How to Play the C Major Chord on Guitar?
We’re going to examine the C Major chord in this article. One of the five fundamental chord shapes in guitar, along with the A, G, E, and D major chord shapes, is the open C chord. We’ll look at how to play this common chord and a few variants to help you start playing some of the most well-known tunes in music history.
What is C Major Chord?
A C major chord is a chord that is made up of the notes C, E, and G. It is a basic chord in the key of C and is one of the most commonly used chords in music. The C major chord is a major chord because it is built with a root note (C), a major third (E), and a perfect fifth (G).
In music theory, a chord is a group of three or more notes played simultaneously. Chords can be played on any instrument that can play multiple notes simultaneously, such as a piano or guitar. When played on a guitar, the C major chord is made up of the notes C, E, and G, which are played by pressing down on the guitar’s strings at certain frets.
The C major chord is a very important chord to know how to play on the guitar because it is a building block for many other chords and is used in a wide variety of musical styles, including pop, rock, and classical.
What Are Major Chords?
A major chord is a chord that is constructed from a major scale. A major chord is composed of a major scale’s first, third, and fifth notes.
For example, if we construct a C major chord from the C major scale, the chord’s notes would be C, E, and G.
Major chords have a bright and cheerful sound to them. They are frequently utilized in pop and rock music, and when used at the conclusion of a melodic phrase, they may produce a sense of resolve or closure.
Other forms of chords in music include minor chords, reduced chords, and augmented chords, each having its own particular sound and character. Understanding how to play various chords on an instrument, such as a guitar or piano, is crucial to becoming a musician.
How to Play the C Major Chord?
Let’s look at one of guitar playing’s most commonly utilized chords. It is so common that it is sometimes called the C “shape.”
Here’s how you do it:
- The index finger is placed on the first fret of the B (2nd) string.
- The middle finger is placed on the second fret of the D (4th) string.
- The ring finger is placed on the third fret of the A (5th) string.
Five strings down from the A string, strum.
Don’t be concerned if you can strum the low E string. That note remains a component of the C major chord (C-E-G). Using practice, you should be able to mute the sixth string with the edge of your ring finger.
The C chord can also be played in third place. The chord begins with the bass note on the third fret, thus the name “third position,” and it requires a different finger positioning up the neck of your guitar.
Barre Version of C Major Chord
The following is how to play a barred this chord in the third position:
- The index finger is placed on the third fret of the A (5th) string.
- The middle finger occupies the fifth fret of the D (4th) string.
- Ring finger on the G (3rd) string’s 5th fret
- Pinky finger on the B (2nd) string’s 5th fret
Four strings downward from the A string, strum.
Overcoming the Barre
The alternate version begins on the eighth fret and has a different shape. The C barre chord in the 8th position is played as follows:
- 8th fret on the low E (6th) string, index finger
- Index finger: B (2nd) string, 8th fret
- Index finger: E (1st) string, 8th fre
- Ring finger: A (5th) string, 10th fret
- Pinky finger: D (4th) string, 10th fret
Six strings downward from the low E string, strum
Variation of the C Chord For Acoustic Guitar Players
Cadd9 is another variant worth considering that works well on acoustic guitar. It goes like this:
- Index finger: D (4th) string, 2nd fret
- Middle finger: A (5th) string, 3rd fret
- Ring finger: B (2nd) string, 3rd fret
- Pinky finger: E (1st) string, 3rd fret
Five strings downward from the A string, strum.
Is there anything unique about this version? It’s identical to the G Major open chord version, but the middle and index fingers have been shifted down one string. Because C and G chords are commonly use in the same chord progression, you may transition between them with practically little finger movement if you swap the Cadd9 for a this major chord. Playing a Cadd9 sounds a little more sophisticated than a plain C.
C Major Chord Variations?
There are several variations of the this major chord that you can play on the guitar. Here are a few common variations:
Open C major chord
This chord is played with the root note on the fifth string, the major third (E) on the fourth string, and the perfect fifth (G) on the third string. You would not need to use your fretting hand to play this chord at all. Instead, you would strum the strings open (without pressing down on any frets).
C major bar chord
This chord is play by using a barre with your first finger to hold down all the strings on the first fret and then placing your second and third fingers on the second and third strings, second fret.
