The G Major Chord (Guitar Lesson)

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Will Ripley

The G Major Chord

The G major chord is one of the most common chords used in popular music. In this lesson, Will shows some of the more popular and useful variations of the chord.

Taught by Will Ripley in Rock Guitar for Beginners seriesLength: 5:26Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Lesson 27, Scene 1: (0:01) Demonstration of the chord progression. Chords are G5, Cadd9 and G7(no3rd)/F.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (0:21) It’s all about easy chords and chord songs right now. The example played for you is awesome, played in a classic rock style. A Guns n’ Roses and Free vibe going on in there…cool chords, nice rhythm.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (0:45) You can read chord charts, hopefully by now. Let’s throw up a chord chart…tossing it at you and seeing what you can do.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (0:57) Here is a big G major chord (with chord diagram visualization on the video). The frets are as follows: 3 2 0 0 3 3. We are going to use all four fingers in this chord. Try doing an arpeggio as well as a strum. The chord should sound clear with all of the notes ringing.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (1:11) The fingering of an open G chord is the following:
- 2nd finger on the 3rd fret of the 6th string
- 1st finger is on the 2nd fret of the 5th string
- 4th and 3rd strings are open (notice the “0’s on the chord chart)
- 3rd finger lined up on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string
- 4th finger is also lined up on the 3rd fret of the 1st string

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (1:35) Strum the G chord again.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (1:37) It’s common for bands like Led Zeppelin, Guns ‘n’ Roses and AC/DC to use a fingering of the G chord without playing the 5th string (actually muting that string). The second finger rests against the A string, or 5th string, causing it to be muted.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (2:07) Look at the chord chart and you will notice that the A string now has an “x” on it which depicts that the string is muted. You do not need to skip the string when strumming since it is now muted by the left hand finger. The concept of muting was discussed a little bit in a previous lesson/video.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (2:25) Muting with a left hand finger is somewhat of an advanced technique (and you are already learning it).

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (2:31) Strum/arpeggiate through the G chord once again (slowly). The chord is notated numerically, this way (from 6th string to 1st): 3 x 0 0 3 3. Playing the chord this way, “opens” up the sound. Technically, this is really called a G5 chord, since the 3rd tone isn’t played.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (2:44) Playing the 2nd fret (with 1st finger) on the 5th string has a close harmony (sound) to the bottom, or root note on the 3rd fret of the 6th string.

Lesson 27, Scene 1: (2:51) The standard G chord voicing (3 2 0 0 3 3 or 3 2 0 0 0 3) sounds a little thicker and is probably a little better suited for an acoustic guitar (or clean sounding electric guitar). Get used to the chord shape. It’s a good looking G chord and you see it all over the place.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:03) We will now move down to the next string (the relationship of the 1st and 2nd finger relative to the G{5} and Cadd9 chords).

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:12) We now basically have a Cadd9 chord (see diagram in video). You can see that we are not going to hit the low E string.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:22) In order to play a full Cadd9 chord, it is actually really similar to the G or G5 chord that we recently learned (from Scene 1).

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:34) In comparison with the E and Am chords (which were looked at in a previous lesson), the G and Cadd9 chords have the same finger pattern, but are just one string over from another (see demonstration in video). The 3rd and 4th fingers on the top 2 strings stay in the same spot (3rd fret of both the 2nd and 1st strings).

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:44) While switching from the G to the Cadd9 chord, the 1st and 2nd fingers move down one string each while the 3rd and 4th fingers stay at the same spot.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:53) Avoid the 6th string when playing the Cadd9 chord.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (0:55) Practice switching between the G(5) and the Cadd9 chords.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (1:15) Now, let’s go ahead and lift off the 1st finger of the Cadd9 chord, just like we practiced with the open G chord in the previous lesson. The D string will now be muted and we have the following chord voicing: x 3 x 0 3 3. This chord becomes a C5(add9), meaning there is no 3rd in the chord (C5 versus C, for example). Now strum the chord. It sounds a little different then the Cadd9 chord where the 1st finger was included.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (1:33) Moving the 2nd finger from the 5th string to the 4th string, while keeping the 3rd and 4th fingers down on the 3rd fret of the high E and B strings, creates the following chord which is F6add9(no3). Written out, the chord is x x 3 0 3 3 (6th string on the left side and 1st string on the right). Please refer to the chord chart in the video.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (1:55) This chord is a pretty sounding chord. It is similar to an F major but has an added 6th and 9th tone. Don’t worry too much about why certain chords have certain names for the time being.

