My third finger always touches the 6th string, if I try to push it back to much it interrupts my second finger on the 4th string. I only have learned 3 chord (D , A and E) while I'm able to do D and E almost perfectly(not having any visual or audible problem) the A chord is very hard and very rough. my fingers are average so not too thick that should cause any problem, the guitar itself I'm using is an electric one. Can someone give me some advice that would help me get a grip on the A chord and better finger placement ?

  • 2
    Are you having problems with the thinnest E string that makes the highest sounding note, or the thickest E string that makes the lowest sounding note? The "low E" is the sixth string and it's the thickest string with the lowest note, but it would be unusual to be accidentally touching that with your third finger. It sounds like you might be touching the thinnest E which is the first string and usually called the "high E" because it makes the higher sounding note (even though physically it is closer to the ground). Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 17:45
  • The thinnest, was thinking that was the correct term, a mistake ill try to avoid from now on Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 16:05

3 Answers 3


It sounds to me like you need to arch your fingers a bit so they don't lay against the open strings. Try getting your thumb a bit more to the center of the neck and curve your wrist a bit. See section #1 here:

http://www.tempomusicards.com/articles/top-5-bad-habits-to-avoid-when-learning-guitar/ enter image description here

or the postion shown here:

http://www.jasonwerkema.com/resources/acoustic-guitar/ enter image description here

Sometimes, players will wrap the whole hand around the neck to use the thumb to dampen the low E string when playing open A major. In that case you may have trouble keep you fingers off the high E string with a small hand.

If you are just beginning, this hand position may be difficult and your hand will get tired quickly. Give yourself rest. Don't over-do it, but work on it a little every day. Eventually it will be able to do it.

  • I would say those thumb positions are not necessarily best for everyone and/or for all styles of music. I personally can't put my thumb there with any kind of comfort, but I play with a certain style that also involves fretting with my thumb. I notice the guitar in the top photo is a classical style with a wide, flat neck, which pretty much requires the thumb position shown. Fender electric guitars, on the other hand, have much smaller necks that can work very well with the kind of grip I use. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 20:00

I use two fingers to play an A on an electric guitar, fretting two strings with my index finger.

Also, in some cases you can play A7 as 002020, though this is just avoiding the problem.

In general, there are nice advantages to learning to use one finger to fret more than one string, because it frees other fingers to add different notes to standard chords.


Trying to understand how your fingers are placed! Are you calling the thinnest string 6? We normally call it 1.Your fingers should be nowhere near the 5th string, let alone the 6th! The 5th string (A) is an open string.Some people prefer not to play the bottom string on this chord, as it's not a root chord, but a second inversion. There are many ways to finger an open A.

  • 2nd string pinky, 3rd ring, 4th middle.

  • 2nd string ring, 3rd middle, 4th index.

  • 2nd string ring, 3rd index, 4th middle - try it!

  • 2nd string ring, 3rd and 4th middle.

  • 2nd and 3rd strings middle, 4th index.

  • one finger across all three, lifting to allow top (1) to ring open.

With a little ingenuity, you'll probably figure out another three or four combinations, proving that there is usually going to be one that works for you. You also need to bear in mind that the chords themselves are only part of the story - you need to be able to move between them easily. So, you may well end up with two or three different fingerings for the same chord shape, dependent on where you come from and where you're going.

  • "Are you calling the thinnest string 6? We normally call it 1" we call it names all around the place, some call it "top" others "bottom", so call it "high" meaning position facing the guitar, others "low" meaning pitch, it's a mess
    – Hejazzman
    Commented Jun 6 at 1:35

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