How to Play a G Chord on Guitar

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Learning any instrument can be a fun and engaging process but mastering the guitar can be especially exciting for several reasons.

The guitar is used in many different genres and music styles, making guitar playing extremely useful when learning your favorite songs on your own or making music with friends. Additionally, the guitar is relatively small and portable, making it easy to take anywhere with you.

If you’re just starting to learn to play guitar, congratulations! You’ll have a lot of fun with this instrument and enjoy the experience of growing your skill. Learning G chord guitar techniques is a great place to start.

However, learning how to play any instrument will take time and practice. At first, some of the aspects of playing guitar may seem quite difficult. One of the biggest challenges that new guitar players face is learning to place the fingers of their left hand (or right hand for left-handed players) in the correct positions to play chords.

What Is the Proper G Chord Guitar Finger Placement?

Like any chord on the guitar, there are a few different ways to play the G chord, one of the most basic chords that every guitar student should learn. The different ways create different voicings, which means that the notes that make up the G chord are presented in different orders.

Generally, most beginners will learn this G chord finger placement within their first few guitar lessons with a teacher. It’s one of the most basic G chord guitar fingerings.

For right-handed people learning guitar, their left hand will finger these notes to create the G chord sound. The G major chord is made up of the notes G, B, and D, so this fingering is designed to make these notes sound without being too complicated for inexperienced players.

For guitar, the fingers of the left hand are labeled as such:

  • The pointer finger is 1
  • The middle finger is 2
  • The ring finger is 3
  • The pinky is 4

The thumb is not labeled on the left hand since it is not generally used to finger chords. If you are a left-handed person, you will use these numbers to label the fingers of your right hand instead. The G chord guitar fingering applies to people with either hand dominant.

As you can see in the above G chord finger placement, you will be using your first, second, and third fingers to sound the G chord.

Your second finger goes on the third fret of the low E string, sounding a G; your first finger goes on the second fret of the A string, sounding a B; and your third finger goes on the third fret of the high E string, sounding a G.

The G and B strings are left open, as these notes are naturally a part of the G major chord and therefore don’t have to be altered in any way.

This G chord guitar finger placement is great for beginners and novice players, particularly because it doesn’t involve any bar chord fingerings. A bar chord is a guitar chord in which one finger presses down multiple strings on a given fret, which is what many guitar players use tools called capos for.

Bar chords can involve just two strings being fretted by a single finger, or even all of the strings being fretted by a single finger while the other fingers create a chord shape on top of the barred strings.

Looking for a more advanced version of the G chord acoustic guitar? Though this G chord guitar fingering version may be slightly easier on acoustic guitars than electric ones due to the thickness and toughness of electric guitar strings, you can play all guitar chords on both acoustic and electric guitars as long as the guitar is in proper tuning.

Let’s take a look at the G bar chord, which is best for intermediate to advanced players:

Your first finger will be pressing down the third fret of all six strings of your guitar to create this version of the G major chord. Then, you’ll place your third finger on the fifth fret of the A string, your fourth finger on the fifth fret of the D string, and your second finger on the fourth fret of the G string.

When these fretted notes are sounded together, they will create the G, D, G, B, D, and G, all G chord notes that make a complete sound. The resulting G chord guitar resonance is a feature of many popular tunes.

Much like the infamous F chord and other bar chords, the G bar chord is difficult due to the finger and forearm strength it takes to effectively fret six strings at once with a single finger. However, this version of the G chord is a great challenge to work up to once you’ve mastered the basic version of the G major chord.

G major is not the only version of the G chord; G minor is another common G chord guitar fingering that many guitar players will learn within the first few months of guitar lessons.

While the notes found in the G major chord are G, B, and D, the chord becomes minor when you change the B to a Bb. Therefore, the fingering of a G minor chord will be relatively similar to most G major fingerings, except with each B note lowered by one fret.

Phina Pipia

Phina Pipia is a writer, educator, and performer. Her work can be found at

Phina Pipia

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