bed in. I’m afraid JK and the MooseGoose ( :slight_smile: ) are right on this imo, get the practice time in and all good :+1:

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I’ll probably be ridiculed for saying this.
I play A with one finger, muting the high E string. Generally index finger, but sometimes driving finger too.
I play A sometime with two fingers. driving finger and ring finger. I cover the E,A,C# notes this way (3 strings, 2 fingers). I generally use two finger way when I want the high E string to ring clear.
My most used way to play A is the 1 finger mini bar w/muted high E though.

Over the years, this is how I’ve adapted to playing A chord…

What’s a “driving finger?” Thumb, index, middle, ring, and little are the fingers I have.

The middle one. Happy cat isn’t so happy when he’s driving.


Yeah that can be done but it’s a long way advanced from where the op is at

Hi, Gene, and welcome to the community.

I’m not much further along than you are, having started in October, so I can relate to what you’re describing. And I can confirm that what others have said is true - with continued practice, you’ll get the hang of it. The “air changes” thing is really where it will come together; eventually, you’ll just flip your fingers to where they need to be. But it takes time and repetition to get there.

After a lot of experimentation, I eventually abandoned Justin’s fingering for the A chord, too. I use 2-3-4. I always felt like anything else required too-precise placement of the thicker fingers, so having the little one involved gave me some space. With time, I’ve adapted to that grip pretty well.

Please check in again and let us know how it’s going.


Hello @GeneK and welcome to JustinGuitar and the community.
Congratulations on the progress you seem to be making.

I am NOT going to give you any technique advice on transitioning between C major and A major chords.

Not because there are technical aspects you can focus on and help to improve that change.

Simply because spending a lot of time going between C and A at this stage is time you should be spending on other, more essential, more commonly used skills.

There are very, very few songs that have both C major and A major chords in them and fewer still that have C and A directly following one another.

It is a very rare chord change.

Other chord changes involving those two chords are far more important to spend time working on.

A major along with D, E, G.

C major along with Am, Dm, Em, F (or Fmaj7), G.