as the title implies I'm having trouble playing the G chord. I have been following this tutorial on youtube:

which explains it pretty well, only problem I seem to be having is whenever I lay my fingers down my ring finger gradually starts to slip off of the E (6th string), or rings out a bit buzzy despite me holding down the string considerably. Could this problem possibly be due to finger strength? What do you suggest I do?

  • 3
    I don't know if it is really possible to answer this question without seeing you play. You don't need a whole lot of strength to play an open G chord; it is more about technique. You could try using different fingers; subtle shifts in elbow position can make a big difference. Also, beginners often mix up the 1st and 6th strings, and you can play an open G with the ring finger on either, so it is unclear which you are having trouble with. It can be difficult to chord with the ring finger on the 1st string (high E); this might be easier with the pinky.
    – user39614
    Feb 2, 2019 at 5:57
  • My apologies there was a typo in my original post. I meant to say my ring finger either slips off or curls in too much on the high E string. I will try the elbow thing as you mentioned. If that doesn't work I'll try substituting the ring for the pinky, so i'll be using index-middle-pinky instead of index-middle-ring. Also, I have a footstool but rarely ever use it. I have just been trying to learn all these chords as demonstrated in the video. Do you think elevation might help me with fingering this chord properly. Thanks for your post.
    – kwills
    Feb 2, 2019 at 6:14
  • 1
    It might help to angle the neck upwards a bit. As a general principle it is good to play with your wrist straight (you can't always do this: don't force it, just try to find comfortable positions with a straight wrist as a sort of guideline). When you tilt the neck up your hand will be closer to shoulder-level and your wrist will be straighter. You want a relaxed, mobile fretting hand. Control will come with practice. Note that there isn't a correct fingering for most chords; you should try as many ways as you can to play any chord, and the open G can be played many ways.
    – user39614
    Feb 2, 2019 at 7:15
  • I've been an autodidact on the guitar. I never took one single lesson but I've been teaching hundreds of children when I studied 7 years psychology, comparative education sciences, educational guidance and children behavior therapy. (this was my income on that time - and I was not taking the job away of any music teacher, as we lived in an underprivileged part of the town.) I was occupied by parent communities and some of the children were mentally and socially encumbered. The music school had told the parents ther was no sense to teach them music. I considered it as compensation. Feb 2, 2019 at 10:06

3 Answers 3


As in the comments.Your hand and fingers (and indeed arm) are not the same as everyone else's, so those fingers he's using may not be the best for you. A pinky on top E string may work better, or even both ring and pinky on 2nd and top strings respectively, for a slightly different sounding G chord. This works well for some, as those two fingers are stronger together.

You could also try ring on low E, middle on 5th and pinky on top string. The transition then to Em, which is common, will still work, but with a different fingering for the Em.

As David says, the arm position is important for G. Notice it's easier to produce more pressure on the fingertips by moving the elbow away from the body, using the bottom string as a fulcrum point.

What you need to do is use the guy's idea of common fingers for related chords, which is sound, but take it further. You may, for instance, find an alternative fingering for E to A which means another finger pattern for the A. In other words, don't just play any chord like it's shown in a lesson (specially on the net..!) but think about other options for the future.

The idea of a footrest: probably won't help much. but instead strap the guitar on so it's in a better position than on one leg, and high enough that your wrist isn't contorted. Play around with the angle of the neck, and please don't move the guitar so you can watch the fingerboard better. If it's that desperate, play in front of a mirror!

And try very hard not to strum those '6 open strings' at the end of bars to give yourself time to change like he does! It can sound pretty amateur. Simple solution - don't play the last upstrum - or - get the changes fast and tidy enough that you can do them properly.


There are two tricks by which you can compensate the lacking strength of your hand and fingers:

  • Instead of cramping the neck with the thumb right beyond the neck and pushing down the strings from above by your fingers - try to hold the wrist stiff, then turn the left arm by lifting the elbow slightly up turning outside left, as you were breaking the neck of a goose - but don't break the neck of the guitar! You are using the lever principle and the center of rotation is the point between thumb and the fingers. What happens: the strings are pressed on the frets without need of strength in the hand!

  • Now have a look at your right arm: Where is your elbow? It is hold above the body of the guitar touching the top of the soundboard. By pushing slightly with your right elbow of the guitar body and pressing the instrument softly against your body the neck will be pulled against your left hand and your fingers. Thus you may also compensate the missing strength of the left hand and fingers by using again the law of levers.


A way to solve this may be: Forget about ring finger. Use little finger instead. The guitar doesn't care which finger you use, but your hand very well may.

One possible cause might be a hypermobile last joint in your ring finger that bends backwards and then you can't hold the string right (the force you apply goes into making a lever on the joint, instead of pressure with the tip of the finger). If that happens to be your case, then it's not just an issue with your music performance; more importantly, it's a health issue, and you must make sure not to bend your fingers backwards when playing, as that damages the joint.

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