Some chords have a truly distinctive, special sound that makes them easy to recognize no matter what key they’re being played in or on which instrument. The chord of G Major is arguably one of these. It’s easy to pick out thanks to its jangling, bright sound and is the cornerstone of many classic pop and rock songs.
If you’d like to learn more about the G Major ukulele chord, then look no further. Our guide goes into the structure of the chord, as well as some of the different chord shapes you can use to play G Major. Finally, we cover some songs you might recognize that use the chord of G Major, so you can put what you’ve learned from the article into practice!
Looking for more chords? Check out our guide >>> Easy Ukulele Chords for Beginners to Learn First
You may have noticed that chords are often categorized with words like ‘major,’ ‘minor,’ and so on. These words refer to the type of triad that a given chord is based on. A triad is a group of three notes, and the words ‘major’ and ‘minor’ refer to the individual notes that make up a given triad.
G Major is based on a major triad, for instance. A major triad consists of its root note, a major third, and a perfect fifth. The G Major triad is made up of the notes G, B, and D. Words like ‘third’ and ‘fifth’ are called intervals, and they refer to the number of semitones between two tones. A major third is four semitones away from its root note, and it is the major third that gives major triads their warm, ‘major’ sound.
How to Play
The shape that the standard G Major chord takes on the ukulele may seem a little daunting or complicated at first. This is because it requires fretting with three of your fingers at once, and the shape of the chord itself can look a bit awkward. Still, we’d argue that it’s not as difficult as it might look, and that you will likely find your fingers are able to make the shape more naturally than you might have expected.
In order to play this version of the G Major chord on ukulele, leave the G string open while you fret the C string at the second fret with your first finger, the E string at the third fret with your third finger, and the A string at the second fret with your second finger. If you keep your fingers relaxed and try to limit the tension in your hand, you’ll likely notice that making this shape isn’t as tricky as it may have seemed at first.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the finger position that you use for the G Major chord on the ukulele isn’t unique to the chord of G Major. As you learn more chords, you will likely notice that that same shape crops up again and again. So, by taking the time to learn to play G Major, you’ll also be making it much easier for yourself to learn other new chords in the future.
Variation #2 – Higher Voicing
Not only is this chord shape somewhat easier to play than the standard G chord on the ukulele, but it offers some different tonal qualities, too. By playing much higher up the neck, you can get an open, ringing sound with this particular voicing.
Leaving the G string open, fret the C string at the 11th fret with your second finger. Then, you can simply barre the E and A strings at the 10th fret with your first finger. As this chord doesn’t require barring the entire fretboard like a standard barre chord, it should be considerably easier to hold.
Variation #3 – G Major Barre Chord
This is a chord shape that requires barring the fretboard, a technique that requires you to use one of your fingers like a bar across the fretboard in order to fret multiple notes at once. As far as barre chords go, this is an easier one to play, though, as it only requires fretting with two fingers.
Bar the G, C, and E strings at the 7th fret with your first finger. Then, fret the A string at the 10th fret with your fourth finger. This chord should have a warm and clear character, being played in the middle of the neck.
More G Chord Variations
Songs that Feature the chord of G Major
The characteristic, charming sound of the G Major chord has led countless musicians and songwriters to incorporate it into their music. These are just a few classic songs that use the chord of G Major:
- The Smiths – Girlfriend in a Coma: This wry, quirky classic by the Smiths has a driving beat and breezy, clean guitars which lean heavily on the G Major chord that gives this song such a distinctive quality.
- AC/DC – Highway to Hell: One of AC/DC’s biggest hits, Highway to Hell is based heavily on the chord of G Major.
- The Byrds – Mr Tambourine Man: Also famously covered by Bob Dylan, Mr Tambourine Man is a jangle pop classic that incorporates the G Major chord to tremendous effect.