I Thought the G Major Chord was Impossible

When I first started learning guitar, back in July, 2013, everything was going well until I encountered the G major chord in my first week of practice.  I couldn’t play it.  Not only could I not play it, but I couldn’t understand how I could possibly ever play it.  It just seemed absolutely impossible.  The GarageBand tutorial I was using at the time wanted me to play it in second position, which means that the index finger of my fretting hand was over the second fret:

One variation of the G major chord, as illustrated in wikiHow

I had a guitar with a steel-string neck (narrower than a classical neck) at the time.  I persevered against my doubts to see if I could make any progress at all over the next days and weeks.  I practiced the G major chord every single day.

A few weeks later, I was able to play it.  I couldn’t play it well, but this was much better than not being able to play it at all.

By this time, I had enrolled in Introduction to Guitar, an excellent, free guitar course by Thaddeus Hogarth on Coursera.  After a few weeks, he taught us the G major chord, but in first position, which meant that my pinky needed to cover the third fret on the first string.

I was still getting the hang of it in second position, but I definitely couldn’t play it in first position.  At all.  I’ve encountered a chord position I absolutely cannot play, I thought to myself.  Finalmente.

Doubtful and conflicted, I reluctantly practiced the G major chord in first position every day, until, one day, I could play it.

I then bought a flamenco guitar.  It had a classical neck.  The chords were somewhat harder now, because the classical neck is wider than the steel-string neck.

After weeks, months, I was able to comfortably play the G major chord in both first and second positions.

Learning a musical instrument is like being very overweight and going to the gym and seeing all the fit people:  you want to give up immediately because you’re so far from where you want to be. Only a few people persevere.

Now, when I pick up my guitar with the steel-string (narrower) neck, the G major chord is amazingly easy for me in both first and second positions.

I can hardly believe I ever thought it was impossible.

Postscript:  I later discovered that my narrow-necked guitar is unplayable at the higher frets because the string height, or action, is too great.  I realized this by trying out other guitars.  I could play Spanish Romance on those guitars but not on mine.  If you think your guitar is unplayable, you can take it to a guitar tech for a setup:  optimization of action and intonation.


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