I'm playing guitar in the orchestra for a musical at my high school and I was having trouble voicing a G2 chord. I feel like an open voicing would be overkill so I wanted to use a shape that is movable across the neck and doesn't require any open strings. To me this is an unusual chord but the score requires me to play these types of chords quite often. Any tips for finding an appropriate voicing?

Also, I guess what's also giving me trouble is the fact that I'm actually unsure of what the notes for this chord are. Is this the same as a Gsus2 where I omit the third and substitute it with a 2nd? or is it more like a G7 (dominant chord) where I keep the third and add a minor seventh ( in this case I would add a major 2nd in the same octave as the root)? My guess is that it's former but ultimately I'm unsure.

https://i.sstatic.net/9k8AW.jpg Here's the sheet music in question. The song is Who I'd Be from the Shrek The Musical in case you wanted to hear it for reference.

  • 1
    Laurence Payne has given a good answer to your specific question below, but I can add a little context. So called "2" chords are fairly common in pop music, but in jazz they are usually labeled as "add 9." The rock group Steely Dan created their own name for these chords; they called them "Mu" chords. Here's an article about their voicings that includes some moveable versions:guitarplayer.com/technique/…
    – Peter
    Jan 22, 2019 at 18:05

3 Answers 3


It could be written better. The 'D2/F#' is D add9/F#, as there is the M3 as well as '2', although the 'G2 is actually Gsus2. So with the Dadd9, you could play F# and E, but an octave apart, with something in between. I guess others in the orchestra will be playing notes from the same harmony, so listen to what's going on, or look at the full score, or ask the conductor, to ascertain what the best voicing is at that bar. You may find just a couple of notes is best, rather than a full four note chord.

Apparently 'G2' does exist, but it must be in a parallel universe where only guitarists live. On guitar, the open version is E3, A0, D0, G2, B0, e3. I'm sceptical...

Just watched another 'educational' video, where someone still wet behind the ears tells the world that G2 is an open G chord, but with the 2nd string on 3rd fret: E3, A2, D0, G0, B3, e3.. That's actually an ordinary, differently voiced G major. No '2' even in there.Trouble is, lots of budding guitarists believe such rubbish.

  • You know, I saw a similar video and it might be the same one actually that you're reffering to and it didn't seem correct. I'm glad you're on the same opinion. Anyway, listening to the song makes me think that it is Gsus2 chord and I will voice it as such with your feedback in mind. Thanks!
    – K. Zoe
    Jan 22, 2019 at 12:25
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    Did you even LOOK at the page of music @K. Zoe posted? The required voicing is clearly notated.
    – Laurence
    Jan 22, 2019 at 13:31
  • 1
    @LaurencePayne - yes, I even looked at it. And I even looked again, and established that while both chords were labelled '2', it didn't make sense. G is sus2, while D is add2 or add9. If the writer can't get that right, I'm not going to believe anything else written. Call me sceptical - I'd say realistic. I'm used to deciphering guitar music, and while the dots are saying one thing, the symbols another, I offered advice from experience. Could have just answered 'read the dots'. Somewhat glib.
    – Tim
    Jan 22, 2019 at 14:09
  • The dots win. No need to consult the full score or the conductor. The symbols don't fully describe them.
    – Laurence
    Jan 22, 2019 at 14:13
  • @LaurencePayne - I'd still want to hear what everyone else's part of the jigsaw is. Sometimes the dots just aren't right. Big band arrangements allow all sorts of typos and mistakes to creep in. Surely you've met some?
    – Tim
    Jan 22, 2019 at 14:16

G2 is technically the same as G(add9), with some extra information about the voicing (yes, chord symbols DO occasionally include voicing information).

But you need to consider the possibility that what the music really wants is G(sus2).

But that's general discussion. This is a specific instance, you've posted the actual part, and it's perfectly clear. Play what is notated. On the next line of music where the same chord symbol is written without notation, play the same voicing. Just reading chord symbols doesn't cut it for this sort of job, you need to read notation as well!


The chord voicings specified in the actual sheet music for this G2 are equivalent to (3 x 0 2 3 x) {EADGBE}, but I'm not sure exactly what fingering you'd prefer, so here are some alternatives:

  • (3 5 7 7 x x) (this one's moveable)
  • (3 5 x 2 3 x)
  • (x 10 12 14 14 x) (an octave up)
  • ((x x 7 9 11 11) (an octave up)

Be aware that G2 as a chord symbol means a lot of different things to different people, but it's always important to include the 2nd (9th) in the chord. In this case, it's Gsus2. Worst comes to worst, you could ask the conductor. I'd likely stick to what is written here, however you choose to execute it.

Same for the D2, which in this case is (2 x 4 2 x 0) or equivalent forms, although here there's no root! Likely, the symbols here are pretty useless. I strongly recommend just playing what's written in standard notation, and also ask the conductor about it. Likely, the rest of the orchestra will be outlining these chords im much greater detail, and you wouldn't want to step on anyone's toes by playing something different.

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