Does anybody have tips on how to play a G-chord on the guitar? My band director taught us, but for some reason I just find it very difficult. Help!

  • possible duplicate of Best method to learn to play barre chords?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:21
  • 3
    What about it is difficult? Are you having trouble remembering the positions or is it more being able to fret the notes properly?
    – Dan D
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:21
  • 4
    I like your username Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:44
  • 1
    Which G chord? Open, barred etc?
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 22:02

3 Answers 3


There are a number of ways to play a G chord in what I call first position (using some open strings).

The easiest possible way to play it is to fret the high e (first) string on the third fret with a finger of your choice and play the four strings closest to the floor (the four skinniest strings 1-4).

Here are the charts for 5 ways to play a G chord in open position.

5 ways to play a G

I personally like the formation where your second finger is on 2nd fret of A string and your third (ring) finger is on the 3rd fret of the low E string and your fourth finger (pinkie) is on the 3rd fret of the high e string. From this position it is easy to transition to either a C or G7 chord without having to flop your hand in the total opposite direction.

Start with what is easiest for you to play. As you progress in your skills, learn other ways to play the G chord because there will be cases when one form complements the melody better than the others or situations where the next chord in the progression is easier to transition to from one form of G than another fingering of G.

Good luck.

  • Worth to note that, classically speaking, the four-string variant isn't “correct” as a G chord – it is really G/D. Often doesn't matter, certainly not when only strumming chords while an actual bass plays the G below (in fact the sound can get muddy when then the guitar also adds a low G and B), but for solo fingerstyle you'll generally want to add the G on the E-string. Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 20:10
  • Guitarists typically ignore the fact that many of the standard ways they play chords are inversions (what @leftaroundabout was pointing out), unless they are told explicitly to play a specific inversion. For many occasions it does not matter and then for others it does.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 15:01
  • @leftaroundabout- why is it that a 'correct' chord must have the root at the bottom - root position? If there's someone else playing that underneath, it's not a problem, and even if there's no 'root' note as the lowest, so what?
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 18:56
  • There's another G7 shape you may find useful - 323003 - and even 323001.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 10:38
  • @Tim I think what leftround meant in his 2015 comment is that generally when the lowest note in the chord is not the root note the chord is denoted as a slash chord. But for whatever reason, that 4 string voicing of the G chord (regardless of what you call it) sounds very much like a regular G major chord. Technically leftround might be correct. But - there are some arrangements of some songs where if you fail to include the non root lower note it does not work as well. The voicing in question works as a G and is usually interchangeable with other voicings of G so it is functionally a G. Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 19:50

It sounds like you are new to guitar chords. Just practice, practice, and practice. Work on it every day (maybe for about 20 minutes at a time). Chords are not easy for beginners. I personally had a difficult time at first, and would struggle to prevent some of the strings from being muted, to be able to hold down all the necessary strings to their frets, etc.

Just stick with it. It will come with time. This is how it went at first for every good guitarist out there.


It depends on how you're going about it but the traditional way, if not playing a barre chord, is 2nd finger on low E3, 1st finger on A2, and little finger on B3 and E3.

I used to find that a handful so I cheated, and it's stuck with me for 25 years. I use my thumb over the top of the fretboard to play low E3, mute the A string with end of my thumb, and 2nd finger over higher B3 and E3 (or just higher E3 if a major chord is required)


  • Doddle to play (for me at least)
  • 5 out of 6 strings are played. The A string being muted is a bonus because I generally play an electric guitar, and to have a major 3rd played that low makes the sound quite cludgy and indistinct if there's a little distortion too.
  • It leaves a couple of other fingers to twiddle other stuff on the D and G strings if you like.


  • Purists will tell you this is wrong. I think they are wrong!
  • Looks a bit funny
  • A-string is muted - not helpful if that low 3rd note was an important part of the chord.

Nowadays I can play a G the traditional way, but I never do.

  • Caution: Wrapping your thumb around like @user2808054 probably has a higher incidence of metacarpal tunnel syndrome. While I know of no studies to specifically back me up, it involves moving your fingers with a bent wrist.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 15:09
  • From WebMD: "... keep your wrists straight or only slightly bent. Avoid activities that bend or twist the wrists for long periods of time." (webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/…)
    – amalgamate
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 15:10
  • Just the same @user2808054 is not alone, many famous guitarists play that way.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 15:12
  • @amalgamate I'd have thought all guitar activity involves moving your fingers while the wrist is in some way bent? When is that not the case ? Anyway if that's a genuine concern then thanks for the info. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:27
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    Purists like myself generally avoid bending the wrist very far. I usually slightly bend the opposite way to what you do, it does not close the metacarpal tunnel so much. Even if you do not get the syndrome, bending your wrist so that your palm is at the back of the guitar can restrict your finger movement and slow you down. It is a hard habit to correct. As a teacher I would bring it up, only when it seemed to be causing a problem. Experiment away from the guitar: wiggle your fingers with wrist bent and then straight. See which you can move more freely and faster.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 13:45

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