How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (2024)

[Acoustic Guitar Chords] > How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts

The G chord is the bread and butter of guitar playing – not only is it one of the most common chords played on guitar, but it’s one of the most versatile too.

Every guitarist – from Hendrix to Santana – has the G chord in their guitar-playing arsenal, which is why it’s an essential chord for you to know too!

In addition to C, Em, and D chords, the G chord will be one of your primary building blocks for learning and writing songs.

Once you’ve figured it out, you’ll have added a comprehensive and dynamic chord to your ever-expanding chord arsenal.

So without further ado – the G chord!

Originally published on March 16, 2020, this article was republished on February 2nd, 2024.

How to Play the G Chord

At first glance, this chord might look difficult to play, but once I guide you through the steps you’ll see that it’s easier than it seems.

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (1)

Here’s how to do it:

1. Finger Placement

To play the G chord on guitar, place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string, your index finger on the second fret of the A string, your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B string, and your pinky on the 3rd fret of the high E string. Leave the D and G strings open.

2. Keep a Firm Grasp

As you can see, this classic G chord shape uses all four fingers, which is why it’s super important that you hold the neck firmly. This will allow you to really press into the fretboard and hit every note sharply and clearly.

3. Strum All Strings

Once you’ve got your fingers positioned and a firm grasp of the neck, strum all of the strings to produce a G chord.

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (2)

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G Chord Finger Positioning

As the G chord requires a lot of finger stretching, the positioning of your fingers is key. If your fingers aren’t positioned correctly, you might mute a note that detracts from a crisp, clean-sounding chord.

Here’s a couple of tips to help you nail your finger positioning:

  • Keep your thumb at the back of the guitar neck, roughly opposite your middle finger. This provides better grip and control.
  • Ensure that each finger is not touching or muting the strings next to the ones they are pressing. This is crucial for a clear sound.
  • Engage in finger stretching exercises before playing to increase your finger flexibility.
  • If the standard G chord is too difficult, you can start with simpler versions, like using fewer fingers, and gradually work your way up to the full chord.

The Easy G Chord on Guitar

While the following isn’t strictly a G major chord, this chord shape will work in a pinch. It’s technically called a G6 because it uses the 6th note in a G major scale.

Here’s what it looks like on the fretboard:

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (3)

This version of a G chord only requires two fingers to play, which makes it much easier for beginner guitar players.

Here’s how to play the easiest G chord:

  1. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string.
  2. Fret the 2nd fret of the A string with your index finger.
  3. Leave all other strings open.
  4. Strum all strings.

Popular G Chord Shapes

Besides the two shapes above, there are a couple of more popular G chord shapes, which can help you when you’relearning acoustic guitar.

If you’re finding the normal G chord difficult, you can start with the G6 chord and then move into the other variations – such as this variation.

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (4)

It’s a nice intermediate between the G6 chord and the full G major chord.

Here’s how to play it:

  • Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string
  • Fret the 2nd fret of the A string with your index finger
  • Leave the D, G, and B strings open
  • Fret the 3rd fret of the high E string with your pinky finger

Notice that all that’s different from the easy variation is that you’ve added your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string. Many guitar players will play the G chord like this because it’s easy and still captures the full sound of a G major chord.

G Chord Hack

For the fingering of this G chord shape, it doesn’t get any simpler. Just place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string and mute the low E and A strings.

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (5)

And that’s it – you’ve got the easiest G chord shape ever!

Keep in mind that musically this G chord doesn’t compare to the other G chord shapes –i t sounds quite thin and lacks any kind of bass tonality.

That being said, it can work if you’re still getting comfortable with the fretboard.

G Chord Substitution

If you’re looking for a substitute to the G chord that is a little easier to play but sounds similar, then try to E minor chord.

It consists of the notes E, G, and B and can replace the G chord in a lot of songs. While it might sound a little bit different, it can still add flair and style to whatever you’re playing.

Scales to Play with the G Chord

Guitar scales are a fantastic way to advance your guitar playing. Two common scales include all the notes of the G chord and will help train your ear in the key of G:

  • The G major pentatonic scale. This is the standard G scale and probably the first one you’ll learn. It includes the notes: G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#.
  • The G minor pentatonic scale. This also includes notes extracted from the G scale: G, A, B flat, C, D, E flat, and F.

What’s Next After the G Chord?

Now that you know a few different ways to play a G chord, what’s next?

You might even be stuck, not knowing where to go on your guitar journey. Fortunately, I created an awesome workshop that is designed for players of all experience levels.

During the workshop, I’ll go over:

  • The classic 4 mistakes you might be making on your guitar journey
  • The 3 Pillars of Purposeful Guitar Practice (and the science behind them)
  • What to practice every day (the same material that’s helped over 40,000 guitarists around the world)
  • A concrete plan to help you get to where you want on your guitar journey!

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Tony Polecastro

My name is Tony Polecastro and I’m an acoustic guitar geek.I LOVE the idea of learning guitar online but I was fed up with the overwhelming, “more is better” approach that takes the fun out of learning guitar…this is my journey from 60 to 36,534 guitar students...Read My Story

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts (2024)

FAQs

How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts? ›

The G chord is one of the first chords where most beginners have to stretch their fingers all the way up to the sixth string (the one furthest away from the floor). That can make it tricky to keep the meaty part of your fingers from touching the strings.

Is the G chord hard to play? ›

The G chord is one of the first chords where most beginners have to stretch their fingers all the way up to the sixth string (the one furthest away from the floor). That can make it tricky to keep the meaty part of your fingers from touching the strings.

What chord can I play instead of G? ›

So you can substitute an Em chord for a G major chord, or vice versa, for a smooth but noticeable change in the sound of the progression—and usually you can sing the same melody over either chord.

What is the finger style G chord? ›

The most common way to play the G Major Chord is in the open position, like this: Index finger on the 2nd fret of the A (5th) string. Middle finger on the 3rd fret of the low E (6th) string. Ring finger on the 3rd fret of the E (1st) string.

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