Why do most guitar teachers and beginner guitar lesson books teach the fingering for the G major chord using the ring finger to fret the g note on 3rd fret of high e string rather than using your pinky to play that note. Most chords that come after a G major chord in most common progressions are easier to transition to if you are using what some guitar teachers call the "situational" G fingering using the pinky on the high e. For example if you play a G major with your ring finger fretting the high e string and then switch to a C chord (very common) you have to flip flop your hand completely around. Whereas if you use the pinky on the high e fingering, changing to a C from a G requires very little movement. The logic of using the pinky version becomes even more obvious when switching from G Maj to G7. Does anyone have a good explanation for teaching the G Maj chord without using the pinky other than beginning guitar students have weak pinkys so guitar teachers don't want them to use their pinky?
Oddly enough, I actually ran into this very scenario yesterday as I was giving a guitar lesson. I initially had the student play the G in the way you describe, with pinkie on the high "e" (I always play this way as it is much easier for many other chord shapes). After seeing the student struggle quite a bit, we switched to the other fingering indicated in the question above. I believe there are several reasons why this positioning is used more commonly for beginning guitarists:
They lack finger dexterity: because they don't have stretch or independence with fingers, the pinkie voicing is more difficult as the pinkie is less dextrous than the ring finger.
Angle of Hand/Wrist: Each fingering changes the angle of the hand / wrist, and I think that the latter example causes less stress for the beginning guitarist.
Finger strength: as others have suggested, the ring finger is stronger than the pinkie finger, which allows less effort on the part of the student.
Room on fretboard: an incredibly common issue with beginning guitarists is having certain fingers touch/mute other unwanted strings. Using the pinkie voicing, the large space between the ring and pinkie fingers causes the ring and middle fingers, which are less dextrous than pointer/middle, to be used. Thus, the beginning student will have a more difficult time negotiating position/alignment so as not to block any strings.
In my experience, as guitarists improve over time, they learn/develop different fingerings for chords based on their preferences and style. It would make sense then, for beginners to be taught more easily-played chord shapes at the outset in order to set them up for more immediate success.
It's something , as a teacher, that I've never addressed. Whichever is the easier option is the one taken. It's after all, within the first half a dozen chords a beginner will learn. Fingers will be weak, but one way or other will suit most.At some point, they need strengthening, so why not start immediately? Occasionally, pupils will also use the 3rd fret 2nd string as well, which maybe presents a stronger fingering. Moving to and from other chords is always a consideration, so a couple of different fingerings are usually a good move. If the pinky IS used, then the ring finger can go to 4th string, 3rd fret without moving the originals, to get to G7.
I teach beginner guitar sometimes and would LOVE it if I could show the pinky version first due to the transitions you mention, it would make life a lot easier for them, but as has been said, new folks just can't do it whenever I have tried that version first and what's really frustrating is after a few more lessons they are playing songs with G to C and I have real trouble getting them to leave their comfort zone and try the other way, so it's a double whammy of awfulness.
Why? Because new players are likely to have no strength in their pinky.
As a beginner player, I somewhat ran into this today while learning G. My first reaction after struggling to even get it with my ring finger was to use the pinky. Seems much easier overall, but then again I've only had my guitar for 4 days so that's just my initial impression. It's a Strat clone.
I could easily see why you would want to use the pinky on G to C. Makes perfect sense to me but again, I'm new so take it for what it's worth.
I waited quite a while to learn to play guitar, being 38, but I'll get it. I have the want to learn and it ain't going nowhere