Learning to play chords is one of the most important fundamentals of guitar learning.

The first step in understanding chords is the way they are named. Their identification is placed by something called the root note or tonic. There are various numbers and/or abbreviations used sometimes to tell what type of chord it is, which will affect what other notes are used.




The most commonly used chord is the G Major. You can see the finger placements for G Major or just simply known as the chord of G. The G chord uses 3 notes, also called a triad. The notes are G, B, and D. This is the most commonly played chord in contemporary music today. The lowest note in the chord is the root note G.




  • G (tonic)
  • B (major 3rd above tonic)
  • D (perfect 5th above tonic)
  • G (tonic)
  • B (major 3rd above tonic)
  • G (tonic)



Insert diagram/photo of G Chord here Asher - same as D minor drawing

The B and D notes in this chord are always at a fixed number of semitones above the root. A semitone is also known as a half step and a tone is a whole step. For the G major chord the B note is 5 semitones above the tonic (root note). This is also called a major 3rd. The D note is 8 semitones above the tonic and known as a perfect 5th.




The easiest and most comfortable way to play the G chord is:


  • 1st or high E string use ring finger
  • 2nd or B string open
  • 3rd or G string open
  • 4th or D string open
  • 5th or A use index finger
  • 6th or low E string use middle finger


This finger hold also makes it very easy to switch back and forth between the G chord and C chord. This is important because G/C switching is very common in a lot of songs.


It is very important to get used to holding your fingers appropriately and with out cramping. You will want to practice holding the chord for a few minutes to see if your hand still feels all right. If not make sure to do some stretches and keep working at a comfortable finger grip.




Now that you know what a G chord is and have found a comfortable finger hold, it is now time to actually play the chord. You may say that is easy but proper and good strumming takes patience and practice. Many guitarists think that the Down, Down, Down, Up, Down strumming technique is easy, till they try it. Usually what happens is not this lovely musical expression but something different entirely. The first down stroke seems to be the easiest; it is the coming back up with out hitting the strings for the next 2 down strokes that seem to be a problem. This is a cause of great frustration for many new guitar players.


This can be overcome easily. It has nothing to do with rhythm or timing, it is your brain. It is the focus factor. You are focusing on where to place your fingers, how to hold the pick, how to sit, etc. Therefore, the brain is not fully focused on how you are strumming. That is why, as mentioned above, sitting with your fingers on the appropriate strings for a while before playing helps you to memorize where your fingers go. The art of strumming well is to not think about it - just do it!


What will really help to make strumming easier is the type of pick you choose. A soft pick is much better to use than a hard one. For most beginners a light and thin Dunlop pick is a really good option. They are very bendy and make more of a brushing action, rather than a digging action. Hold the pick firmly but not too hard and at a right angle to the strings. Stay loose when strumming. Having a rigid, tense arm will not make your technique better. It is very important to practice some strumming exercises to get the feel of how natural strumming really is.



Exercise 1:
  • Set your metronome for 80 bpm and hold the G chord on the guitar neck.
  • Tap your guitar body in time with the metronome for 5 minutes.
  • This is a great way to stay in beat and learn to focus on the strumming verses if you are in time.
Exercise 2:
  • Get ready to fret a G chord and set the metronome at 80 bpm.
  • Every time you hear the metronome click, strum the chord down once. This will get you used to the way the pick should brush the strings.
  • Do this over and over till it becomes repetitive. You are aiming at making the same sound over and over. Do not worry how loud you are.
  • Keep a loose feel to your body; tension is your worst enemy. Stay relaxed and down stroke to each beat of the metronome.
Exercise 3:
  • Hold your G chord as in exercise 2.
  • Now you will strum up after every three strums down to the ticking of the metronome. Try not to think too hard about this.
  • Count out loid as you go till it becomes natural, One-Two- Three-Four…One-Two-Three-Four, etc.
  • Your actions will be Down, Down, Down, Up…Down-Down-Down-Up. The first few times might throw you off but keep doing it till it feels as natural as walking.
Exercise 4:
  • Once you have mastered the above 3 exercises, set your metronome to 140 bpm and strum in the Down, Down, Down, Up sequence to the ticking.
  • Repeat at 50 bpm. You should be able to do this with out too much effort.
  • If you are finding it too hard go back to exercise 3.


Always remember to walk away for a while and only practice 45 minutes at a time. Otherwise, frustration will get the better of you and you will not be able to learn. Taking a break can help you achieve your desired strumming goals.