View Full Version : Playing the G chord.

05-16-2015, 05:57 AM
I just got it into my head that I could be playing this chord much more efficiently. Instead of playing it 1/2/3 it would be 2/3/4. This allows me a really fast and efficient transition from G to G7 which is very common. I've really struggled with this transition and I'm somewhat convinced it's always going to be a difficult one for me with these old fingers and old brain. So this makes it a snap. Also going from G to E7 becomes a snap. There are other advantages it seems.

If this is all true then it's a big benefit for me. The difficulty arises from the fact that being fairly new and having my G chord be an automatic move now It's frustrating to have to slow everything down and relearn one of my most dependable chord shapes however difficult the transitions are.

So, before I completely embark on this somewhat scary move into a new chord shaping I want to know what you all think of this idea? Any drawbacks? I think I can make the change within a week if I dedicate myself to it but I'd like to be reassured that this will work for me. Thanks for your imput.

05-16-2015, 06:03 AM
Using the 234 fingers for G can be great for certain transitions. I am constantly telling my kids anytime you can use pinky try it out, as it will help strengthen it.

I like the 234 fingering when going into an e minor chord. I'll do G with 123 fingering and to do e minor just plop your pinky over. G to G7 or G to E7 are also great examples. Use that pinky!

05-16-2015, 06:42 AM
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to make a tool of this damn pinky or bust. :music:

05-16-2015, 06:52 AM
A phenomenal guitar teacher I once studied with, Howard Morgen, once taught me that a chord's fingering is informed by the chord it follows and the chord it precedes.

I'll frequently use my pinky for the simple C in first position if the next chord is a D, for example. I find it fun to decide what fingerings will work best for me when I'm learning a song.

05-16-2015, 07:14 AM
243 is certainly a good way to get to G7 (213), but for G I mostly use a partial barre and 2 (121), and I haven't found the transition to G7 from there to be especially difficult. YMMV.

05-16-2015, 07:21 AM
I just love this place. Thanks I'll play with that and see how it feels.

05-16-2015, 07:25 AM
I think whatever finger combination makes playing easier and more enjoyable is a very good thing, so use what works for you. I encourage beginners to try the "standard" fingers when first learning to make chord shapes for a good foundation. Then, as they progress, I encourage them to use the fingers that naturally work for them.

05-16-2015, 07:31 AM
well this doesn't work at the moment. My pinky does not have a good connection to my brain compared to my other fingers. I will need to do more than just what feels natural at this point. But I have wanted to work on my pinky for 6 months and never have found a way to really dedicate myself to that task. Now, this way, if I want to play the most basic song I will need full use of that little guy. So unless I hear a good reason that it's not a good idea to play it that way I'm going for it.

(I hope I'm going for it I mean, no use claiming something until it's in the bag)

05-16-2015, 07:32 AM
I just love this place. Thanks I'll play with that and see how it feels.You talk about relearning, but it doesn't have to be one or the other, you can still use the old way as well. It just depends where you are going, and where you've been. But don't give up one for the other, keep them both.

05-16-2015, 07:36 AM
In the first few pages of "The Daily Ukulele" fakebook, the author talks about chords and fingering. He seems to think that the 234 fingering is a good way to go and gives several reasons/examples. The way to relearn (or learn) is slow and consistent. There little to nothing you can't accomplish doing it that way.


05-16-2015, 08:19 AM
A good practice technique is to play a Em7 203 and then alternate the G7 213 and the G 243 by moving your index finger 1 and your pinky 4 up and down. Strenghtens your pinky and gets you acclimated to play the chords in a newer way. I also bar the G 121 alot, which then makes going to the G7 easier.

05-16-2015, 08:30 AM
You talk about relearning, but it doesn't have to be one or the other, you can still use the old way as well. It just depends where you are going, and where you've been. But don't give up one for the other, keep them both.

That thought dawned on me but my inexperience left me confused as to if I'd become confused doing it several ways but I've just realized typing this that I already do that naturally with some other chords. Thanks for reminding me.

05-16-2015, 09:42 AM
I love the "pinky G"! When I ordered my first ukulele from Musician's Friend, I also ordered Jim Beloff's The Daily Ukulele, on on page 11 he talks about the virtue of the pinky G and his argument for learning it (easier transition to G7 and E7 and sliding down that ring finger for C) was enough to convince me to learn the pinky G from the start. My trouble is the standard G form feels very unnatural to me (where the pinky G feels great), and there have been a couple instances where the standard G would have been a better form based on where I need to go next with my fingers. I am a fan of the pinky G and I hope you do feel encouraged to learn it.

Ukulele Eddie
05-16-2015, 09:44 AM
For songs where you need to go to an E7 or G7, then it can be great. But for songs where you don't, you can keep playing it the way it's currently engrained. Point being, there are multiple ways to fret many chords and if you practice both, you can do the one that is easiest for any particular song.

Similarly, many people only play the C chord with their third finger. Sometimes it's better to use your pointer or fourth finger to speed up a transition to what comes next.

05-16-2015, 09:54 AM
agreed I often make shortcuts in transition and at times play the c chord with my pinky. I have one, I might as well make use of it.