C major 7 chord
This chord is play by adding a seventh note (B) to the this major chord. To play this chord, place your first finger on the second string, first fret (C), your second finger on the fourth string, second fret (E), your third finger on the third string, second fret (G), and your fourth finger on the first string, third fret (B).
These are just a few examples of the many variations of the C major chord you can play on the guitar. With practice and experimentation, you can find the finger placements that work best for you and incorporate them into your playing.
Which Variation Should You Play?
The purpose of learning more than one variation of the same chord is to provide oneself with alternative tonal possibilities and to reduce movement around the neck. On the 8th fret, compare the open C version against the barred version. Even though they are based on the same notes, the tone is different. Because the open version employs open strings, it sounds warmer and lasts longer. The barred variant has a higher and thinner tone.
Having alternatives lowers mobility as well. You don’t want to be jumping around the neck all the time. You don’t want to play an open G and then go up to the 8th position to play the C if a C chord follows a G chord in the sequence. Because the C open version is so near to the G open version, it makes sense to keep your finger motions to a minimum.
C Major Chord Triads
We usually use common forms like the open position C and barre chord shapes when we play the C chord. On the other hand, learning the precise root position and inverted triads is a terrific approach to exploring the subtle and unique variations that appear across the fretboard. The C Major triad can be expressed in three ways:
C Major Triad (Root Position) consists of the letters C, E, and G.
C E, G, C Major Triad (1st Inversion)
G, C, E – C Major Triad (2nd Inversion)
Which Scales Are Compatible With The C Major Chord?
The C major chord is compatible with the C major scale and the C major pentatonic scale.
The C major scale is a seven-note scale that includes the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. It is built using the following pattern of whole and half steps:
C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C
Whole step – Whole step – Half step – Whole step – Whole step – Whole step – Half step
The C major pentatonic scale is a five-note scale that includes the notes C, D, E, G, and A. It is built using the following pattern of whole and half steps:
C – D – E – G – A – C
Whole step – Whole step – Major third – Whole step – Major third
The C major scale and the C major pentatonic scale are compatible with the C major chord because they contain all its notes (C, E, and G). These scales can be use solo over a C major chord progression or to improvise melodies over a C major backing track.
It’s important to note that many other scales are compatible with the C major chord, and you can experiment with different scales to find the ones that sound best to your ears. With practice and experimentation, you can develop your unique sound and style.
Songs That Include C Major Chord
It should be no surprise that it appears in many songs because the C chord is one of the five major chord forms. You may not realize it, but you’ve heard this chord many times. Here’s a list of songs that use the C chord:
This major chord is very common and is use in a wide variety of pop songs. Here are a few popular examples:
“I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
“Let It Be” by The Beatles
“Halo” by Beyonce
“Hey Jude” by The Beatles
“I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
“All of Me” by John Legend
“Sorry” by Justin Bieber
“You Are the Love of My Life” by Sam Cooke
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
These are just a few pop songs that include the this major chord. As you can see, the C major chord is very versatile and used in many musical styles. With practice and dedication, you can play many of your favorite pop songs on the guitar.
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
“Hotel California” by The Eagles
“Layla” by Eric Clapton
“Blackbird” by The Beatles
“November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
These are just a few examples of rock songs that include the C major chord. As you can see, the C major chord is very versatile and used in many musical styles. With practice and dedication, you can play many of your favorite rock songs on the guitar.
Here are a few popular country song examples that include C Major Chord:
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash
“Country Roads” by John Denver
“Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton
“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline
“Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
“Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank Williams
“Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard
These are a few examples of country songs that include the this major chord. As you can see, the C major chord is very versatile and used in many musical styles. With practice and dedication, you can play many of your favorite country songs on the guitar.
The C major chord is a fundamental chord form in guitar playing. It should be in your toolkit. Switching between the C chord and an A or G chord is an easy way to practice playing the this chord and get it under your fingers. This move frequently occurs in songs incorporating a C chord due to the link between these three chords in music theory.
You’ve instantly unlocked a whole new world of creative possibilities by mastering one of the most significant and common chords in guitar music. Browse the Deplike Learning App’s chord library to find more chords to learn how to play, learn about the many types of chords, and get tips on how to get better at playing them. You can also read blog entries about how to play popular songs on the Deplike Learning App and some unique guitar tips on the Deplike Blog.