How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (2024)

Table of Contents
Easy ways to play C C Major ‘Wow, the C guitar chord looks difficult to play…’ ‘Ok, show me the best way to play the C guitar chord as a beginner guitarist’ C Major 7 The Golden Rule when playing C Major 7 Learn 12 EASY beginner chords with our popular guide Get your own personalised guitar-learning plan 🎸 World-Class Guitar Courses 🌎 ‘Great! What other versions of C should I know about?’ Cadd9 The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord A super-simple version of the C guitar chord C Major (1-finger) The most common C chords Here are some other cool-sounding C chords.What Type of Guitarist Are You?Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The QuizJoin the world's best online guitar school 🌎Get your own personalised guitar learning plan(customised just for YOU).World-class online guitar courses. Learn at your own pace.Community Campus & Learning Forum - A friendly community! Connect with our team & students. 😊Beginner Song library with chordsheets, tabs and tips. (Songs suitable for all levels!)Regular live streams, seminars and Q&A sessions- Learn from world-class guitar educators. Get all your questions answered!Click here to learn more about National Guitar Academy membership Cool Guitar T-shirts 😎Look cooler! Check out our merch: Click here to see our merch storeWant free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?Join over 100,000 guitar-learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding. What Type of Guitarist Are You? Join the world's best online guitar school 🌎 Cool Guitar T-shirts 😎 Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox? Popular Lessons More Cool Guitar Stuff References

The C guitar chord is one of the most common guitar chords of all. In this lesson we’ll look at some super-easy ways to play this fundamental chord.

Over 100,000 guitar-learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

Easy ways to play C

Its full name is “C Major” but most of the time people just call it, “C”.

In its full form it looks like this:

C Major

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (1)

(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

‘Wow, the C guitar chord looks difficult to play…’

Yes, this is a tough chord for beginner guitarists to playbecause it’s spread over three frets, so it requires three fingers to be ‘split’. This is hard in the early days of learning guitar as you don’t have the necessary amount of dexterity, flexibility or strength in your fingers yet.

But don’t worry, thankfully there are some much easier versions of the C guitar chord that you can play that still sound good and will act as ‘stepping stones’ for you in learning the full version of C.

‘Ok, show me the best way to play the C guitar chord as a beginner guitarist’

My preferred version of the C guitar chord for beginner guitarists is called ‘C Major 7’. It looks like this:

C Major 7

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (2)
As you can see this only requires 2 fingers which makes it much easier to play. The chord sounds very similar to a full C chord (because it retains the most important notes).

The Golden Rule when playing C Major 7

During your first 4-6 hours of playing guitar it’s best to play C Major 7 exactly as shown above. At that early stage you just want to get comfortable holding the guitar and strumming simple chords.

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (3)But once you have 6-10 hours of guitar playing under your belt you should begin playing this chord with fingers 2 and 3 (instead of 1 and 2). This will make it much easier for you to progress to play a the full C guitar chord in the near future, as you’ll be accustomed to having finger 1 spare. Adding it on at a later date will be easy.

Trust me, this is hugely important and is the key to learning how to play a full C guitar chord quickly.

However, if you break this ‘Golden Rule’ and continue to play C Major 7 with fingers 1 and 2 (which initially feels more natural) then you will take no long-term benefit from playing it, as the full C shape will still feel foreign and difficult when you eventually try to play it.

Learning to play C Major 7, with fingers 2 and 3, is the ideal stepping stone for you to use in learning to play a full C guitar chord.

Learn 12 EASY beginner chords with our popular guide

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (4)

Stop struggling. Start making music.

Learn beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly! 😎

Get your own personalised guitar-learning plan 🎸

Get a custom guitar-learning plan here: Click here for GuitarMetrics™

World-Class Guitar Courses 🌎

Learn from the world's best guitar educators: Click here for our guitar courses

‘Great! What other versions of C should I know about?’

Cadd9 is a fabulous version of C. It’s pronounced “C added nine” and is a great chord to get under your belt, particularly for acoustic players. It sounds wonderful and flows very nicely before or after a G chord.It looks like this:

Cadd9

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (5)

As you can see Cadd9 is basically a G chord with the two bass notes played a string higher.

The chords of C and G frequently appear together, so playing a Cadd9 instead of C whenever G is the adjacent chord works very well. Not only because it sounds good, but because it’s a very similar shape to G; This means that your fingers don’t have to move much to sound great. Win win!

When the C guitar chord is needed before or after a G chord, try playing Cadd9 instead.

Go on, give it a try. It sounds good, yes? 🙂

Cadd9 isn’t a super-hard chord to learn, but it’s not an easy one either as it requires 4 fingers. Thankfully these are only spread over two frets and are similar in shape to G, so it’s a hand shape that you’ll quickly become accustomed to.

NOTE: As with all versions of C, you should aim to not play the 6th string.

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (6)

The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord

A super-simple version of the C guitar chord

This is the easiest possible version of the C guitar chord. It’s simple to play and is ideal for children (with their smaller hands). It’s also good for adults who are struggling or just starting out with guitar.

C Major (1-finger)

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (7)

The biggest benefit here is that it only requires 1 finger. (Just 1 finger!) The biggest drawback is it doesn’t sound great – it sounds very thin andholds lots oftreble.

But hey it’s only a stepping stone, remember?

This is a good place to start for a C guitar chord, but it would be much better to simply learn C Major 7 as that chord sounds better and is very close to a full C, which should be your ultimate goal.

So there you have it! Some very simple alternative ways to play the C guitar chord, one of the most common guitar chords of all.

The most common C chords

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (8)

That’s the majors and minors taken care of. Let’s look at a few more. Here’s some sevenths!

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (9)

Lastly, two great acoustic C chords:

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (10)

Here are some other cool-sounding C chords
.
How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (11)

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz & get your results: Take The Quiz

Join the world's best online guitar school 🌎

  • Get your own personalised guitar learning plan(customised just for YOU).
  • World-class online guitar courses. Learn at your own pace.
  • Community Campus & Learning Forum - A friendly community! Connect with our team & students. 😊
  • Beginner Song library with chordsheets, tabs and tips. (Songs suitable for all levels!)
  • Regular live streams, seminars and Q&A sessions- Learn from world-class guitar educators. Get all your questions answered!

Click here to learn more about National Guitar Academy membership

Cool Guitar T-shirts 😎

Look cooler! Check out our merch: Click here to see our merch store

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 100,000 guitar-learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (13)

Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm

More Cool Guitar Stuff

Learn about National Guitar Academy: About Us

Join us on Facebookfor daily guitar tips.

Listen toourLearn Guitar Podcastfor rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.

Get our best guitar tips & videos

Where should we send it?

Get our best guitar tips & videos

How to Play the C Guitar Chord | National Guitar Academy (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated:

Views: 6046

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.