5 Ways to Play the G chord on Guitar

Published Categorized as Chords
G major Variation 4

The G major chord is one of the first chords learned by most guitarists and it’s a go to in a huge number of songs.

But many guitarists only know how to play it one or two ways.

This post will show you 5 different ways to play the G chord on guitar.

G Chord Variation 1: Open G

This is the most common way to play a G major on guitar. You most probably already know this one but I will include it here for completeness.

The open G is played by:

  1. Placing your 1st finger (index finger) in the 2nd fret of the A string
  2. Placing your 2nd finger (middle finger) in the 3rd fret of the Low E string
  3. Placing your 3rd finger (ring finger) in the 3rd fret of the High e string
G major Variation 1

All strings are strummed when strumming this chord – so the D, G & B strings are played open.

There is a slight variation on this which is also very common. it’s the way I naturally play this chord.

  1. Placing your 1st finger (index finger) in the 2nd fret of the A string
  2. Placing your 2nd finger (middle finger) in the 3rd fret of the Low E string
  3. Placing your 3rd finger (ring finger) in the 3rd fret of the B string
  4. Placing your 4th finger (pinky) in the 3rd fret of the High e string

I find this has a slightly “fuller” sound to it.

G Chord Variation 2: Barre G

The next most common version of G major is the Barre chord.

The Barre G is played by barring the 3rd fret over all the strings with your 1st finger and creating the open E shape in the 4th & 5th frets. All the strings are strummed when strumming this chord.

If you aren’t sure about how to play barre chords check out the link below.

>>How to Play Major Barre Chords on Guitar

You can also play an “A String Barre G”. This is played by barring all but the Low E string in the 10th fret with your 1st finger and making the open A shape in the 12th fret.

Again, if you aren’t familiar with how to construct barre chords, see the link above.

G Chord Variation 3: Mid Fingerboard

This a good mid fingerboard option.

  1. Barre first finger across the G, B and high e-strings in the 7th fret
  2. Place the 2nd finger in the 8th fret on the B string
  3. Place the 3rd finger in the 9th fret on the D string
  4. Place the 4th finger in the 10th fret on the A string
G major Variation 3

Only strum from the A string down. Don’t strum the low E string.

Some people find it easier to use the 1st finger to barre from the A string down. This also allows you to use the tip of your index finger to mute the Low E string so you can strum more freely without worrying about hitting that Low E string.

G Chord Variation 4: Higher up the fretboard

This variation gives a G major chord option that is higher up the fretboard. It has a significantly different flavor to the Barre chord that you can play in this area of the fingerboard.

  1. Place your 1st finger on the 9th fret on the D string
  2. Place your 2nd finger on the 10th fret on the A string
  3. Place your 3rd finger on the 10th fret on the high E string
G major Variation 4

Strum all but the Low E string when you are strumming this.

G Chord Variation 5: High Up Fingerboard #2

This is nice easy one to finish and nice sounding (IMO). It also has a few nice variations to it, they still keep it a G major chord but can add something extra or it can be minimized when that’s more appropriate for the sound you’re looking for.

Technically this is a G with a D bass.

  1. Place the 1st finger in the 10th fret of the E string
  2. Place the 2nd finger in the 10th fret of the A string
G major Variation 5

Strum all but the high e string.

There are many variations you can bring into this one. The ones that I use are:

  1. Use 2nd & 3rd fingers in place of 1st and 2nd above and place the 1st finger in the 9th fret of the D string. Only strum down to the G string (or you can also strum the B string as well but I like this without the B string).
  2. Place your 3rd finger in the 10th fret of the high E string and now strum that string as well.
  3. & b. together
  4. Place 4th finger in 12 fret of the B string (strum all but high e string)
  5. Place your 3rd finger in the 10th fret of the high E string (like b. above) and your 4th finger in the 12th fret of the B string (like d. above), strum all strings

Thanks for Reading

I hope this post has given you some different options for playing the G major chord.

Do you have any other ways that you like to play G major? Feel free to leave a comment below.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1