The right way to play A chord

Hello All,

Ive seen that Justin Guitar Grade 1 teaches a nonstandard way to play the A chord that is set up to be easier for chord changes.

Im a little concerned that it will be hard to learn the standard way later. I learn slowly, and I worry about learning a different method later.

Any thoughts here about my concern?

I learned the way Justin recommended and it helped me heaps in the early days. Now I play it in a different non standard way (like a mini barre chord).

I started playing G one way. I now have 4 different ways I finger the G chord depending on the song.

Don’t be overly concerned. :slight_smile:

If playing the way Justin recommends helps you, go for it. If it doesn’t, change. Use what works for you and don’t worry about what doesn’t.


tbh I didnt get the hang of justins way went back to the traditional way


You may never want to change to the “standard” A chord grip. I vastly prefer the Justin way, as it makes it so easy to “sus” it, or go to A7.


I had the exact same experience. Justin’s non-standard helped me greatly in the beginning, especially with A E D changes. Now that I’m 6 months into the program and have completed grade 3 I find myself using all three styles of A chord that Tony mentioned depending on the song. One difficulty I had with the non-standard was my first finger got sore pretty fast


The A chord grip taught by Justin was the one that I learned from a guitar chord book back in the early 90s on my first learning attempt.

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Tried both early on, preferred the one taught by Justin, and have yet to find a reason to use the other.

But even if you do want to switch for some reason, learning the other will be no different than learning any other new chord… something you will be doing very, very frequently anyway. I don’t know about everyone else, but I found the more my fingers got used to forming chords, and the more chords I learnt, the easier it got to learn new ones.


I can understand your concerns, Husain. I already thought the same. Normally, I use the A chord as taught by Justin. And this is all fine. But there is one single song that I learnt before finding Justins Website, and this particular song I can only play with the standard version. If I want to play Justins A chord, I really struggle a lot. It’s really crazy :sweat_smile:.

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Wow and wow again. 6months to do grades 1, 2 and 3!! That’s well fast for all those lessons. Is this from not being able to play the guitar or have you had previous experience?

Is your middle name Jimi? :slight_smile:

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I agree with others that say use it if it helps you play certain songs more effectively. But if it doesn’t then why not stick with the standard? Either way is ok as long as it doesn’t affect your rhythm or flow. :smiley::+1:

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I get triggered when I see terms like the “right” way or the “standard” fingering. One thing I’ve learned is that there is no one right way to play guitar…different approaches work for different people and styles of music

I think that Justin’s approach - giving people different options to try - is one reason why his lessons work so well.

My experience as well. Depends on the song, but you have to play for a while to learn that.

Yeah, that can be a problem…especially if the nut is high on the G string. Both my girlfriend and I had problems getting that string to ring when we started. Fixed by professional setup in my case, and Silk and Steel strings in her case.

The really big advantage of Justin’s approach is the early use of the guide finger for D A E songs…this meant I was able to switch chords smoothly for the first time ever.


Hi Stuart, no my middle name is not Jim :smile:, I should clarify. I’m 60 and recently retired. I took guitar lessons as a teen but haven’t picked up a guitar again until now. I have skipped the finger style lessons as I wanted to get my chord changes and strumming patterns down first so I can play songs. I then honed my song playing/chord changes by reviewing some lessons and concentrating on 5 songs in grade 1 then grade 2 and now grade 3.
I’m hoping in a couple of weeks I’ll revisit finger style and move on to Barr chords. The biggest help was switching to an electric guitar to reduce finger pain which allowed me to practice longer each day and I go back to the acoustic 2 days a week. I practice twice a day 20 to 30 minutes each session and am really surprised at my progress. I didn’t think I’d be able to do this after the first 2 weeks but watching the Nitsuj lessons pretty much mirrored my progress.
Justin’s lessons are great. I’m so happy I found this site. I recently purchased a year of the app(thanks for the summer discount Justin) and am happy with the song selection. Good luck on your journey! If I can do it anyone can.


@tony @RobDickinson @markr31 @fred3027 @Socio @NicoleKKB @suzieq @Tbushell, I really appreciate you sharing your wide diversity of experience with me. What I am taking away is continue with Justin’s way and change down the line if I feel necessary.

@Goffik thanks for mentioning that learning a new way to play a chord is no different than learning a new chord.

All of your answers are so valuable.


There is some method to the madness @hofwonder. Justin uses this fingering to link up with future modules which make use of an ‘anchor finger’ to move between chords.

I’m well down the road and still use Justin’s (if I’m not using the bar method) - which will also pop up later.

Like others have said, there’s no right or wrong way…