Playing a G major chordThis diagram illustrates the first chord we are going to play, a G major chord (often simply called a "G chord"). Take your second finger, and put it on the third fret of the sixth string. Next, take your first finger, and put it on the second fret of the fifth string. Lastly, put your third finger on the third fret of the first string. Make sure all of your fingers are curled, and are not touching any strings they're not supposed to. Now, using your pick, strike all six strings in one fluid motion. Notes should ring all together, not one at a time (this could take some practice). Voila! Your first chord.
Now, check to see how you did. While still holding down the chord with your fretting hand, play each string (starting with the sixth) one at a time, listening to be sure each note rings out clearly. If not, study your hand to determine why it doesn't. Are you pressing hard enough? Is one of your other fingers touching that string, which is preventing it from sounding properly? These are the most common reasons why a note does not sound.
Here is an example of the wrong way to position your hands to play basic guitar chords. Notice the thumb on the fretting hand is resting on the top of the fretboard. This changes the entire position of the fretting hand:
- palm sits underneath the fretboard - decreases mobility and ability to stretch
- fingers flatten out when playing notes on the sixth and fifth strings - fingers will likely come into accidental contact with strings, causing muffled notes, or "dead strings".
Here is an example of the proper way to grip the neck of your guitar. The thumb should rest gently at the center of the underside of the guitar neck. Your hand position should be curled, so that fingers approach strings at an approximate "right angle", using the tips of the fingers to make contact with each string. This will help to eliminate accidentally touching two strings with one finger, and go a long way towards eliminating muffled notes. If you're still having issues with muffled notes, then isolate your problem, and try to come up with a solution. For example, if you notice that your Gmajor chord isn't ringing clearly, then play each string in the chord, one by one, noting which strings do not ring. Next, identify why the string isn't ringing. Are you not pressing the strings hard enough? Is one of your fretting fingers not curled enough, and is touching two strings? Is an unused finger lazily touching the fretboard? When you've isolated the probem(s), try to correct them, one by one. Chances are, the same problems are occurring whenever you play that chord. Divide, and conquer.