QUESTION: I have seen books and other people play the G chord many different ways. Which is the best way to play it?
ANSWER: it depends… don’t you hate it and people say that? I couldn’t resist 🙂
Now for a more thorough useful answer.
If you’ve been paying attention to my blog posts and my free videos you’ll see me use a few forms of the G chord. I usually use most often the three finger G that includes my pinky because I find it one of the most versatile forms of G.
If you’ve enrolled in my guitar course Real Guitar Success you either will find out (or have already found out) that I teach five different forms of the open G chord. None of them are right or wrong. They all have a use depending on the situation. In this post I’ll show you the five forms that I use and explain a little about when I find them useful.
Single Finger G Chord
The first form is the easiest form. It uses only one finger… the third finger, sometimes called the ring finger. This form is the one I often use for young children or for any beginner that finds it difficult to finger basic chords. My attitude is there is absolutely no shame in starting off with the simplest form. In fact getting started is much more important, and once you begin playing it will become easier to move your fingers and make the more complex forms.
Two Finger G Chord
This next form builds on the single finger G. We’ll keep the third finger on the first string third fret and add the second finger on the six string third fret. This at a stretch to the chord but allows you to play all six strings. Well… That’s only partially true. If you look carefully at either my video or the chord diagram you’ll see that I’m actually muting out the fifth string. On the chord diagram you will see an “X”. That means mute.
For most applications this one sounds pretty much the same as the three finger G chord. It also allows you to play the bass note in the six string which the single finger G does not. It’s also not a very big leap to go to the three finger G chord. So… let’s do it.
Three Finger G Chord
The first form of the three finger G chord I teach uses the first, second and third fingers. This is a useful G chord and is often the first one people learn. In many cases I skip the two finger version and go right to this one.
Three Finger G Chord – Pinky Version
Yes, I’m talking about the little finger. I like to call it the “pinky” version because everybody gets it when I say that. To make this chord I’m using the second, third and fourth (pinky) fingers.
Now this one is actually my favorite and most used form of the G chord. The reason for that is that it’s easier to go from this form to the C and D chords. You’ll find that it is pretty common to go to these two chords from G.
Now it does take a little strength in the pinky. Many beginners have a hard time with that. I usually don’t go there at first and let them play for a while and get stronger. It’s usually just a matter of time. Personally I would recommend NOT stressing over it. It does help to do exercises that strengthen the pinky like my Speed Developer #2 exercise.
Four Finger G Chord
This is actually my second favorite form of the G chord. For some people this is easier than the three finger form with the pinky. I think it’s because the third finger feels like it’s supporting the pinky.
I like this form because it’s very easy to go to a Dsus4 chord from there. Still, I don’t use it anywhere near as often as I do the three finger G with the pinky.
Which Form Should I Learn?
If you’re a beginner student starting out try experimenting with the first two forms of the G chord. See which one is working for you. With either one you’ll find it easier to add fingers as you get more experience playing.
If you’ve been playing for a while, or if you are a beginner but find you have a little more dexterity I want you to learn all of the last three forms. Start with one and get comfortable with it. Then had another, and finally the third.
To really get comfortable with them you’ll need to apply them using songs and exercises. That’s where you really learn where each of the different forms is best.
One Final Thing...
These are not the only forms of the G chord, as you probably have guessed already. In fact many electric guitar players go right to the bar form of G. Even then there are many different forms using the bar.
I prefer to wait to teach the bar chords a little later on, but if you’re only goal in life is to play basic rock ‘n roll you might just want to skip the open chords and get right to it.
That’s it for now… Time for me to get back to my practicing 🙂
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