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (1:59) Practice switching between these 3 chords: F6add9, C5add9 and G5 (or G). The chords are as follows (also see the supplemental material tab for specifics on these chords):
- F6(add9)(no3)= x x 3 0 3 3
- C5(add9)= x 3 x 0 3 3 (Cadd9= x 3 2 0 3 3)
- G5= 3 x 0 0 3 3 (G= 3 2 0 0 3 3)

Lesson 27, Scene 2: (2:03) Play around with these 3 chord voicings and have some fun, while making some music. These chords can sound pretty and powerful when played individually and mixed together.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (0:03) In consideration of the track, there are some rhythmic and percussive stops with the right hand.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (0:11) Play the G chord and stop it right away by dampening the strings by touching them with the right hand (directly down).

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (0:19) Do a quick switch from the G to the Cadd9 (demonstrated on the video). Then quickly go back from the Cadd9 chord to G (or technically called, G5).

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (0:31) Throwing in a little percussive hit (dead click or muted strum) after the rest and before the Cadd9 chord. This happens on the + of beat 3. Use the 1st finger to dampen or mute the strings by straightening and pressing it against the fret across all the strings.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (0:39) Typically the fingertips should be vertical in relation to the guitar strings, but when muting, the finger(s) become more flattened across the strings.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (0:49) Demonstration of the chord progression with appropriate rhythm.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (1:02) Adding the F6add9 chord (Ripley calls it a F-type chord) to the chord progression. Strum all those out – nice and clear. The end of the progression is F6add9-Cadd9-G5. First two chords get two beats in length and the last one is a full four beats.

Lesson 27, Scene 3 (1:25) “The progression/riff is powerful and pretty.”

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (1:38) “The entire progression is going to sound like this….” (progression played and demonstrated again). “You can just cycle through it over and over. It’s a super fun jam.”

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (1:57) This lesson (in review) is all about the following chords:
- G major chord (or G5)
- Cadd9
Lesson 27, Scene 3: (2:07) These two chords (G and Cadd9) you will see in more songs probably than any other chords, especially in acoustic pop and general acoustic guitar music, according to Ripley. “These two chords are just everywhere.”

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (2:22) We also have this cool F(type) chord, which can also work as a D minor chord as well (inverted).

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (2:34) Removing the 1st finger from the G chord, gives us more of a classic rock feel “G” chord (creating a power chord since there is no 3rd in the triad).

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (2:44) While we are on the topic of G chords really quick, you will see/hear a voicing like this (as presented in the video), with the B, or 2nd string, open. The voicing would be 3 2 0 0 0 3 (frets on each string, starting on the 6th string). Compared to the other voicing of G which is: 3 2 0 0 3 3. Both chords contain the same notes of G, B and D but just in a different configuration. Technically, when you break down the notes (pitch classes) of both G chord voicings, they are identical.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (3:03) You can also play a G chord with only two fingers, holding down the 3rd fret of both the 6th and 1st strings. The voicing would be 3 x 0 0 0 3, technically, still a G major chord. It is pretty common to have that B string (2nd string) ringing.

Lesson 27, Scene 3: (3:17) Memorize the chords and also work on the opening chord progression/riff.

Video Subtitles / Captions


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Rock Guitar for Beginners

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Length: 5:25 Difficulty: 0.0 FREE
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Right Hand Technique, Part 2Lesson 6

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Will Ripley

About Will Ripley View Full Biography

Will Ripley is a passionate guitarist who performs, teaches, and manages a successful music business. His wild stage presence and undeniable guitar skills transcend vibe and waveforms of the highest levels of energy.. His talents however, are directly related to years of staying “on the grind” and “paying his dues”. He has played with many bands, produced, composed and collaborated both solo and with top level musicians. He is a sought-after studio musician and works creatively with other musicians.

Coming from a blues and classic rock background, Ripley discovered 90?s rock in his late teens. Ripley’s style is unique. He’s been described as combining the blues guitar playing of Albert King and Jimi Hendrix with big riffs that are reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine with the booty shaking rhythms of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and N.E.R.D. Ripley also has a soft place in his heart for pop music ranging from The Beatles to Stone Temple Pilots to Kelly Clarkson.

In addition to creation and production of music, Ripley teaches guitar using a method he developed through his education and over countless sessions with learners of all ages and levels. This led to the development of a successful series of recorded lessons called Guitar Goals available from his website. As the founder of the Will Ripley Guitar School he has begun expanding as a franchise into other cities which has 1 location currently – the Vancouver Guitar School. Students the world over can learn guitar using this effective, rewarding, and enjoyable style at their own pace – with epic results!

Ripley seeks participation in authentic, professional-level music, with like-minded, enthusiastic, high-achieving musicians. With dreams of creating legendary songs, Ripley is open to new band mates, songwriting partners, and recording opportunities.

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Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!

Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.

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