7 Ways to Play the G Major Chord on Guitar - Guitar Chalk (2024)

QUICK HIT: Seven G major guitar chord examples all played in a different voicing with diagrams, tabs and audio samples, ideal for personal study, teaching or quick reference.

This guitar lesson showcases seven G major chord guitar diagrams with corresponding tabs and audio samples. These voicings - some of the most common - are easy to learn and ideal for beginners or seasoned guitarists who want a way to expand their chord vocabulary without getting into complex chord shapes.

They're also highly usable and practical, meaning there are a ton of real-life musical situations where you could apply them.

Again, all of these G major chords are displayed with the following:

  • Full guitar chord diagram
  • Guitar tab version (of the arpeggiated chord - one note at a time)
  • Audio sample (audio of the arpeggio)

The following table of contents contains all the chords we'll cover, with a link that will jump to that particular chord's section when clicked. We'll start with the most common open G major chord shape and work our way down from there.

7 Ways to Play the G Major Chord on Guitar - Guitar Chalk (1)

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1: Open G Major

2: Root Plus the Fifth

3: G Major Triad

4: Full G Major Power Chord

5: Root Plus Major Third

6: Root Plus Octave

Conclusion

1: Open G Major

A Familiar Form of G major on the Guitar

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Open G major chord diagram.

7 Ways to Play the G Major Chord on Guitar - Guitar Chalk (4)

Open G major arpeggiated guitar tab

Despite having a high note count (using all six strings) this form of the G major chord is the most common and is often taught to beginners. It's considered an open chord because of the open D, G and B strings. While we do recommend learning it at some point, we wouldn't say it's the most functional option for beginners because it has so many notes.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 3rd fret
  • Intervals: Major 3rd, Perfect 5th and Octave
  • Difficulty: Moderate

2: Root Plus the Fifth

G Major Power Chord

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Dyadic G chord with only two notes.

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Tabbed version of the dyadic G chord.

This G chord is called a "dyad" because it contains only two notes, the root and the perfect fifth. It's also one of the most common power chord shapes, which has little to do with the root location. Still, if we assume the root G note, it's a great starter chord since you're focusing on just the root and one additional interval. You can recreate this shape anywhere there's a G root note on the sixth, fifth or fourth strings.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 3rd or 10th fret
  • Intervals: Perfect 5th
  • Difficulty: Easy

3: G Major Triad

Root, Major Third & Perfect Fifth

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G major triad chord diagram.

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G major triad guitar tab.

This chord should be played with your ring finger handling the root G note on the fifth fret, which means you'll curl your fingers similar to how you would when playing a C major chord on the guitar. It's a higher register chord, making it ideal for lead picking or arppegiated patterns.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 5th fret
  • Intervals: Major 3rd & perfect 5th
  • Difficulty: Moderate

4: Full G Major Power Chord

Root, Fifth & Octave

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Thick G major power chord example.

This is a thicker version of the first power chord shape we covered, which was only two notes. It adds an octave G above the root G on the third fret, giving the chord some added sustain and thickness. Considering the root locations of the G note, it can be played at the third and 10th fret positions.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 3rd or 10th fret
  • Intervals: Perfect 5th & Octave
  • Difficulty: Moderate

5: Root Plus Major Third

Dyadic G Major Tone Power Chord

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G major dyad with root and major third.

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Tab example.

This second dyadic shape is just a root G coupled with a major third, which conveniently lands one fret and string belowthe root. Again, it's located at the third fret, but can work at the 10th as well with the root G note anchored on the fifth string.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 3rd or 10th fret
  • Intervals: Major 3rd
  • Difficulty: Easy

6: Root Plus Octave

Dyadic G Chord (two Roots)

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Dyadic G with with only a root and octave.

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Tab example.

Our last dyad pairs two G notes 12 semitones apart with one at the third fret and another at the fifth. The two notes form an octave that is also a movable dyad and can be played in the key of G easily at the third and 10th fret positions.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 3rd or 10th fret
  • Intervals: Upper octave
  • Difficulty: Easy

7: Open G Major (modded version)

Open G Major Chord

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Modded version of the open G chord with a major second.

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Tab example.

This modded version of the open G chord adds a perfect fifth interval (the D note at the second string on the third fret) and is considerably easier to play than the original open G major. You can use your middle finger to grab the root note while your ring finger will play the high D note.

CHord Properties

  • Root location: 3rd fret (open chord)
  • Intervals: Perfect 5th, Octave
  • Difficulty: Easy

Conclusion

While this chord list is not meant to be comprehensive, they are some of the easiest ways to play the G major, given the layout and formation of a guitar fretboard. What this list is intended to do is give you a variety of alternative ways to learn and understand the G chord, other than the forms that are most commonly taught.

The first form we showed you - the conventional open G major with six notes - isnotthe easiest or most functional way to play the chord on the guitar.

Besides:

Starting a beginner off on a chord that requires all six strings isn't the most helpful approach.

As such, these shapes get you a measure of a variety and a few easier ways to approach the G chord. For guitar teachers, they also provide a linear learning path to follow, allowing you to comprehensively cover a chord with simpler variations that won't overwhelm your student.

Here are a couple downloadable resources:

  • PDF of this Lesson (not yet available)
  • Zip file with all the chord diagrams, tabs and audio samples (not yet available)

Sometimes using simpler chord shapes and working your way up to the more complex voicings is a better way to learn and to teach guitar chords. Start with the root note and add intervals as you go. Here are the intervals we've covered in this lesson:

  • Root (G)
  • Major third (B)
  • Perfect fifth (D)
  • Octave (G)

Your Questions & Comments

If you have questions about this material or even the supplemental content provided, feel free to ask them in the comments section below. We prefer that over an email, just because comments will stay on the page and have the potential to benefit future readers who might have similar questions.

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7 Ways to Play the G Major Chord on Guitar - Guitar Chalk (2024)

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