Open any book of beginner guitar chords and you’ll invariably find the classic G and C chord positions shown below.
But these are not the only way to play these open chords. It took me a while to find out, but when I played with more experienced guitarists they hardly ever used the standard G chord shape.
Instead I use a slight variation shown in the diagram below. I call this variation the G rock chord because it’s so common in rock songs. I’ve become so used to this shape that I almost hardly ever play the classic G chord shape anymore. It has a fuller, richer sound that the classic shape.
There’s also a variation of the common C chord shape, shown below. The note on the first string played with your fourth finger is coloured light grey because it is optional.
It’s not used quite as much as the G chord above, because it modifies the chord’s sound slightly due to the addition of a 9th note from the scale. It still sounds great in a lot of places though, try it out in songs you know and let your ear tell you if it works or not.
The really cool thing about these two chords is that it’s so easy to play them together. You only have to move your first and second fingers down one string from G to C and then back up one string from C to G.
This combination works wonderfully in the key of G, and you can find it in the song All I Want, by U2, for example (note that you’ll need to add a capo at the first fret if you play along to the original).
Go through the songs you know and try them out with one, the other or both of these chord variations. You’ll discover some interesting new sounds to spice up your playing.