Fat fingers and the dreaded a major chord

No offence to anyone that may have my issue, large corrupted fingers. I am nearly 12 months into Justin’s beginner course subscription, and whilst I have most of the major chords in, there are some that elude me due to the above. My main is the A…I would love anyone that has a suggestion on how they might overcome this issue. I am playing the A chord the way Justing teaches, whilst its getting better, I still miss the strings at times. Is it perseverance or better technique?

Thanks folks.

Try playing the A chord with 2 fingers. You can cover 2 string with 1 finger. I’ve always played it that way or I use the mini barre with the index finger to cover all 3 when playing Rock and I don’t have very big fingers.


Thank you Stitch :wink: I will give that a go.

Yeah, I play the A chord with two fingers. It’s the way I learned it years ago. The bloke who showed me played it with first and second but I use second and third. I don’t have big fingers either.
You’ll come across the one finger barrre version in Grade2.

The A chord is still my worst open chord (although I am decent at it!)

@stitch What is this 2 finger variant?

I don’t have big fingers at all and can almost manage the A with only two fingers, so for fat fingers it makes a lot of sense.

But, try looking ahead to the single finger bar style for the open A cord, it is a really good way to play in general if your finger can do it.

I struggled with it at first due to a pretty inflexible ring finger joint, but have been doing more A shape barre cords for B cords and E cords up the neck, using the two finger method, so maybe I am ready to try again.

@jkahn I do it two ways depending on the chord progression.
Use the tip index finger to cover the D and G and the second finger to cover the B string or the second finger to cover the D and G and the ring finger to covet the B. If you need to play the A7 just seperate the fingers to let the G string ring out.

I have always played it this way, back in the 70’s when I started playing there wasn’t thousands of internet experts telling you that you’re doing it wrong.

Shamus @Shamus73
I found that that Justin’s anchor finger 213 worked well when learning the chord but when I started to use it in songs I could not change quickly and accurately enough so I changed to 123 and that worked for me. Also now started to use the mini bar version which Justin covers in Grade 2.

i have some sausages for fingers as well (hopefully shrinking a bit as I drop weight) and I had been doing the 1-2 mini barre for years but I’m trying to stick with the lessons with the 2-1-3 version for now. it’s a bit tight but my chord transitions are slowing cleaning up a bit. go figure the in the 213 version it’s almost always the 1 that gets funky on me most often.

I don’t think anybody’s mentioned the grip using fingers 2, 3 and 4, all in a line. I don’t use it, but I have seen some players employing it. It does seem to save space over using fingers 1, 2 and 3. It doesn’t have any anchor finger when changing to D or E, so it’s not optimal.

I couldn’t for the life of me barre that with one finger (middle or fourth finger) and have the high E ring, but I can do it relatively easily now after having learned to do the barred C and D chords with the A shape two years later.

Doing it how it is recommended is to help you discover the anchor finger concept and to be able to get up to speed without having to do a significant repositioning of your hand. I learned it dutifully and did not like how hard it was on the tip of the index when one tries to push down from that rather unique angle. However going from D to A with it makes sense from the point of view of minimizing movement.

2+ years into this I now use the A chord that I originally disliked the most (fingers 3,4,5) on account of the tight fit. I never thought I would be able to move quickly with that. I have it my mind that it is exactly like playing an Em one string down except that I need to allow room for that pinky in there. In time you do find that the pinky will travel effortlessly with the fourth.

Don’t be surprised if you settle on one thing that works and find you can magically do what you could not before after you have mastered other things. That’s how it happened with me. There’s no pre programmed way to get to the awareness you need. You just to find a working solution and go with it. Whatever works is fine. Always keep going back to it. GAD progressions are super common and you can’t really avoid them.

On a positive note, when you eventually get to the E shaped barre chords you’ ll find a handy A chord there.


I have relatively fat fingers, and Justin’s fingering is the least troublesome for me. That being said, it took about 2 years of practicing before the 3-finger A felt relatively good. Now that I’m throwing in the pinky to do the Asus4 alot more often, I am struggling to keep the 3rd finger in place when I place the pinky on and off the fretboard. I’ve been following Justin for 3 years now, 30-40 minutes a day, 5-7 days a week.

The mini-barre A is a great option if your ear doesn’t mind the muted high-e. To me, it’s great for rock and blues, but I still want the option of the high-e for fingerstyle acoustic and strummed chords.

Hi! :grin: Join the “Stubby, Fat Finger Club!”

Charter member :point_down: :point_down: :point_down:

Five ways to make a A Chord. I’m sure there are more such as the 2-finger approach (I just tried it - yeah, it works too).

Obviously, some methods to make the chord limits the other versions of the chord where you need additional fingers to hit more notes. But my own philosophy is - play with it. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. In time you’ll figure it out for sure.

Me too. I still suck, but I’m having fun and learning. Play, as in “have fun” and “experiment.”