Tips & Techniques

Playing G major chord with only 2 fingers

Lesson #83

Video Overview

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Editor’s notes

In this quick practice tip, I’ll teach you how to play the G-chord using only two fingers! I’ll explain why this is easier to do than a normal G, and show you how it frees up your other fingers to play cool flourish notes. This can be used anytime you have to play a G-chord, and is something I use quite a bit. I’m excited to show it to you today.

Normal ways to play G

First, let’s review the common voicings for the G-major chord, that you’ll often see when learning guitar. Here’s the typical way the G-major chord is taught, where you have 3 left-hand fingers fretted. This can be played with these two different finger positions:

e –––3––– <== left pinky              e –––3––– <== left ring or pinky       
B –––0–––                             B –––0–––                      
G –––0–––                             G –––0–––                      
D –––0–––                             D –––0–––                      
A –––2––– <== left middle             A –––2––– <== left index      
E –––3––– <== left ring               E –––3––– <== left middle        

You can can play this “4 finger” version of the G major chord, which looks like this. The 3rd fret on the second string (i.e. the B string) gives us a “D” note, which is the 5th tone in the G-major scale. Without that finger, the “open” second string gives us the “B” note, which is the 3rd tone in the G-major scale. Remember, a G-major chord is simply composed of the 1-3-5 notes in the G major scale… so both of these voicings are valid ways to play G chord!

e –––3––– <== left pinky
B –––3––– <== left ring                
G –––0–––                
D –––0–––                
A –––2––– <== left index
E –––3––– <== left middle  

The 2 finger “easy” version

Here’s the easier way to play G, that I show in my video above. This only uses two fingers, and in my opinion is far easier to switch to once you get used to it. It also frees up your left middle and left index fingers for flourish notes, as I show in my video.

e –––3––– <== left pinky
B –––0–––
G –––0–––                
D –––0–––                
A –––x––– <== muted with left ring (lightly touch the string, don't push it down)
E –––3––– <== left ring

When to use which voicing of G?

Fortunately, I have a separate lesson explaining how you might think about “when” to use the different voicings I show above. It’s all based on context, and the other chords you’re playing. The goal is to set yourself up for easy chord switches, which I explain in this video:

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