One of the great things about playing together is to learn from each other; to see how other players do things and to be forced to keep up with someone better than ourselves – or to be able to encourage someone by sharing of our experience.
As a new guitar player, or someone who hasn’t played a lot with other people, sometimes along with the joy and the adrenaline rush, confusion can be a very present companion. You may be experiencing new strum patterns or rhythms, new songs, harmonies, and someone else plays that same song WAYYYYY faster than you do. As with any kind of situation when I’m working with a group, I’ll tell you to take what you can and leave what you can’t absorb. It’s ALL good.
A recurring point of questioning amongst new players has to do with the G chord. There are a number of different ways to make this chord and THEY’RE ALL CORRECT. But someone who knows them all will apply each one in different circumstances. If you have one G chord, play that one!
I teach all my beginners a four finger G. To me this is the logical one to start with because it makes the transitions to D and Cadd9 and Em7 simple. And it gets your pinkie involved early, which is very useful. In all your first position chords you can get by without asking your pinkie to do anything unless you play G this way. Later on your pinkie will rebel when it’s asked to contribute. So this is the G I teach first (even though this picture says “alternative”!).
A three finger G, played with your pinkie, middle and ring fingers is a useful tool to have. It is very handy for the G to C transitions, particularly when you’re playing in the key of C. It also gets that pinkie going.
If you play a three finger G with your ring, middle and index fingers, that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with that and your G will sound just as good so keep up the good work. I would not teach that fingering though, because as far as transitions go there is less helpful positioning there. That being said, that’s the first G that I learned. I never use it now, personally.
And lastly for now, the barre G. This is super useful when playing songs that go from Bm to G or from F to G. If you are not barring chords, that’s fine. You can play the G you know. But if you are playing with someone and that person plays a barre chord where you’re playing your G, don’t let it knock you off the rails.
Guitar Mama Showcase and the Brotherhood of Strings have monthly gatherings until June (so that’s two or three more, depending on your chapter) and then we’re into Summertime Jams. If you want to clarify your G or challenge yourself with something new to get ready for all that jamming, get in touch. I can help you with that. There will also be lots of jamming at the Mama June Retreat, which is open for registrations now. I’m looking forward to all of it and to making beautiful noise with you!
Until then, shine on.