The G chord on the guitar is usually one of the first chords new players learn. After all, the G major chord sounds great, it’s easy to play, what’s not to like?
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Playing the G Chord
Here is the G major guitar chord in open position. It is played by placing your first finger on the 5th string 2nd fret, 2nd finger on the 6th string 3rd fret, and 3rd finger on the 1st string 3rd fret. The other strings are played open.
As a complete beginner, this chord shape will feel foreign and difficult. As your muscle memory forms, this chord will be as routine as ever. Don’t give up, it gets easier.
Bar Chord Variations
Another common variation of the G major chord is this barred version played on the 3rd fret. It uses the E chord shape.
To play this chord, you bar all strings with your 1st finger. You then place your 3rd finger on the 5th string 5th fret. Then place your 4th finger on the 4th string 5th fret.
Lastly, place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string 4th fret. This one takes some getting used to, but as you build your hand strength it will become easy.
G Chord With Higher Ranged Sound
This variation of the G chord looks just like the F chord, but is played on the 3rd fret.
As you learn these chords, you will notice a lot of patterns. This is one of them.
Use this version to leave off the bass notes and have a more higher ranged sound.
Try a “Fancy” Version
If you want to look real fancy, play this version of the G chord on the 10th fret. This is a bar chord of the A shape.
To play it, you bar across the 1st through 5th strings with your first finger at the 10th fret, then bar the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th strings with your 3rd finger at the 12th fret.
Notice the different voicing of this version. It really has a different sound than the first version I showed.
Songs to Play
Now that you know the G chord, you can play many beginner-friendly songs! Here are just some examples of popular songs from a variety of musical genres:
- “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
- “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
- “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan / Guns N’ Roses
- “Happy Birthday”
- “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas and The Papas
- “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
- “Apologize” by One Republic
- “Let It Be” by The Beatles
- “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
- “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver
- “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
Open G Tuning
Want to play a G major chord without placing a single finger on the fretboard? You can do it with an alternate tuning called open G.
It’s not hard to change your tuning once you know how to do it. Read more about how to tune your guitar to open G and enjoy its bluesy characteristic.
Songs such as “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones, “Walkin’ Blues” by Robert Johnson, and others were played using open G tuning.
For more tips, see how to make your guitar chords easy to play. Also, learn more about guitar chords for beginners including how to take the chords you just learned and move them around the fretboard for new and exciting sounds.