Points to Remember:

• It's called the "A" shape because it contains the shape of an open "A" chord in it.

• At the B (2nd) string, you need to shift your hand up (toward the body of the guitar) one fret, so that now your first finger will play on the 5th fret. When you play the shape backwards (descending), remember to shift your hand back down (toward the headstock), one fret.

• After you learn the basic shape, try to use a metronome or drum track to keep a consistent tempo while you practice it. There are a couple online metronomes in the Links section of this site, and drums tracks can be found in the Backing Tracks section.

• Start slow and concentrate on playing consistently and smoothly (legato, not staccato).

• Try to keep your fingers fairly close to the fingerboard--you’ll get more efficient movement that way.

• When you're ready, move to alternating picking (down-up-down-up). This way it becomes a picking practice, as well.

• Remember to play the shape all up and down the neck: It’s completely movable!