Three simple steps is all it takes to learn how to play a G chord

Basic chords are easy once you know how to play them. But the journey can be painful and annoying. This is why we are going to break the information down in three simple steps. This way you’ll learn how to play a G chord in no time!

We already taught you how to play A, Am, E, Em, D, Dm and C. Well there are not many basic chords left except the F and the G. This blog post focuses on the latter. Now before we start, please make sure your guitar is within range. You’re going to need it. If you start having sore fingers during your practice please read these tips about blister prevention to help you out. 

Step 1 – Tune your guitar

Let’s start at the beginning. You can’t play an instrument without tuning it first. A guitar is no exception to this rule of thumb. So grab your axe and make sure it sounds crystal clear. For a standard tuning you can use a tuner, or an application for your phone like KARANG.

Step 2 – Take a look at the diagram of the G chord

Step two is understanding the chord you’re going to play. Let’s take a closer look at the diagram of the G chord that is shown in the picture below. The vertical lines from left to right are the strings E, A, D, G, B, e (strings are counted from bottom to top, so the high e is the first string and the low E the sixth).

You can also see transparent circles at the top. These indicate the strings that you have to play open (without pressing them down). The number 1 indicates the fret on which the chord is located, this way you won’t get lost on the guitar neck. As you can see, the G chord is played at the top of the fret board.

Step 3 – Position your fingers

The numbers in the thick black circles show the position of your fingers. Take a look at the picture: 1 indicates your index finger, 2 your middle finger and 3 your ring finger. So far so good, don’t you think? Shall we try and play the G chord?

No rush, we’ve got all the time in the world. Before actually playing the chord you’ll have to take another good look at the diagram and position your fingers.

Start off with your ring finger on the first string (the e string) third fret. Your middle finger goes to the third fret of the sixth string (the lower E string). After you’ve placed your index finger on the second fret fifth string (the A string) you are able to play the G chord. Stay in position, firmly press all strings, and give the chord a good ring.

Step 4 (bonus) – Why do we play a G chord like this?

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Oh yes it does! You can congratulate yourself on acquiring a new skill, playing the G chord. So what’s the plan now? Are you going to strum this chord until your fingers start bleeding, or do you want to know a bit more about what you’re actually playing? The choice is yours, we’re not judging.

You’re still here! A true die hard, aren’t you? This next bit of music theory can get a bit bumpy so hold on tight. The information is simple but dense. First off, each basic chord consists of a number of basic elements: the root, the third note (third), the fifth note (fifth) and the eighth note (octave).

The octave and the root have the same name, only they differ in pitch. The fifth is said to provide the power in the triad by supporting it harmonically. The third indicates whether a chord is major or minor. This says something about a chord’s mood — major often sounds cheerful and minor sounds sad or melancholic.

Step 5 (bonus) – The scale of G

Where do the numbers first, third, fifth, and eight come from? Well, that’s because these tones come from the scale of the corresponding key. For example, the scale of the G is made up of G (1), A (2), B (3), C (4), D (5), E (6), F# (7) and G (8). Note the numbers behind the tones. The 1 is the root, the 3 is the third, the 5 is your fifth and the 8 is the root played higher, which we also call — as already explained — the octave.

Now take another look at the G chord diagram. Which tones do you actually use from the scale? You strum G, B, D, G, B, and G   — so  the root, third, and fifth are already played on the first three strings. Makes sense, right? We also wrote a blog about more complex chord constructions. Is your head already exploding from all the information poured into it? Relax, take a brake and play along with some tracks in G. The rest will come in time. Happy jamming!

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