This article in the Mandolin Chords series of theMandolinTuner focuses on G Major chords (Sol major).

If you are only interested to learn how to play a G major (Sol major) chord on the mandolin, take a look at the slideshow at the top of this article. You will find there common variants presented in a photo realistic mandolin fret board.

If you want to understand and learn more about the G major chords, I suggest you continue reading. The sections below include:

  • the construction of G major chord i.e. a little bit of music theory,
  • a G major chords cheatsheet that you can print,
  • the chords to be used when playing songs on the key of G major
  • the most common G major chords progressions.

Enjoy!

G major chord construction

The G Major (Sol major)  chord consists of:

  • The root, which for the G chord is of course G (Sol)
  • The third, which for the G chord is B (Si)
  • The fifth, which for the G chord is D (Re)

To play a G major (Sol major) chord you need to include these three notes or at minimum the root and the third. This is valid whatever instrument you are playing, be it mandolin, guitar or ukulele.

G major chords – Mandolin Cheatsheet

As with all chords, there are many variants of the G Major chord for the mandolin. Here is a cheatsheet  that presents nine variants for you to practice.

G Major chords Mandolin Sheet Diagram

G major chords – Learn these by heart

Although you can practice all chords in the cheatsheet playing them one by one till you feel comfortable with all positions, do you actually need to know all variants presented here? Not really, but as music is really a language, the more variants you know the easier it will be for you to play and express yourself.

The three diagrams in this section are the three most common variants of the G major chords on the mandolin you should learn to play by heart.

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=2 text=1
show frets=3 string=1 text=2

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=5 string=4 text=3
show frets=2 string=2 text=1
show frets=3 string=1 text=2

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=4 string=4 text=2
show frets=5 string=3 text=3
show frets=5 string=2 text=4
show frets=3 string=1 text=1

Chords of the G Major key

So, what happens when a song is written on the G major (Sol major) key?

[You can identify that a song is written on the key of G major when it starts and ends on a G major, and also when it uses it frequently throughout the song.]

In this case, you need to understand what other chords can be used. Remember that the G major key has one sharp, a F sharp, meaning that the notes (and respective chords) in G major key are:

G, A, B, C, D, E, F#.

As this is a major key, the chord type for each position (from first to seventh) is

I -major, ii- minor, iii- minor, IV -major, V-major, VI-minor, vii-diminished

Combining the two above we find that the G major key we can use are:

(Please note that roman numerals indicate each chord’s position relative to the scale)

Position Chord
I G
ii Am
iii Bm
IV C
V D
vi Em
vii0 F#dim
fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=2 text=1
show frets=3 string=1 text=2

I – G major

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=4 text=1
show frets=2 string=3 text=2
show frets=3 string=2 text=3

ii – A minor

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=4 string=4 text=3
show frets=2 string=2 text=1
show frets=2 string=1 text=1

iii – B minor

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=3 text=1
show frets=3 string=2 text=2

IV – C major

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=4 text=1
show frets=2 string=1 text=2

V – D major

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=3 text=1
show frets=2 string=2 text=2

vi – E minor

fretboard
option strings=4
option width=335
option frets=9
show frets=2 string=4 text=1
show frets=2 string=3 text=1
show frets=4 string=3 text=3
show frets=2 string=2 text=1
show frets=3 string=2 text=2
show frets=2 string=1 text=1

vii0 – F# diminished

Common progressions in G major

The most common progressions in G major are:

I – IV – V G – C – D
I – vi – IV – V G – Em – C – D
ii – V – I Am – D7 – GM7

How to Practice chords on the mandolin

I suggest you practice playing chords on the G major key, till you feel comfortable with all progressions, as I am convinced you will then have covered 99% of what is needed,

It’s time for action; grab your mandolin and start practicing!