Weak Finger G

In previous lessons, I’d mentioned this alternate fingering for the G chord, but it’s a good time to explore that a bit further. As you know, the typical G chord has three fingers on strings - the 1st, 5th, and 6th strings. Or, you can get crazy with the Big G - the regular G with an added note on the 2nd string.

For this version, though, we’re focusing in just the 1st and 6th strings, or the low E and the high E. It will work any time you have a G chord but there will be times where one 'grip' of the G will sound better than another in a song - you will have to use your ears and decide which one YOU like the sound of best!

To play this two-finger G chord, you’re going to place your 3rd finger on the 3rd fret of the thickest string, using that same finger to gently mute the 5th string, and then place your 4th finger on the 3rd fret of the thinnest string. It might feel like an awkward stretch, but you’ll get used to it! This is great for developing finger independence which you'll find super useful in other circumstances too.

Things To Watch Out For

If you place your 3rd finger down first and then try to add your 4th finger, you might find that the 3rd finger gets pulled down slightly. This can cause the string to bend, which then knocks the note out of tune. Alternatively, if you place your 4th finger down and then the 3rd, the opposite might occur. Be sure to keep your fingers planted firmly and squarely on the strings to prevent this! Again, it might feel awkward at first, but it’ll get easier - I promise :)

Also, be careful to mute the 5th string with your 3rd finger. In the classic G, this string would normally be fretted, but since we’re opting out of that note, we can’t have the open A string ringing out. To prevent this, we can gently touch and mute the string with our 3rd finger.

Finally, this may go without saying at this point, but pay attention to where your fingers are placed on the fretboard. You want them as close to the fret as possible!

When To Use This

Many of you may think this is just a “cheat” or a “hack,” but I’d say, not necessarily! It may not even be an easier version of G for you. Perhaps you prefer to play the classic or full Gs, and that’s totally, totally fine.

I do find myself using this weak finger G pretty often. Depending on the chords immediately before and after the G, it may be easier to use this particular grip because it wouldn’t require your whole hand to change position! Some chord changes, for instance, C to G, would normally require each of your fingers to reposition themselves. With the two-finger G, you can minimize the distance your fingers need to travel, allowing you to make cleaner, quicker and easier chord changes.

Other chord changes where this comes in handy is between G and A minor and G and F. With all of these, practice keeping your finger movements as small and concise as possible.

These chord changes are great for your Perfect Fast Changes exercises!

Going Forward

Once you’ve practised this chord grip, it’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to use it. Even if you never use it, at least you know it’s available to you, and just having the option can open up a world of possibility for you. When you are playing songs you may find you prefer a certain fingering or chord grip over the one the 'original artist uses, and you’re more than welcome to use whichever fingering makes the most sense for you, your anatomy, your skill level, or the emotion you’re trying to convey.

Don’t ever forget - music is about art. I can teach you the basics and all of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up during my years of playing guitar, but ultimately, you’ve got to experiment and find what feels and sounds best for YOU.


Lesson 10: Weak G Bamba