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Help with G Chord Needed

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 tmac
(@tmac)
Eminent Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

Hey Everybody,

I'm having a problem getting my pinky and ring finger to do the stretch between strings 1 and 6 for the G Chord. They just don't wanna share that space and it's frustrating the heck outta me.

It's easier to use the middle finger on the 6th string, but that slows the transistion for me from the C chord. Plus, I figure this stretch will come up again at some point, so I may as well start working on it now.

Can anyone suggest some advice or excercises on how to make this easier?

tmac :?

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
- Audre Lorde


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

The "usual" way to fret the G chord is index finger on the 5th string (2nd fret) middle finger on the low E and the little finger on the high E. I would never use my ring finger to play the low E.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Greybeard's method allows you to add the 3rd fret of the B string for a different G voicing, but the fingering I use most often is 2-3-4, with the ring/pinky split you describe. Unless your hands are particularly small, it's likely a matter of position.

Try placing your little finger first. Then play with the angle of the guitar in three directions - try raising the headstock; try moving the headstock away from your body a bit; and try 'flattening' the face of the guitar so it's more vertical. A lot of beginners have minor flaws with guitar position that become major problems with sme chords... it's a natural thing to want to see what you're doing, so the guitar gets angled a bit in each direction so you can watch your hands. You're likely to find that some position adjustment suddenly gives you the reach you need.

Once you've figured out the guitar position, take a look at your fretting hand wrist. The wrist should be relatively straight (so the forearm and the back of the hand are in pretty close to a straight line). If you're dropping your wrist a lot - making an angle t the back of your hand - you've got the headstock too low, and you'll want to make some more adjustments to prevent wrist strain.

I have an 11 year old student who had the same problem - he plays a classical guitar, so the width of the neck made the G tough for him. We adjusted his position a bit at a time, and now he plays it like an old pro - it took him about 4 weeks (but we only worked on it a couple minutes at most at each lesson).

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(@greybeard)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Thinking about it, you can use just 3 & 4 on the low E and the high E - use your ring finger to damp the A string, for another very sweet voicing of the G chord.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@tim_madsen)
Prominent Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 724
 

I finger it the same as NoteBoat, it makes it a lot easier for me to transition to and from C & F. G was hard for me to finger at first, it took a couple weeks to get it down. I think it was mostly a problem of muscle memory.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe


   
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 tmac
(@tmac)
Eminent Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

NoteBoat, Tim and greybeard, thanks for your replies.

I don't think I have particularly small hands, and my challenge doesn't seem to match that of 11 year old hands working with a classical neck. I'll move around a bit and see if I can find a position that is more suitable for me and then keep working at it until muscle memory helps.

Now that I know it'll take a bit longer than my ever-impatient self assumed it should, I'll keep at it.

Thanks again, I really appreciate your responses.

tmac

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
- Audre Lorde


   
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(@oldiron)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 111
 

The Mel Bay "Teach yourself Guitar" method shows the G using the 2nd,3rd,4th fingers. I would assume this would allow a quick transion to the G7 which they show using the 1st,2nd,& 3rd fingers. All you would have to do is fret the third fret with the pinkie to move between the two. I've been working it both ways but I have a piano players long fingers.

I may be going to hell in a bucket but at least I'm enjoying the ride. (Jerry Garcea)


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Yes, all the Bay books I've seen (and many others) show 2-3-4 as the 'correct' fingering. A lot of folk music/easy guitar/learn to play in a weekend type books show 1-2-3.

The best fingering will be the one that minimizes motion.... motion of the fingers, hand, and wrist. The less motion, the faster (and smoother) you'll change. In most situations, that means 2-3-4. I'll use 1-2-3 for tunes that have no 1st fret notes - that way I can keep my hand in second position. A couple that come to mind right off the top of my head:

Over the Hills and Far Away (G-D, with the notes from the riff on the 2nd & 4th fret)
Locomotive Breath (Em-G-D-B)

But most of the time I use 2-3-4.

Just about every chord has alternate fingerings. Here are the different open A fingerings I use:

1-2-3
2-3-4
2-1-3
1-1-1
3-3-3

Again, it depends on where I'm coming from/going to. So A beats G by a score of 5-2 :)

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