How to Play the G Major Chord on Ukulele
Learn one of the most common chords across all genres.
By Ben Nemeroff
The G chord is one of the most common chords across nearly all genres of music. Sometimes referred to as G major, learning how to play the G chord on your ukulele is a fundamental step in beginning your musical journey. In this lesson, you will learn how to play a G chord in several different positions on the ukulele and we’ll look at a couple of fun songs that will help you practice this important chord.
Lesson: How to Play a G Chord
The G chord on the ukulele is made up of three notes:
You will also see this chord referred to as the G major chord, to differentiate it from variations such as G minor, G7, and so on. The G chord is based on the notes in the G major scale. It uses the root note G, the major third B, and the perfect fifth D.
The G chord appears often in a wide range of musical styles and genres. You’ll frequently find it in chord progressions containing C and D, A and D, and many others. Because it is so versatile, it’s absolutely crucial that you master this chord in a variety of positions on your ukulele.
To help you build a strong foundation of G chord knowledge, we’re going to look at three different ways you can play this chord on your ukulele, plus the proper finger placement that you need to master. Let’s get into it.
How Do You Play a G Chord on Ukulele?
To show you how to play the G chord, we’ll go over each step verbally, but we’ll also use ukulele chord charts to illustrate each position. Ukulele chord charts visually represent the four strings on the fretboard of your ukulele:
• G = The fourth string
• C = The third string (lowest tone)
• E = The second string
• A = The first string (and highest-tone string)
Unlike the guitar, where strings are in a descending order, the lowest-toned string on a ukulele is actually the third string.
You’ll also find numbers and other symbols on these charts that show you where to put each finger to play the chord properly.
• O - A circle above the string means to play that string in an open position
• X - An “x” above the strings means you won’t play that string or mute it when playing
• 1 = Index finger
• 2 = Middle finger
• 3 = Ring finger
• 4 = Pinky finger
Let’s check out three different ukulele chord charts that show you how to play the G chord on your ukulele with proper finger placement and technique.
G Chord on Ukulele: G Open Position (v1)
To play an open G chord on your ukulele, start with your index finger on the second fret of the C string. Next, place your middle finger on the second fret of the A string and your ring finger on the third fret of the E string, like this:
• Index finger: 2nd fret of the C string
• Middle finger: 2nd fret of the A string
• Ring finger: 3rd fret of the E string
Strum all four strings, including the open G string, to hear the G major chord in open position.
G Chord on Ukulele: G 7th Position (v1)
To play the G chord in 7th position on your ukulele, start by barring your index finger across all four strings at the 7th fret. Then, place your pinky finger on the 10th fret of the A string, like this:
• Index finger: barre all four strings at the 7th fret • Pinky: 10th fret of the A string
Strum all four strings to play the G chord in 7th position. Be sure to press your index finger firmly across all four strings to prevent buzzing or muting.
Songs That Use the G Chord
Now that you know how to play a G chord on the ukulele, the best way to practice it is by learning to play songs that include this essential chord. Countless songs include this common chord, and it’s likely a part of some of your favorite tunes. We’ve picked out just a couple of songs with the G chord to help you start practicing incorporating this chord into your repertoire.
If you know how to play the chords G, C, and D, then you’ve got what it takes to strum along to “You Are My Sunshine”. This sweet, upbeat number makes for excellent basic chord practice. Plus, it incorporates a simple yet fun strum pattern to give your strumming hand a little exercise too.
If you’re looking for a more modern song to strum along to, check out Vance Joy’s alt-folk hit “Riptide”. This song contains G, C, A minor, and F, plus it has a fun alternate strumming pattern. The four chords in this song are another very common chord progression, so mastering this song can help you unlock countless other melodies.
In this clip from the Why You Should Play The Ukulele episode of Fender Play Live, uke expert Abe Lagrimas Jr. demonstrates the iconic “Creep” by Radiohead on ukulele, using the G major chord.
Signup to learn how to play “Creep” in Fender Play here.
Check out Fender Play Ukulele Lessons
Learning the G chord is an important part of your fundamental ukulele knowledge, so know that you know how to play it, practice it every day. The more you practice, the easier playing the G chord will be. When you’ve got the G chord down, it’s time to get curious and learn even more chords. Sign up for a free trial of Fender Play to take more ukulele lessons, brush up on proper ukulele technique, and get access to ukulele song tutorials to help you get the most out of your uke.