How to Play the G Chord on Guitar

Posted on December 30, 2022

When it comes to basic guitar chords every beginner guitarist should learn, the G major chord is one that you’ll encounter in a number of songs. Learn this and a few of the other essential cowboy chords on the guitar, and you’ll be able to play along to many of your favorite songs. We’ll teach you exactly how to play the basic G guitar chord so you can avoid some common pitfalls many beginner guitar players face.

How to play the G major chord?

The open G chord requires you to finger three strings in order to create the correct chord shape. The other three strings are allowed to play open. In order to create the G chord shape, you’ll need to finger the low and high E strings as well as the A string using your index, middle, and ring fingers.

Here’s how to position your fingers:

  • First finger (index finger): Press down the second fret of the A string.
  • Second finger (middle finger): Press down the third fret of the low E string.
  • Third finger (ring finger): Press down the third fret of the high E string.

G Chord Diagram

The D, G, and B strings are allowed to ring openly. However, one potential mistake here is letting your fingers touch one of the open strings and mute it as a result. For example, you might notice your middle finger accidentally muting the A string as it stretches across the guitar fretboard to finger the second fret of the low E string. To avoid this, focus on curving your middle finger more to create space between the finger and the other strings.

G chord variation

If the three-finger version of the G chord seems difficult or you want to try using four fingers instead, there is one common variation to try. In this version, play the low E and A strings normally and leave the D and G strings open. Then finger the third frets of the highest two strings by pressing down the B string with your ring finger and the high E string with your pinky finger.

G Chord Variation

One variation of the G chord is to play it barred by using your index finger to press down all six strings across the guitar fretboard. Position your index finger to press down all strings on the third fret. Your ring finger presses down the fifth fret of the A string, and your pinky finger presses down on the D string. Finally, use your middle finger to press down the fourth fret of the G string.

G barre chord diagram

In case you’re familiar with the major F chord, you might have noticed that the chord shape is exactly the same. In this variation of the G chord, you only play the chord on the third fret instead of the first like with the F chord. Release your middle finger on the B string and transition smoothly to the G minor chord.

Barre chords like this variation of the G major chord can be challenging to play if you’re struggling to apply enough pressure on all six strings with your index finger. However, once you get the hang of bar chords, changing between chords using the same chord shape is easy. Keep the fingering of your fretting hand as it is and move up and down the fretboard.

Songs on guitar using the G major chord

The G major guitar chord is one of the most common ones you’ll encounter. It’s not difficult to come by songs where it’s necessary. Try learning these songs to practice the open G chord and other basic chord shapes.

Learn the G chord and more on guitar with Yousician

The G major chord is only one of many guitar chords that you’ll need in order to play your favorite songs. Check out our full guitar chord library for all versions of the G chord and much more. Once you have mastered the G chord, don’t stop there. Level up your guitar-playing skills with Yousician’s online guitar lessons.

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