Ab Major, which you might also come across as its enharmonic equivalent G# Major, isn’t the most common or popular chord in the guitar world, but it’s essential all the same. You’ll find this chord scattered across a few jazz tunes, peppered into a rock song or two, and front & center in many a Steely Dan track.
Today, we’ll be tackling the myriad ways in which you can play this chord on your guitar, including a few uncommon variants of the guitar that will help you impress like a true guitar wizard.
If you want to stay near the 1st fret and play this chord, you’ll need to employ some deft fingerwork and skillful muting, in a few cases. If you’re up for the challenge, though, try these variations on for size:
Admittedly, these variations near the 1st fret are tricky, so if you’ve got enough strength in your index finger to pull of a proper barre, you might want to give this 4th fret iteration of the Ab Major chord a shot:
This is often an easier way to play Ab Major, but it won’t always provide the sound you want for the chord. Just a bit higher on the fretboard, you can try this 6th fret version of Ab Major, which will give you a lighter, tighter sound since you won’t be using the 5th or 6th strings to play it:
Similarly, you can get a different sound out of this 8th fret version of the Ab Major chord, which doubles up on the chord’s root note:
The 9th and 10th fret versions of the Ab Major chord will again require you to combine some complicated fingerwork with expert string muting:
Then there’s the 11th fret variant of the Ab Major chord. It will give you a rather unique sound, but might also pose some challenges since the notes are very close together:
And if you want to take a crack at the easiest Ab Major chord of all, you could simply turn to your power chord on the 4th fret:
With many of the Ab Major chord variants we’ve shown, you’ll have to place your fingers in awkward positions and mute multiple strings simultaneously in order to play them correctly. It might seem an impossible task at first, but careful practice will make this feat easier to execute.
Remember that you only need to press a string lightly to deaden its vibration, so get the hang of using the minimal amount of pressure necessary to mute your strings before attempting some of these difficult Ab Major chords. As always, best of luck, and happy practicing!
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