[Acoustic Guitar Chords] > How to Play the G Chord: Easy Tutorial and Chord Charts
The G chord on guitar is like the ham and swiss sandwich of guitar chords. Here’s what I mean by that…
The G chord is one of the most common chords played on guitar. In addition to C, Em, and D the G guitar chord is used in most songs you’ll play.
If you want to learn to play guitar, you need to know the G chord — so, let’s learn it!
Originally published on March 16, 2020, this article was republished on May 02, 2023.
G Chords on Guitar
In this online guitar lesson, you’ll learn how to play the G chord on the guitar correctly. Also, you’ll see the best G chord for beginner guitarists. I like to think I made it up, but this chord shape has been around for centuries — no doubt!
If you stick around long enough, you’ll also get some pointers to make learning the G chord even easier.
Now, when you’re ready (trust me, you’re ready), you need to check out my guitar workshop that sets you up with a consistent and effective guitar routine. You can watch it for FREE here!
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How to Play the G Major Chord
Alright, if we want to be precise, the “G chord” your tabs typically refer to is a G major chord. It might feel strange at first, but trust me, you’ll get used to it!
Here’s what the G chord on guitar looks like…
As you can see, this classic G chord shape uses all four fingers, which makes it an important chord to know when you’re learning acoustic guitar. Think of this shape as the starting point for the rest of the G chord fingerings.
It also makes for a slightly intimidating chord to learn! But not to worry, with a bit of practice and the right tips and tricks, you’ll get there in no time.
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.
To make playing the G chord on guitar easier, try placing your fingers down one at a time. Think of your fingers cascading onto the fretboard. As soon as your middle finger goes down, follow it with your index finger.
As the G chord requires a lot of finger stretching, the positioning of your fingers is absolutely key. If you get lazy with your fingers, you might produce a muted note or fret buzz – neither of which is desirable for a crisp, clean-sounding chord.
Here’s a couple of tips to help you nail your finger positioning:
- Arch your fingers so that only your fingertips are depressing the strings
- Keep your wrist relaxed
- Practice regularly so your fingers can get used to the stretching and strength required to form multiple chords
If this chord shape is too difficult or is causing you pain in your hand, there’s an easier way to make a g chord on the guitar.
The Easy G Chord on Guitar
While this isn’t a G major chord, this chord shape will work in a pinch. This chord is technically called a G6 because it uses the 6th note in a G major scale.
Here’s what the G6 chord looks like on the fretboard:
This version of a G chord only requires two fingers to play. This makes it much easier for beginner guitar players.
Here’s how to play the easiest G chord:
- 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 all other strings open.
- Strum all strings.
While the easy G chord doesn’t sound as good as the full G major chord, it’ll do the job. The most important thing, especially for beginner guitarists learning chords, is to have fun. If you get frustrated trying to play the full G major chord, don’t be afraid to try the 2-finger version of the G chord.
If you’re looking for some other variations on the G chord, be sure to keep on scrolling down!
Popular G Chord Shapes
Besides the two shapes above, there are a couple of more popular G chord shapes.
In fact, I think that you can use some other popular G chord shapes to bridge the gap between the full G major chord and the G6 chord.
You can spend hours trying to nail that full G major chord, which may limit your enjoyment when you play your favorite songs. However, taking baby steps towards the “end goal” is better than struggling and giving up.
Lowering the difficulty and increasing your enjoyment and fun is what has helped thousands of my students. That’s why I recommend not rushing into playing the full G major chord.
Instead, you can start with the G6 chord and then move into the other variations. Don’t feel pressured to learn the full G major chord. Remember, learning guitar isn’t a race!
If you’re still struggling, you could also try to learn a G power chord.
When you are ready for the next “stepping stone,” so to speak, be sure to check out this G major chord variation below:
Now, this is a nice intermediate between the G6 chord and the full G major chord.
Here’s how to play the G major chord variation:
- 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 you’ve added is the pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the high E string. Not too bad, eh?
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.
Once you feel like you have that under your fingers — pun intended — all you need to do is add your ring finger. That’s right. Just adding your ring finger to the 3rd fret of the B string makes it a full G major chord!
If you’re looking for an even easier version of the G chord, scroll on down!
G Chord Hack
Alright, truth be told, this barely counts as a G chord…but, it technically is a G chord.
Here’s how to make the easiest G chord EVER:
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. Be sure to mute the low E and A strings.
And, that’s it! You got yourself the easiest G chord shape ever!
Now, it goes without saying that this G chord doesn’t even compare to the other G chord shapes. While thin and lacking the bass strings, this G chord can work if you’re still getting comfortable with the fretboard.
G Chord Substitution
Just in case the G chord is not, and never will be, your favorite chord here is a substitution you can play instead.
The E minor chord, for example, 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. There are two common scales that include all the notes of the G chord and will help train your ear in the key of G. These are:
- 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!
Watch this FREE guitar class for three secrets to learn guitar faster in just 10 minutes a day.
Tony explains the sound board in such simple terms making my learning experience much more enjoyable. Tony supports my lessons I take locally as my “old School “ instructor sometimes explains things a bit over my head (not throwing him under the bus lol). Thank you from a retired guy who picked up a guitar in the summer of 2017 for the 1st time, and loves the challenge of music 🎶
I am glad that I joined Tony’s acoustic Life Tues. I am learning ba lot. Thanks Tony. You make it simple and easy to understand. Thanks
There is another G cord i use Tony. Its thumb on low e third fret and middle finger on the b and e strings third fret.
I think is called a bushmans G.
Thanks Tony: The tips are great every time I get with you I learn more each time!! Russ Murrieta CA
It would be easier to follow if your Hi-Tech Guru Noah assisted you by placing a chord picture diagram with your explanations denoting the strings pressed on the frets as a dot. All players grip the neck with their fingers covering the strings and the frets and it’s not clear what string is being pressed. Alan Johnson “The Guitar Man ” Tutor displays the chords in picture form and it is so much easier to follow. Thanks. Yours Aye, Locksley Your Fan.
I really liked the video. I use those shapes when I play but you have given me some new ideas and ways to use them. That was awesome. Thanks Tony.