The Stuck 3&4 Chords

Glad to hear that you are still continuing with guitar. Happy Holidays!

The “Big” G chord is really causing me struggle.
My problem is with the 2nd and 5th finger. When I try to place my pinky correctly, my 2nd finger is muting the 5th string. Then when I adjust my 2nd finger, my pinky leans towards me and the 1st string doesn’t ring correctly (the tip of my pinky is lifted because my (short) nail touches the fretboard). The only way how can I place my fingers correctly without muting any strings is when I bend my wrist (more than I would like).
Any recommendation? Thanks.
I also noticed that in the video, Justin’s 2nd finger is straight except the last part of finger where a nail is. In my case, my finger is curved.

Now that something I really need ! :rofl:

Welcome to the Community Richard. :wave:

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Ahh. I meant 4th finger :D.

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Hi Richard, and welcome to the community! If you haven’t yet, you might take a moment to introduce yourself over here.

I’m a fellow beginner, so I sympathize with your frustration. If you can, please post a photo of your Big G so we can better see what’s going on. You mentioned your short fingernail is hitting the fretboard. I’ve found that to drive me crazy…I got one of those glass nail files, and use it often to touch up my already short nails. Of course, this might not be your issue…

Related to this: I think it can help to be sure to use the tippy-tips of your fingers to depress the strings. Also, if you haven’t already you might review and include the finger stretch exercise introduced in Grade 1 Module 4. I’m consolidating Grade 2, and do this exercise along with the pinky workout (coming in Grade 2 Module 9) every day. That might be worth taking a peek ahead!

And as for that 5th finger…I knew exactly what you meant - I frequently desribe my 5th finger as well! :rofl:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Same “problem” here.

I guess, all piano players do have a 5th finger :wink:

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Yep, but not just this lesson, entire Module 8 is a lot more demanding than the previous ones.
Afraid to see what is coming next. :slight_smile:

Hi Richard,

I’ve moved into Grade 2 recently and so was reading through some comments and wondered how you went with the 4 finger G?

I am no expert and only a beginner myself but have always played the 4 finger G so its using the other Gs that causes me problems. If it’s of any use I looked at how I play the 4 finger version. My second finger tends to bend slightly at the top knuckle but also what I did realise is that when I finger this chord the very tip of my second finger is slightly further up that the centre of the 6th string (if that makes sense.) Here’s some photos, like I say I’m only a beginner and I’m sure there are plenty of people that can tell me that my grip is wrong however it works and all the strings ring out consistently.

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Anyone else feels like a finger always ends up too far from the fret with these chords? That frequently leads to buzzing when I play. Not sure what grip adjustments of cues I should use or if simply developing strength is the answer.

Hi João @jpedro_AM, I originally saw your post on this same issue over on the Wish You Were Here Riff topic. It’s best to only post in one topic, and because this seems a better home for your question (I imagine more folks will see it), I’ve moved my response here. :smiling_face:

I’m so glad you brought this up! Yes, I have that issue as well. In fact, I have difficulty properly placing my ring finger these, and on several chords - C being one that especially frustrates me. Obviously, the standard advice to “keep practicing” fits here. :wink: But it’s not clear to me how to most effectively practice to overcome this. I have difficulty separating my ring and middle fingers, which I think is an issue here (and yes, I can do the Live Long and Prosper sign). I haven’t come across good exercises/stretches to work on that. Hopefully someone will have a suggestion!


Sounds like more flexibility is needed. I put this in the 2 Fret Stretch topic, it may help.

To add to this when you have pushed the fingers as wide as you can, you can focus on the gap between finger pairs. Its hard to explain but for example I would take the two touching middle fingers, move them towards the ring fingers and then forced back towards the Index fingers as far as I can go. Repeat for all finger pairs, it seems to just open the stretch a little more.

Also slowly forming the C chord and using it as a stretching exercise, don’t worry about strumming. Work on getting all 3 fingers in position, stretch relax stretch relax.


You’re right, I’ll keep my questions to a single topic!

For me is the E minor that is most troublesome. When I change to it in the middle of the song it’s almost impossible to prevent some movement in the ring finger. It doesn’t move OUT of the fret, but I need to adjust the strength if I want to avoid buzz.

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Thanks Toby, this is brilliant. I especially love that it doesn’t require the guitar. You explained the add-on part well, and I can attempt it. Wow. That is difficult, but it exactly addresses the problem I’m having!

I like the idea of using the C chord as a stretching exercise as well. I can form it, but that darned ring finger slides back when playing. This seems a great way to work past that.

Again, thank you!

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Yes, I feel your pain! The exercises Toby @TheMadman_tobyjenner outlined above look like they’ll address the issue for both of us. :grinning: :vulcan_salute:


That looks fine.
Having your wrist not perfectly straight isn’t that major a concern.
The big thing is that you’re not tilting the guitar up/leaning over the guitar so you can see the fretboard easier, which will result in your wrist being excessively bent.

If you’re unsure if you’re tilting the guitar or not, try standing up with the guitar on a strap. It usually takes a lot more effort to tilt the guitar when stood up, so you’ll soon notice if you have been tilting the guitar.

Good advice. I noticed when I kept the neck horizontal instead of leaning it so I could see the frets it was all a bit easier. Not perfect yet, but certainly much closer to getting a clean chord.


Started the lesson a view days ago, the first time I played these chords I felt for the first time in my life a had a top on my pinky. Man it hurts.

This is happening because you need to work on “finger independence”. Every guitar player has to fight this problem, since moving one finger while keeping all other fingers absolutely still is not something we are born with.

As usual, the fix for this is slow, purposeful practice. SLOWLY move your index and middle finger while FOCUSING your attention on not moving your ring or pinky at all. Don’t strum at all; just focus on your fretting hand finger motions. For the first few weeks, this will seem almost impossible, but after a few months of practicing this for 5 minutes a day, you’ll be doing this easily.

When you get to the point of practicing scales, you’ll use this same kind of exercise to eliminate what many call the “flying pinky”.

Here’s Justin’s lesson on fixing the “flying pinky”. What I described above is simply an adaptation of this exercise for your sticking point.

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Thanks, Eddie! It’s gotten a lot better since I made that post, but the exercise you linked will probably get me to the next level way faster.

Agree, I felt a bit overwhelmed after as you said only learning 1 chord per lesson.