G Major Guitar Chord

This week I am starting a new series on the blog called ‘Chord Of The Month’. Each month I will choose a different chord and will be having an in-depth look at how it is constructed, the most common ways it is played and give some examples of songs and riffs that use the chord, enabling you to put it straight to use.
This month we are kicking off the series with the G chord. This was the first chord I ever learnt to play on the guitar and is one of the first chords I teach my students, due to the fact that it is so common in many popular songs. 
Even though G tends to be one of the first chords beginners learn, it is definitely not one of the easiest. This is due to the fact that you have to stretch the width of the guitar neck to hold down both strings one and six at the same time. As this chord is so Stretchtastic it will be quite tricky if you are just starting out, the good news though is we can actually play G with just one finger as shown below.
In the case of the one finger G we are using finger three in fret three on the first string (thinnest string) and strumming just the top three strings (thinnest strings), G, B and e. As we are only using one finger to play the chord we can focus more of our attention on technique, such as getting the correct finger position when holding down the string and placing the finger in the correct part of the fret. 
When trying to learn a new chord shape that uses multiple fingers most people jump in trying to get all their fingers down at once, think of it like someone learning to juggle and starting with three balls at once, they will be forever picking up balls off the floor. The better way to do this is one finger at a time, so now we have the one finger shape it is time to move on to two fingers by placing finger two on the low E string (fattest string):

When playing this shape use the underneath of finger two to lightly touch the A string (5th string) to mute it so it cannot be heard. Another common way to play this shape is to use fingers three and four instead of fingers two and three which results in this shape:

Using this shape can make changing to and from other chords easier such as C. The only problem with this shape is it does mean we are using finger four on string one, which is naturally a weak finger so you may find it difficult to use at the start until your little finger gets stronger.
Now that we have covered the two finger shape in its two variations it is time to introduce the three finger shape which also has two different variations:

This shape is normally the first type of G chord beginners try to play followed by the more common four finger shape. To play the four finger G we move third finger onto the B string and put finger four on the high e string, fret three. 

As you are holding down more strings this shape sounds fuller than the three finger shape. It also has some built in short cuts that will make it easier to change to certain chords, such as D chord. As the third fret on the B string is played in both shapes you do not have to remove your finger when changing from G to D, which makes the four finger G a good choice when changing to D chord. 
Just to recap here are all six G chord shapes covered so far.
So now we have a few shapes under our fingers lets turn our attention to what a G chord actually is and how it is constructed. Now don’t close the page, this is important and a little bit of theory will really help, trust me.
Let’s start off by giving the G chord its full name, G Major Chord. We tend to call major chords just by their letter names as that is how we write them, so a C Major Chord is just called C. 
When it comes to constructing a major chord we first start with the major scale, as we are building a G Major Chord we use the G major scale:
G  A  B  C  D  E  F#  G
Next we take the first, third and fifth notes from the scale as these are the notes in G Major Chord. G Major Chord consist of the notes G, B and D. 
If we now label the notes we play in our four finger G you can see it consists only of the three notes G, B and D.

The interesting thing about playing a chord is it only has three notes, yet the guitar has six strings. Therefore, when playing a chord we have to double or even triple some of the notes. 

If we take a closer look at our three finger shape from earlier you see we have three G notes, one D note and two B notes. 

If we now compare the three finger shape to the four finger shape you will see we have replaced one of the B notes with a D note. 

To make a major chord you need the first, third and fifth notes from the scale but as we only have three notes and six strings we need to double or triple some of the notes to allow us to strum all six strings.
Just before we move on to some songs that use G chord there is one more G chord shape which is worth taking a look at, that is G5 which is favoured by Angus Young of AC/DC. 

Below is the shape and as you can see it is based on the four finger G but you are not holding down the A string and instead muting it, this removes the 3rd (B) from the chord making it a G5 chord instead of a G Major chord.  
Angus Young can be heard using this shape in Highway To Hell, Shook Me All Night Long & Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, to name but a few. When playing this chord add some overdrive to the sound and hit the strings hard to get the Angus Young sound.
OK, so now we know a few shapes of the G chord and how it is constructed let’s put it to use in a few songs. Here is a list of songs that use the G chord:
So there we have it, everything you need to rock a G chord. I hope you have enjoyed this article and let me know in the comments what songs you are playing that use G chord.

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