How to Use the G Form to Play the CAGED System on the Guitar

Check out the G form. Like the C form, this barre chord is hard to play on the guitar and rarely, if ever, used in its entirety. Usually, you break it down into other, more manageable shapes. You use the G form to form major chords for notes along the 6th string.

[Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna]
Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna

Play the full G form arpeggio pattern. It includes an additional note on the 2nd string. Play it as a scale. The additional chord tone on the 2nd string explains why you can play an open G chord with either the 2nd string open, B, or the 3rd fret of the 2nd string, D. Both notes are part of the chord.

[Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna]
Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna

Check out how to play G form chord voicings.

  • Diagram a features a part of the barre chord that’s used in the song “Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chili Peppers as a B.

  • Diagram b shows the C/G used in the opening to “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.

  • Diagram c shows the F/A used in the opening to “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix.

  • Diagram d is a very common, open position G/B. Variations are used in many acoustic guitar songs, such as “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, and “Blackbird” by The Beatles.

    [Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna]
    Credit: Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna

The G form has three notes in a row on strings 2–4 just like the A form. In fact, the two forms are connected by this group of notes. You can fret this group of notes with your 1st finger and use it together with a partial C form to play in the style of Keith Richards, among others.

You see that this type of chord change can be viewed as a combination of the G form and C form too.

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