C/G Acoustic Guitar Chord Lick

Ahh… guitar licks. That was the bread and butter of learning guitar when I was growing up. Guitar players were known for only being able to play the cool part or “lick” from popular songs… and no more.

The Good Ol’ Days

Those were the good old days. Anyone close to my age will know what I’m talking about. No one cared about reading music or being able to jam and improvise? No one worried about chord progressions or music theory. We were content to impress our friends with a cool lick from a popular song like the first section of Stairway to Heaven or the intro to Crazy Train. Then we casually slinked away in case they asked us (God forbid) to play the entire song.

In this lesson I’m going to show you one of those licks, a short chord pattern that I would consider a “must learn” for any self-respecting acoustic guitar player. I originally came across this when I learned two of the now classic top hits by the Eagles – “Take It Easy” and “Tequila Sunrise” (both use slight variations). However I’ve used it over and over because… well, it just sounds really good.


My strum of choice to go with these chords is the Pop Rock Strum, but you can use different strumming patterns and get even more mileage. A good way to really learn this is the first practice along with the video, then find my Five-Minute Practice Session on the first basic two guitar chords.
If you’d like try substituting this G to C/G part in place of a normal G to C chord progression. Many times (not always) it will sound good and be little more interesting.

Some Learning Tips

In the video you’ll see I use the version of G that uses your little finger or pinky. This is a must for the initial part of this lick. If you’re pinky is still weak you’ll want to practice this slowly at first. Make sure your fingers are arch and stay relaxed.

Next you’ll want to move your first and second fingers into a form that we can call a C chord (also looks like Am7). The third finger and the pinky are going to stay in place. The notes that you’ll be playing could all be considered part of a C chord and it’s commonly called C/G to indicate the G note is still in the bass. It does have a very distinct sound. Classical music theory would call this a second inversion of the C chord.

Next you’ll move the first, second and third fingers into the position of the D chord. Leave your pinky on the first string making a Dsus4 chord (I love this chord). Then you’ll resolve it by taking the pinky off to make a regular D chord.

Add A Little Pop/Rock

Go slow and pay attention to getting all the notes to sound clearly at first. Start off with a straight down strum until you feel reasonably comfortable. When you’re ready try adding the Pop Rock Strum. This is a great strum to know and you can find it on one of my YouTube videos (search Pop Rock strum – Tomas Michaud). It’s also one of the foundation strums I teach in my guitar comprehensive guitar course Real Guitar Awesomeness.