05-16-2015, 11:24 AM
Great thread, and a good reminder to continue searching for different ways to play. Love the pinky G. I know I read about it before but it just didn't resonate until now LOL.

05-16-2015, 11:27 AM
you have moved into the pinky club. Look for it coming soon to UU groups. Wait, nevermind, I actually wanted to do something with my pinky.

05-16-2015, 11:27 AM
For people coming to the ukulele from the guitar, the standard G form on the ukulele is the open position D chord, and fingers 123 are how that is most often played, though we also use other fingers if the need arises. So for us, the 123 fingering would be the most natural. However, unlearning muscle memory is certainly doable. Al a person needs is a very good reason (motivation) and the ability to practice slow and consistently, which is really a part of learning anything new on a musical instrument.


05-16-2015, 11:29 AM
Thanks for the reminder. Slow, and motivated. :agree:

05-16-2015, 01:23 PM
I don't have Jim Beloff's Daily ukulele book extolling the values of the pinky G chord. I do respect his opinions a lot. I first learned from his books to do the D chord with the pinky on 0222 (as 2nd, 3rd, and pinky on the second frets). It's definitely worth the trouble to learn that. In the case of the G major chord, I would recommend knowing both fingerings for the G. Since, it is not easy to land on the G chord (using the pinky G) coming from another chord even for a seasoned player. I would use that pinky G chord when required by the song. In fact, it's kind of funny that I figured out a trick to land on the tricky Ab major chord that is basically the pinky Ab major chord. Always think E7, position the ghost fingers on the strings as E7 and remove or move them up to the pinky G chord. Works well for the pinky G as well as the pinky Ab.




05-16-2015, 03:14 PM
nice, thanks for that in depth response. I shall ponder your advice carefully. My world is opening up again. I'll tell you that for an aging brain learning ukulele is a wonderful exercise.

05-16-2015, 03:44 PM
Oh and btw your comment on using the pinky on the g chord being hard to land even for seasoned players is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I'll still learn it but not as a main way of forming that G. You really were a lot of help. It's always so good to hear from someone who's been down that road you're wondering about. This place is amazing for that. I learn from everyone including rank beginners.

05-16-2015, 04:18 PM
You're welcome. You always need other people for ideas, even myself! hehe Beloff's D chord put me on the right track years back. That guy is great! 8-)


05-16-2015, 11:45 PM
It is refreshing to see that there are others who explore alternate fingerings. The pinky C, and keeping #1 up while doing F and G7 makes D - G -A the same three chord shapes as in C, but #1 becomes a barre on the second fret. It also works well for E7 in other spots on the fret board when #1 is there to fill in on the second string. It is more difficult unlearn -relearn than to learn the use of the pinky in the beginning. Thank you for the post, and the supportive replies.

05-18-2015, 02:21 AM
I usually play the G / G7 with my middle finger "resting" on the C string and the index and ring finger kind of "rotating" around that anchor point:
G: 0 2 (middle finger) 3 (ring finger) 2 (index finger)
G7: 0 2 (middle finger) 1 (index finger) 2 (ring finger)

For a transition from G to Em I simply add my pinky on 4th fret C string to the G shape, btw

05-18-2015, 03:28 AM
Well I don't want to :deadhorse: but I believe my age super late start up date and genetics conspire to limit my technique. No matter how hard I try there is no way I'm going to be able to plant all these fingers together, at the same time. This surely slows everything down. I'm almost good enough at it though now where I can usually still play up to or near the normal speed of the song with some fluidity. That likely wouldn't be very acceptable to the young and nimble. My memory is shot also so I have to sight read all my playing as I play. No other way but the benefit is I can read and play simple chords pretty fluidity (and sing). If I could come up with a way to get all my fingers working as a single unit when needed I'd be in hog heaven. But I have all sorts of other issues to contend with and pain and then there's the thumb arthritis. Getting old...

Robin Harrison
05-19-2015, 05:13 AM
Coupla things.

I'm newish to the 'uke but have discovered by personal experience and by reading here that when trying to decide on how to finger a chord, you do what Turtlehead suggests..

A chord's fingering is informed by the chord it follows and the chord it precedes.
So the answer to the question of how do I form a chord is, well, it depends on where I've been and where I'm going.

Second............I LOVE the many , many "AH HA!" moments I get on the 'uke.

Last night I was practising the pinky-centric G/G7 change which I had not done before and also thinking about the suggestion of trying different fingerings for the same chord.
Then this morning I was figuring out different fingers for the progression D to G to A7 for a reggae strum with a mute ( lifting the fingers on the upstrum) for which I didn't want any open strings.
Well the D & G are obvious enough.....frets 2225 & F shape barred at the 2nd fret. But this A7 is not, either to play or remember.....freting it 2434 played with 1324.
Then this thought from the previous night that I was using my pinky for a different chord (good!) and then realized that this A7 chord (2nd position) is a movable G7 using your index finger on the 2nd fret in the the usual G7 shape but fret it 324.
It also helps greatly with the memorising.....I seem to remember more easily that a chord is for example, a G7 shape at the 2nd fret than remembering it's shape or finger numbers etc.
If I had started this message in a different thread I would have titled it " Another reason I love the 'ukulele, the AH HA!" moments"
Thanks to all and I hope it makes some sense to you.