How to Play the G Chord on Guitar

On this page I am going to show you  7 ways for how to play the G chord on guitar. 
I'll show you the easiest way to play the G chord a few common variations, and even how to play the G bar chord. We'll also get into popular chords that go with G, popular songs that use the G chord, and what notes make up the chord. 

Is the G Guitar Chord Hard?

The G guitar chord takes some practice but as long as you have good technique it will be quick to learn. There are other guitar chords that are a bit easier to learn first such as Em but also there are others that are much hard. 


G Chord Guitar

EASY

Here is how to play the G chord on guitar in the easiest way possible.

Place your 4th finger (pinky) on 1st string 3rd fret

Place your 2nd finger (middle) on 6th string 3rd fret

That's it! 
Not sure on how to read a chord diagram? Click here

How To Strum The G chord

To strum the G chord above simply strum down from the 6th string (the big one) to the 1st string (smallest) 
To avoid having the 5th string ring out, use your 2nd finger to lightly touch the 5th string so that when you strum it it doesn't ring out. 

Here are two other common ways to play the G chord on guitar

This next variation is just like the first one above but now add your 1st finger (index) and press down on the 5th string 2nd fret

This next variation is just like the last one but now add your ring finger to the 2nd string 3rd fret. 

Notice in all examples we are just playing notes G B D.  These are the notes that make up the G chord.
(More on this below) 

There are a few fingerings for the G chord that I do not recommend. The ones above are the best and will allow you to play any song that uses a G chord, make quick transitions, and apply fun rhythm guitar techniques as you progress. 

The fingering here is using the 3rd finger (ring) on the 1st string 3rd fret. There is no benefit to fretting the G chord like this. 

The argument for using this fingering is that it makes an easy transition to the C major chord. While this is true this is not how to approach learning guitar. You don't always go from
C -> G or G -> C 

While both these fingerings are fairly common amongst beginners they are not recommended as they paint you into a corner as you reach higher levels. Use the recommended fingerings so you don't hit a wall and have to relearn to get better!

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G Chord Tips

The 1st tip to learning the G chord and making smooth transition is to learn easier versions first. In this lesson I have chords laid out from easy - Intermediate - hard so be sure to book mark this page for reference as you progress
The 2nd tip is to to make sure your thumb is behind your first finger. You don't want your thumb on the outside of your index finger as this will cause your hand to not be able to stretch or work properly.

 
The 3rd tip is for bar chords. When playing bar chords and your index finger (1st finger) needs to do execute the bar you want to apply pressure to the side of your finger. If you squeeze directly in your finger will bend and the strings on your knuckles wont ring out!

How To Play The G Chord Without The Bar

 If you can make smooth transitions with the examples above you may want to try this one out!
Place your 1st finger on the 6th string 3rd fret
Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string 5th fret
Place your 4th finger on the 4th string 5th fret
Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string 4th fret

This will be a bit tricky at first but this will prepare you to play the bar chord version!
Just be sure not to play strings 1 & 2. Well actually you can let the 2nd string ring out as this is tuned to a B note which is part of the chord.

To avoid strumming these strings either lift the pick up at the last moment to avoid those strings and/or hold those strings with your picking hand when you strum. (This wont work if you are strumming up and down!)

How To Play The G Major Bar Chord 

Now we are going to move on to bar chords and you are going to learn how to play the G bar chord properly. I am going to guide you through different variations of the G major bar chord with easy variation getting progressively harder. 

Just so we are clear, when you use one finger to press multiple strings this is called a  bar chord or sometimes spelled barre chord. 

Lets get started!

This first G bar chord example is sometimes called the "A shape" bar chord in reference to the A major chord in open position.  I have two way to play this variation however, as you can see one variation uses 2 bar while the other only uses one.  As you can see, the variation with 2 bars the index is pressing down on the 1st string giving you that last bit of top end on the high E string.

To play this variation of the G chord, use your index finger on 5th string 10th fret and lay your 3rd finger (ring) across strings 2-4 on the 12th fret.  

* Remember to have your thumb splitting the difference with your index and ring finger and keep your 2nd joint on your ring finger high so it can SCOOP and lay flat. 
 

To play the 2nd example, you'll need to lay (bar) your 1st finger down across strings 5-1 and press to the side. This one is a bit tricky not just because its a bar, but there's 2 bars and you got to get your ring finger out of the way so that the 1st string can ring out!

How To Play the G bar chord hard

Ok, so you're ready to tackle the last variation of the G chord on your guitar!

To play the G major bar chord in this position, fret this just like the one we already spoke about:
1st finger on 6th string 3rd fret
3rd finger on 5th string 5th fret
4th finger on 4th stirng 5th fret
2nd finger on 3rd string 4th fret

Then lower your 1st finger, lay out down across the strings and press to the side. 
The trick is to have your thumb in the correct position splitting your 1st and 3rd fingers right behind your 2nd finger.  

** Even though I break the chords down finger by finger you need to be able to lay all fingers down at the same time! I have a step by step training on how to do this in my free download specifically for the open chords. 

Get it here

Now you know how to play the G major chord! 👊
Scratch that, you're a G chord pro as you now know a lot of ways to play the G chord on guitar!

Easy Songs That Use G Major

Quiet Riot - Come On Feel The Noise
The Beatles - Let It Be
Every Rose Has It's Thorn - Poison

G Major Chord Progression Guitar

Here's a few chord progressions that sound great that use the G chord. Feel free to change up the orders and experiment with the sounds!

G - C - D
C - F - C - G
Am - F - G 

G  - C - Em - D
C - F - Am - G
Bm - G -  D - Am

If you need help learning these other chords, click here

What Keys Have A G Major Chord? 

Major keys that use a G major chord:
Key of G Major
Key of C Major
Key of D Major

Minor keys that use a G major chord:
Key of Em Minor
Key of Am Minor
Key of Bm Minor

What Are The Notes Of A G Major Chord?

A G chord or G major chord consists of 3 notes that are derived from the G major scale.
G   A   B   C   D   E   F#

When you number the notes of a scale they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make a G major chord we need the 1st, 3rd and 5th "degrees."

1      2       3        4      5      6     7
G     A       B       C      D     E     F#

All major chords use the 1, 3, and 5 notes of a their corresponding scale. 

When these 3 notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time) you are playing a G major chord!

Notice from the chord diagrams above, ONLY the notes G, B, and D are being used. If you have another note such as a A note or a C note it is no longer G major chord!

That being said, you can have multiple G, B, or D notes as show in the chord diagrams. Try playing the G chord in one of the variations shown above but only strum a few of the notes. Notice the chord will sound "thin" if there is only one of each note. By adding in more of the same notes you make the chord have more depth. You may even think of it as a darker or lighter shade of the same color.

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