Playing in The Key of G Major

The Chords

There are 7 chords in the key of G major. They are:


Of the above 7 chords, the most commonly used are G, C, D, and Em, so we’re going to be focussing on these specific chords in this lesson.

In the Key of G major, it’s also quite common to use the Cadd9 chord in place of the C chord. I think the Cadd9 is slightly easier to use alongside the G, D, and Em chords so we’re going to be using it in this lesson.

Step 1 – Open Chord Playing Technique

Before we get into using and changing between chords, we first need to make sure that we’re playing the chords correctly.

The way you play your open chords will come down to the way your hands and fingers are built. But there are some simple guidelines.

Use A Closed Grip

I like my students to use a closed grip when playing open chords. There are a number of reasons for this.

  1. It’s the most natural way of gripping the guitar neck. Your hand and fingers feel strong in this position.
  2. It brings the thumb over the top where it’s (very importantly) able to mute the low E string.
  3. It angles the fingers which help you reach across the frets.
  4. It creates a solid curl on each of the fingers.
  5. It gives your more contact with the instrument, creating more reference points for the fingers.
  6. All the pros use a closed grip when playing open chords. The proof is in the pudding.

This said, depending on the shape of your hand and fingers, you might need to play in more of an Open Grip. This can sometimes be the case if you have smaller, chunkier fingers.

OK, so let’s apply these guidelines to the following:

How to Play the G chord

Video here…

How to Play the Cadd9 chord

Video here…

How to Play the D chord

Video here…

How to Play the Em chord

Video here…

Step 2 – Changing Between the Chords

Below is a list of every change that

G to Cadd9

G to D

G to Em

Cadd9 to D

Em to D

Em to Cadd9

Strumming and Changing Between Chords

The method…

Songs Using G, Em, Cadd9, and G

List here…