How to Play G on Guitar

By Lee Simmons

The G Major chord is one of the most basic and essential chords on the guitar. The Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" and Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" are among the more popular tunes based on the G chord. The chord can be played in a number of configurations, from low on the guitar's neck near the headstock to high up near the sound hole. The most basic G Major chord is the easiest G to play, requiring no more than three fingers on your fretting hand.

Basic Major G Chord

Hold the guitar in playing position. Place the fingers of your fretting hand on the neck of the guitar. Rest your strumming hand just above the strings near the sound hole.

Place the middle finger of your fretting hand on the third fret of the bottom E string. Place the index finger of your fretting hand on the second fret of the A string. Place the pinky finger of your fretting hand on the third fret of the high E string.

Leave the middle D, G, and B strings open. These strings will play in open style (sounding out their tonic notes) when you strum the guitar.

Depress the strings with all three fingers and strum with the pick to play a basic G Major chord.

Abbreviated G Chord

Place the ring finger of your fretting hand on the third fret of the high E string.

Leave the G and B strings open. Do not strum the bottom three strings.

Depress the third fret of the high E string and strum the top three strings of the guitar to play an abbreviated G Major chord.

Basic G Barre Chord

Lay the index finger of your fretting hand across the entire third fret on the guitar's neck. This is the "barre" position.

Place the middle finger of your fretting hand on the fourth fret of the B string. Place the ring finger of your fretting hand on the fifth fret of the A string. Place the pinky finger of your fretting hand on the fifth fret of the D string.

Strum the guitar strings to create a basic G Major barre chord.

Tip

Use an electronic tuner before practicing chords to ensure the guitar is properly tuned. Some chord positions are more difficult than others, particularly barre chords. Practice often to strengthen the muscles in your fretting hand.

About the Author

Lee Simmons has 10 years of reporting experience covering a variety of issues for publications in South Carolina, California, and Texas. He also covered music industry issues for Soundcheck magazine and Bizmology.com, among others. Simmons earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. He lives in Austin.