What to Know About G Major Chords
To quote the Beatles, all you need is love… okay, you might need music too .
And if you want to play one of the Beatles’ most iconic songs, “All You Need is Love,” all you need is love, dedication, and, of course, G major .
But G major has so much to love, why would you stop at the basics? You can take the scale one step further by learning all the G major chords. We also have a seperate article for F major chord.
Luckily, we’re here to help you understand how to build chords from the scale, how to play them, and what you can do with them.
G Major Scale vs. G Major Chords
Don’t know what the difference is between a scale and a chord? No worries.
If you think of piano music like a Jenga game, scales and chords are the bottom building blocks. If they’re gone, nothing else can balance.
The easiest way to differentiate between scales and chords is to distinguish between how they’re played. A scale is a succession of pitches in ascending or descending steps, consisting of whole steps and half steps (in plain English, a group of notes played one after another) .
A chord, on the other hand, is a group of three or more notes played simultaneously. A group of three notes that can be arranged as thirds is referred to as a triad chord.
Building Chords from the G Major Scale
That’s all fine and good, but how do chords relate to scales? Why do we need to talk about scales if the point is to learn the G major chords?
It’s simple: chords are built using the notes of the scale they’re named for.
The notes of the G major scale are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#. So, each of the G major chords is constructed using one of these notes as its root. More importantly, the G major chords cannot contain any notes except the notes in the G major scale.
Basically, if you know the scale, you’ve got a built-in, foolproof roadmap to the chords. Pretty cool, right?
Chords in G Major
With that in mind, let’s talk about the chords in G major.
If you’re ever unsure where to start with the G major chords, sit down at a keyboard and play the G major scale as a refresher. That will act as your foundation for any of the chords.
Before you do fun stuff with the chords, you have to start in the root position. Any variations on the chords will use the root position as their baseline, so if you know your roots, you’ll always know your way around the keys.
We mentioned earlier that the notes of the G major scale are G, A, B, C, D, E, and F#. As such, there are seven chords contained within the scale. For G major, they are:
- I – G major, G major seventh (Gmaj, Gmaj7)
- ii – A minor, A minor seventh (Am, Am7)
- iii – B minor, B minor seventh (Bm, Bm7)
- IV – C major, C major seventh (C, Cmaj 7)
- V – D major, D dominant seventh (D, D7)
- vi – E minor, E minor seventh (Em, Em7)
- vii – F# diminished, F# minor seventh flat five (F#, F#m7b5)
If that looks like it’s written in Japanese, no worries. It’s actually a lot simpler than it looks.
Like every other major key, the chords of G major follow a specific pattern: major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished, as you can see above. This refers to the four types of chords (major, minor, diminished, and augmented) which are named for their quality .
Each chord is named with a Roman numeral, capitalized for major chords and lowercase for minor and diminished chords. If you list the triad chords, there are seven chords total. When you add sevenths to create four-note chords, you get a grand total of 14 chords in the G major scale.
The notes of these chords are:
- G major: G, B, D
- G major seventh: G, B, D, F#
- A minor: A, C, E
- A minor seventh: A, C, E, G
- B minor: B, D, F#
- B minor seventh: B, D, F#, A
- C major: C, E, G
- C major seventh: C, E, G, B
- D major: D, F#, A
- D dominant seventh: D, F#, A, C
- E minor: E, G, B
- E minor seventh: E, G, B, D
- F# diminished: F#, A, C
- F# minor seventh flat five: F#, A, C, E
Et voila, your root positions!
Now, let’s say you want to have a little fun with your G major chords. An easy way to do this is by learning inversions.
Let’s focus on the G major triad chord, with the notes G, B, and D.
The notes in this order are their root position. Keep in mind that chords are always played by playing notes at the same time.
If you want to play an inversion, you simply change the arrangement of the notes so that you play them on different keys in relation to each other. So, instead of playing G at the bottom/leftmost part of the arrangement, try putting it at the top/rightmost part and listen to the difference.
This is how inversions work: the same set of notes in a different arrangement for a new sound.
So, the first inversion of the G major chord is B, D, G, the example we just used. The second inversion is D, G, B.
If you look at it critically, all you’re doing is rotating the position of the notes relative to each other.
It’s easy to remember which is which: every chord is named for its root note, which in this case is G . So, the root position of the G major chord has G first and works from left to right on the board (thus, G, B, D).
To do the first inversion, simply shift your hand over so that B is first, and works from left to right, etc.
So, now that you know the notes of each chord and how to create inversions, how do you actually play them on the keyboard.
First, hold out your hands in front of you. Your fingers are numbered from one to five, with your thumb always acting as your first finger. So, if you go across both hands from left to right, the count goes 5-4-3-2-1-1-2-3-4-5.
Let’s say you want to play the G major root position with your right hand. Your first finger/thumb will play G, your third/middle finger plays B, and your fifth/pinky finger plays D. To play inversions, simply shift your hand left or right.
If you want to play root position with your left hand, you simply reverse the numbering. So, your fifth/pinky finger plays G, your third/middle finger plays B, and your first finger/thumb plays D. To play inversions, shift your hand left or right on the keyboard.
Learn All 88 Keys
Now that you know all about the G major chords, are you ready to wow your friends, family, or special someone with a rendition of, “All You Need is Love”?
If you’re still learning the piano, we’ve got your back. Check out our blog for more guides and to completely understand the piano chord chart.