Ab Guitar Chord: 7 Essential Ways To Play This Chord

Want to learn the Ab guitar chord? You’ve come to the right place!

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 2 common voicings of the Ab guitar chord.
  • 7 Ab guitar chords which will make you sound amazing.
  • The secret capo trick that will enhance your musicality and phrasing.

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The most common way to play the Ab guitar chord

Ab (A flat) is a chord you’re certain to encounter sooner or later as a guitarist.

  • Ab is the same chord as G# (G sharp). They are what’s known as ‘enharmonic equivalents’. For more information about this, check out this website: Enharmonic Equivalents

This is the most common voicing of the Ab guitar chord.

a flat guitar chord

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This chord is a barre chord. Barre chords are very difficult to play if you’re a beginner.

If you’re an intermediate guitarist and you feel you’re ready to take the plunge and start learning barre chords, then you might want to check out this article for some tips: How To Play Barre Chords

If, on the other hand you don’t feel quite ready for barre chords just yet, we have some simpler versions of the A flat guitar chord you could try.

Ab Guitar Chord: Simplified

In this voicing of the A flat guitar chord, we’ve removed the barre and just kept the middle four strings.

a flat guitar chord

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

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You may notice that this is the same shape as the standard F chord on guitar, except we’ve moved it up to the 4th fret.

This is a great trick if you’re new to the Ab guitar chord and don’t feel ready for barre chords just yet.

The only snag with doing the Ab guitar chord like this that you have to be a bit careful when strumming it because you have to leave out both the E strings (the ones marked ‘X’ in the diagram).

This is quite important with a chord like Ab as the E notes will clash with the chord. This is unfortunately the price we sometimes pay for making life easier for our fretting hand. It can mean a bit more work for the strumming hand.

ab guitar chord

Ab Guitar Chord: Stepping Stone Version

If you get quite good at the simplified Ab guitar chord, but are still a bit reluctant to take the plunge and try the full barre chord, you could ease yourself into it with this voicing of the Ab guitar chord.

Ab guitar chord

Here, we are barring the B string (2nd string) and the high E string. (1st string.) We don’t need to barre across all six strings.

This is a bit easier on your index finger and could serve as a good stepping stone between the simplified Ab guitar chord and the full barre Ab guitar chord.

As with the simplified version, we need to leave out the low E string, but we are now including the high E string. (1st string.)

Ab guitar chord: Using The A Shape

You may well have noticed that the first Ab guitar chord we looked at is a ‘E shape’. The fingers after the barre form an E chord shape.

The other most common way to fret a barre chord is use an A shape. This is how to play the Ab guitar chord using an A shaped barre chord.

a flat guitar chord

This guitar chord is perfect for styles of music such as funk and soul, as it has a tight cutting sound.

The only problem with this chord is that it’s very high up. If your guitar doesn’t have a cutaway, you may well struggle to play a chord this high up the fretboard.

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Here’s an easier version of the Ab guitar chord:

a flat guitar chord

Here, we’ve taken our A chord and flattened it by one fret.

This voicing is slightly trickier as we’ve had to leave out both the open A string and the open high E string.

As with the other chords where we’ve left strings out as well, we have to be careful how we strum it.

Turning a G guitar chord into an Ab guitar chord using a capo

a flat guitar chord

This is another way you can make an Ab chord easier, simply:

  • Put a capo on the first fret of the guitar and play a G chord shape.

This may or may not be a practical solution to playing an Ab guitar chord.

If your chord sequence is something like:

Ab           | Db           | Eb          |                |

… then putting a capo on the first fret is ideal, because it basically turns the sequence into:

G             | C              | D           |                 |

However, if your chord sequence is something like:

C              | Ab             | G             |                  |

… then it’s not so ideal.

While a capo at the first fret is making our Ab easier to play, it means our C and G will have to be done as barre chords. So by making one chord easier we’ve made two other chords harder, which kind of defeats the object.

For more information about capos and how to use them, check out this article: Capo Chart – Learn Every Chord Instantly

A flat guitar chord

Ab5: The Power Chord

Power chords are perfect for guitarists who like to rock and can be considerably easier than barre chords.

A flat guitar chord

Note that with the power chord, we only strum the three strings we’re fretting. If we strum the other three strings they’ll clash horribly with the chord.

There’s two ways we can avoid those unwanted strings:

  • Either strum carefully.
  • Or ‘dead’ the strings by placing your first finger across them.

To learn how to do this, watch this video:

If you’re finding the Ab5 chord a bit of a stretch, we can do it with just two fingers and two strings like this:

A flat guitar chord

This is less of a stretch, though obviously less strings means we have to be even more careful how we strum or about deading the unwanted strings.

Power chords are awesome for playing rock rhythm guitar. As the name suggests they are about driving your rhythm playing along!

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

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