11 September 2009

Guitar Chord Lesson - G Major

This beginner guitar lesson shows you a G chord fingering commonly used in rock music. You'll learn how to add some interesting bass movement to the chord and use this technique to play the song Walk Away by Ben Harper.

G Major Chord

Let's start the lesson by taking a look at the chord fingering you're going to use. The standard open G major chord fingering you may have learned already is shown in the first chord diagram. In this lesson you'll be using the alternative fingering shown after it.

Notice the bottom two strings are fretted at the third fret. This adds an additional 5th note turning the chord into a kind of G5 chord. Strum both chords to get a feel for the difference in sound before moving on to the first exercise.

G ChordG Chord Alternative

Exercise 1

In this first exercise we're going to start playing around with the bass notes to create some interesting movement. Use your thumb and two fingers of your right hand to pick the notes as shown in the tab below.

The little descending and ascending line uses the 6th, major 7th and root degrees of the G major scale. Practice playing the pattern as shown below and then experiment to make up some patterns of your own using these bass notes. Note that you can also use the other high strings if you wish.

Exercise 2

The second exercise takes your use of the G major scale on the bass notes a little further. As you play through the pattern below you move the bass note from the root of the chord up to the 6th degree and back down again.

As you can see the open G chord lends itself nicely to creating little runs or melodies using these notes. Experiment with some little runs and rhythm patterns of your own using two or three notes at a time.

If you know how to perform them you will find that hammer-ons or pull-offs work well with these kind of bass lines. We'll see an example in the next exercise inspired by the Ben Harper song Walk Away.

Walk Away

Walk Away is a beautiful ballad by Ben Harper from the his Welcome to the Cruel World album. The verse is based entirely on a moving bass line over a G chord more or less as in the exercise below. Play the bass notes with your thumb and pluck the two notes on the 2nd and 3rd strings simultaneously.

The song is quite simple to play with the main difficulty being the rhythmic placement. You'll also need to mute the bass notes just after playing them to get the staccato sound. The chorus uses exactly the same pattern over a C chord - simply move the bass notes down one string to the 5th string.

This lesson has shown you an open G chord fingering that is commonly used in rock music. You've also learned how to create some interesting bass movement by using the G major scale. Experiment with these notes to make up some bass licks of your own to include in your songs.

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