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How to Play a G Chord on Guitar

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Alright guys and girls, it’s time for us to look at the G Chord.

It’s genuinely one of the most common chords in almost all genres of music. Nirvana, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, you name it – the G chord is used. But annoyingly, every seems to have their own version of a G, so it’s really hard to tell which one is actually the best.

Today, I’ll go over the various G chord shapes that you can play on guitar, and the best one’s that you should use.

Prepare yourself, because you’re gonna be so fed up of Gs by the end of this that you’ll want to erase it from the alphabet.

We’ve all been there before…

Anyway, if you want to play more than 50% of chord progressions ever invented, you’re gonna want to know how to play a G.

So let’s get started…

The most popular way to play a G

Big, fat and ballsy, this version of a G chord has been used by almost every rock band under the sun since the beginning of time.

This is the version that I personally use because just sounds so goddam crisp:

G major version 1 chord diagram

As a beginner, this one may feel a wee bit fiddly initially because you’re gonna need all four fingers on deck.

G major chord version 1 fingering

G and D are a common chord pairing, which is great because in this shape your ring finger doesn’t have to move between the two chords.

You can use it as an anchor/pivot point when switching between chords to make life easier.

As great as this shape is however, it’s a bit of a faff to change to as it’s completely different from other chord shapes.

That’s why some people out there prefer this one…

The 2nd most popular way to play a G

Alright, so you’ve probably made your mind up about whether you love that G or passionately despise that G by now.

If you fall into that latter, then today is your lucky day because there’s another!

So here is the almost as common and equally correct way to play a G chord on guitar:

G major version 2 chord diagram

Many people prefer this way because it makes switching to other chords like E, Am and C dead easy since all your fingers are on the right frets.

G major chord version 2 fingering

It’s also a lot more similar to the G7 and Gmaj7 shapes – which I’ll show you later – meaning that they become super easy to switch to.

I have been using this shape for years, but recently switched to the first one because I just thought it sounded nicer.

But you choose whichever floats ya boat.

Variations of G – 7th and Major 7th

Now that you’ve got the core G down, it’s time to start showing you the spicy stuff…

And what better way to colour a G chord than adding a 7th?

Errr… A 9th or a 6th?

That was a rhetorical question, I didn’t want you to answer that.

Oh, ok…

G7 and Gmaj7 are the two most common variations that you will see in a song.

No one ever uses G minor so you don’t need to worry about that one really. Besides, it’s practically impossible to play in open position anyway.

Get G, G7 and Gmaj7 down and you’ll be good to go.

If you wanna play a G7, then this is the way:

G7 chord diagram

Pinkie off fret 3, index on fret 1 and BAM! You’ve got yourself a a jazzy G7 chord.

G7 chord fingering

You can thank me later 🙂

And – as promised – if you want to turn the G into an ultra chill sounding major 7th chord…

You’re gonna want to play it like this:

G major 7th chord diagram

Just kidding, no one really wants to play it like this.

It’s massively uncomfortable and disgusting, but you don’t really have a choice.

It sounds good anyway, so who cares?

Uhhh… me?

Shush.

G major 7th chord fingering

How to play a G bar chord

You may or may not have seen bar chords before.

If you haven’t then you can view my post on how to play bar chords on guitar by clicking here – they are beyond useful.

They’re a little it more advanced than open chords however, so feel free to skip this for now if you want and come back in the future when you’re ready.

But today, I’ll just be giving you a quick overview of how to play the G bar chord on guitar.

It should look a little something like this:

G major bar chord diagram

To play this G bar chord, you’re gonna need to learn how to “barre” multiple strings down at once.

Barring is basically a way of using the underside edge of your index finger to press down a bunch of strings at once.

You’ll want to put your middle, ring and pinkie fingers in position first, and then try to squash down the remaining strings using your index finger.

It may be difficult in the beginning – but you’ll soon get used to it.

Put all together, this version of a G chord should look like this:

G major bar chord fingering

Summary

Congratulations!

You’ve just learnt how to play a G chord on guitar.

You’re only bound to use it a couple of a hundred trillion times though, so it’s no biggy.

Anyway, I hope this post has been helpful, and that you can now go back and learn that song that you wanted to play from earlier.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you want to learn how to play the infamous F chord on guitar quickly and easily, then you can view my post on that by clicking here.

Sam

Sam is a guitar teacher and educator, with his main goal being to give people advice that they can truly rely on. He strives to teach through modern and effective techniques that actually provide results. Getting good at guitar was always his dream, and this blog outlines the steps he took to achieve total guitar freedom from scratch.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Dave

    Cheers man, great post!

  2. GRAVES2541

    Thank you!!1

    1. Sam

      No problem, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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