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How To Play a G Chord on the Piano

The G chord

Let’s learn how to play a G chord on the piano. This is an extremely common chord found in classical, jazz, and pop piano music. If you want to be a good pianist, it’s essential to know how to build this chord. Fortunately, it only takes a minute or so to learn how to play.

What does “G chord” mean?

When a pianist uses the phrase “G chord,” they’re referring to a G major chord. Major chords are a type of triad, meaning they consist of three notes. They have a happy, bright sound. The lowest note of any major chord is referred to as the “root” (for example, the G of the G chord), the middle note is called the “third”, and the top note is called the “fifth.” The G chord, like all major chords on the piano, can function in many different ways and lead to numerous other chords. 

What is the symbol for a G chord in piano music?

A G chord in piano music is indicated with the symbol “G”. There are no other symbols commonly used for the G chord.  Remember, chord symbols are used primarily in popular music styles like jazz, rock and folk. While you’ll find plenty of G chords in classical music as well, they won’t be labeled with a symbol.

How do I build a G chord on the piano?

Building a G chord on the piano is easy. Let’s begin by finding a G. That’s the so-called “root” of the chord. Now we’re going to count up four half-steps, which brings us to B. This note is the referred to as the “third” of the chord.

G major chord piano

Now, we simply count up three more half steps from the middle note. That gives us the D, the “fifth” of the chord. 

G major piano chord

So, all together we have the notes G, B, and D. Building a G piano chord is that easy!

Which fingers should I use?

Generally speaking, I’d use the fingers 1-3-5 in the right hand or 5-3-1 in the left hand. Of course, that will depend as well on the musical context and which notes come before or after the G chord.


That’s all you need to know to build a G chord or any other major chord on the piano! Just take the root of the chord, and count up four half steps and then three more:

Major Chord = Root + 4 half steps + 3 half steps

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