What’s the difference between these two Chords?

On guitar

An A Chord played at the 2nd fret and one played at the 4th fret or elsewhere on the guitar if any? Are they exactly the same or are there specific time when you’ll need a specific one? Do you just pick whichever you need just from convenience?

Same for the other chords
By 4th Fret I meant

(5 4 2 0 0 0)
E –> high E

To simplify the question, is a chord played in the position everybody knows different to the same chord played in an alternate position
So in that case, how would you know when to play each one?
What about:

(5 4 2 X X X)
E –> high E

This contains only the notes A, C# and E which make up A Major (the 0’s earlier shouldn’t have been there, that was my mistake)


  1. GibsonEssGee says:

    They are different. The A played as a barre chord at the 5th fret would probably be played as a power chord or in a sequence of barre chords. D played at the 2nd fret as one of the main chords in a song is complemented at the end of the song if you use the 5th fret barre chord version for the big finish. Horses for courses but they are distinctly different and a lot of it depends on the amount of open strings in the chord, especially if you start tinkering with drop tuning.

  2. Tony B says:

    I guess that by, the second fret, you mean the one that everyone knows that uses open strings:
    (0 0 2 2 2 0).

    I’m not familiar with an A chord played at the 4th fret, although there is a one playable at the 5th fret using a barre and an “E shape”.

    They are known as different “inversions” – the notes are in different orders. The one you use depends on the sound you want (they do sound different), and where you are on the finger board – if you were playing a nut position G with open strings, going down the 5th fret to play that version of A wouldn’t make much sense.

  3. Wayne T says:

    Tony is more correct than Gibson. Sometimes it’s just a matter of convenience; sometimes it depends on the sound you want, like which octave you would play it in on the piano.