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  • G chord-multiple ways to form?

    Posted by GregF on October 4, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    Hello–I am new to the TAC family. I took in person lessons about 15 years ago so have a basic knowledge of chord formation. So far the 30 day challenge has been a great refresher and has kept me interested. My question is around the G chord. In the lessons Tony shows its formation using all 4 fingers. I learned it long ago using only 3 fingers with the index finger not being used and no finger on the B String. I tried to condition myself to learn the new way and have struggled as the 3 finger method is just ingrained in my brain. Is there a preferred formation? Should I try to unlearn the old way and relearn Tony’s way? I want to do whatever will be most useful for future song playing. Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

    Mychael replied 2 years, 5 months ago 8 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • That_Guy

    October 4, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    It really depends on what other chords are in the song that you will need to switch to or from. The three finger is good for songs in the key of C with a C and F chord being easy to transition to. The ring and middle finger keep the same formation and just go up or down a string. This is common in folk songs.

    If you play in the key of D you will probably need to switch to or from a D. In this case the four finger G is more convenient because you leave your ring finger planted as an anchor finger when switching between D and G. This is common in bluegrass

    If your good and fast enough you can really switch from any but the point is why make it harder than it needs to be if there is a more convenient option.

    In summary, which ever version makes it easier to switch to the next chord depending on exactly what chord that next one is

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  That_Guy.
  • jumpinjeff

    October 4, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Hi @GregF , no need to unlearn anything….your way is a super useful way. As That_Guy pointed out it just depends on what you are doing and what sound you want coming out of your guitar. Perhaps learning the new way in exercises would give you more options in your bag of tricks. You could keep playing the way you are comfortable with when you are playing songs or just playing around but at some point you will encounter situations where being able to do both will be super useful. Keep hanging around and you will be playing G chords ten different ways and you won’t even think about it.😄

  • GregF

    October 6, 2021 at 12:40 am

    Thanks for the replies. Sounds like I’m good either way and I agree that learning the new way as a second option is more tools in the toolkit. I appreciate the insight!

  • Bill_Brown

    October 6, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Hi @GregF , welcome to TAC. Hope your journey here is fulfilling. I also played the open G chord as you described – I still play it like that now. Like you said, it’s ingrained. So I treated the 4 finger G as a new chord as @jumpinjeff is suggesting. I only use it when there is some kind of picking pattern that requires it, otherwise I stay with the middle, ring, pinkie open G – index ready to go!

  • Michael-K73

    October 6, 2021 at 9:18 am
    • GregF

      October 6, 2021 at 11:47 am

      Thanks for posting the clip. I figured Tony would get to it once I’m further along in my journey.

  • OhWowMan

    December 2, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Hi @GregF I learned to play the G chord same as you, but it was 40 years ago in high school. Even though I haven’t play the guitar in decades, it’s difficult to “unlearn” what was habit forming so long ago. I’ve practiced and practiced Tony’s G, for about a month now, and I still find myself struggling. Just curious: How are you doing?

    • GregF

      December 2, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks for the reply. I have tried to use both forms depending on what I am playing but in all honesty I end up going back to my original 3 finger formation. Like you said it’s very hard to unlearn what I am so used to. So I think I’m going to just stay with it and not lose too much sleep over trying to change it. Good luck!

  • Moonhare

    December 3, 2021 at 1:11 am

    Thanks for posting this question. I did the 30 days course earlier this year and thought I will at least breeze through the basic chords I already knew then the 4 finger G came up. I was used to the 3 finger version and assumed I’d been doing it all wrong. I’ve been trying to force myself to play the 4 finger version ever since but it is still tripping me up. Having read the comments from @Bill_Brown @jumpinjeff and @that_guy I now feel I can hold my head up high and play the chord I’m used to when it makes sense. Thanks all! 🤟😎🎸

  • Mychael

    December 4, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Hey Greg,

    Ditto here.

    I am returning after 20 years without a guitar. I learned the 3 finger way but have seen others using the 4 finger method. I like the sound of the 4 fingers but struggle with old habits too. I also think there are times when the 3 finger allows other transitions more easily.

    My approach will be to learn both and apply them when appropriate. Besides, learning a new way develops synapses in the brain making new connections and opening the possibility to learn more and better.

    I don’t think you can go wrong either way but taking the more challenging road usually results in better skills.

    Have fun!


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