The C chord is comprised of the notes C, E, and G
In terms of intervals, it has a root, a major 3rd, and a perfect 5th
It can also be named or notated as C, CΔ, CM, Cmaj, or C major.
If you are just starting out on guitar or need a refresher on this chord, stick around.
In this article, I will show you the easiest ways of playing this chord on guitar, and give you some tips and tricks to make it work out as it should.
After leaving this page you will have learned the must-know shapes of this triad, and also a lot about how it works in context with other chords.
Hey, I will even give you a fretboard diagram so you can work out your own voicing!
Let’s get to it.
It is a great starting point to build finger stamina and dexterity.
Here are some tips for getting it sounding right:
- Fret with the tip of your fingers
- Press the strings near the fret wire
- Learn how much pressure is the minimum required
- Have the thumb from your fretting hand at the middle or lower back part of the neck
- Arch your fingers
- If it hurts, take a break!
2 easy ways of playing the C chord
Although the basic version of this chord is one of the easiest you will find, having alternatives is always good.
Try them out to get your fingers prepared for the harder challenges ahead.
Open voicings of the C chord
Here are some alternative ways of playing this chord actively using open strings.
If you want alternative sounds for this classic chord, I encourage you to try them out!
These also use some open strings, so these shapes are not movable across the fretboard.
Moveable voicings of the C chord
Apart from the basic shape, here are other movable voicings for the C chord.
As their name implies, these moveable voicings can be shifted along the neck getting you different chords of the same quality.
The root note of the chord, for these voicings, as you can see, is defined by the lowest note played.
Both these barre voicings are very common shapes you will probably end up using a lot through your guitar journey.
To make them sound right, again, focus mainly on fretting properly the strings where there are no other fretted notes in front of the barre since the ones in between are taken care of by your other fingers.
C chord fretboard map
You can use this fretboard map to come up with your own chord voicings.
Just remember that you will need at least one of each chord note for it to be outlined properly.
Songs to practice the C chord
John Lennon – Imagine
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Scales and modes that have the C chord, and their chords
The following scales and modes have this chord inside them.
This means that it will “fit” among their other chords, however, given the context, the feeling that it gives will be shifted.
In some of these scales it will sound like a resting point, and in others more like a tension agent.
C major scale chords, C is I
Bb Lydian scale chords, C is II
A minor scale chords, C is III
G major scale chords, C is IV
F major scale chords, C is V
E minor scale chords, C is VI
D minor scale chords, C is VII
Inversions of the C chord
The inversions of a chord are just a different order for the notes that comprise them.
They are notated with a / before the indication of the note that should be used as the bass.
Triad chords have, naturally 2 inversions.
C inversions are:
Extensions of the C chord
Extensions are extra notes you can add to the chord to spice it up.
To know exactly which notes you can use you will have to check the key and scale you are playing in.
Some of the most common extensions of the C chord are:
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.