The A Major scale has 3 sharps. C#, F#, and G#. The relative minor for this scale is F# minor. If you look at the circle of fifths, it is the third stop. The intervals for A Major are W, W, H, W, W, W, H. W stands for whole step, H stands for half step.This means starting from the first note, A, you will play A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#.

On this page you will find the charts for the A major scale on guitar as well as some helpful information regarding chord progressions and the chords found in A major.

A Major Scale 1st Position

a major 1st position

Playing notes from the A Major scale in open, or 1st, position requires use of 3 open strings. You will use all four fingers when playing this position. Try playing this starting on the low E string.

A Major Scale 2nd Position

a major 2nd position

This major scale pattern in second position will be instantly recognizable if you have been learning your scales. It is the same pattern as the G major scale in 2nd position. Remember to keep your thumb centered behind your four fingers and not to leave it far behind when making the whole step stretches that start off this position.

A Major Scale 3rd Position

a major 3rd position

The 3rd position for A major spans 8 frets on the guitar. In the chart, I have left out the first root note of A on the 5th fret. You can play it with your first finger, then shift up to place your first finger on the B note at the 7th fret, 6th string. Think of this position as transitional. It will help get you up or down the fretboard to 2nd or upper first position (12th fret and beyond).

Chords of A Major

  • A Major – I
  • B Minor – ii
  • C Sharp Minor – iii
  • D Major – IV
  • E Major – V
  • F Sharp Minor – vi
  • G# Diminished – vii°

Popular Chord Progressions in A Major

  • I – IV – V (A D E)
  • I – vi – IV – V (A F#m D E)

Practice Tips

  • Use a metronome to work up to 140 bpms playing the scale up and down with quarter notes.
  • Move the 2nd position scale shape up and down the neck to play other major scales. Try this with other fingerings as well.
  • For each position, learn to play the scale starting and finishing on notes other than A.