How to Play The C Chord on Guitar

Introduction to the C chord on guitar

Learning to play the C chord on guitar is a common first step in a guitarist’s journey. This lesson will help you learn it with ease.

It’s 1 of the 5 foundational open major guitar chords, the other 4 chords being A,G,E, and D.

How to play the open C chord on guitar

The most commonly seen version of the C chord on guitar is the 3 finger, open position shape. This is called the “C shape”.

Here’s how to play the C chord, step-by-step:

  1. Place your index finger on fret 1 of the B string
  2. Place your middle finger on fret 2 of the D string
  3. Place your ring finger on fret 3 of the A string
  4. Strum all strings starting from the A string. Make sure you don’t play the low E string.

Step 1

Step 1 C Chord on Guitar

Step 2

Step 2 C Chord on Guitar

Step 3

Step 3 C Chord on Guitar
Open C Major Chord
C Major Open Chord

Don’t know how to read chord charts? Learn here.

Don’t know the guitar string names and order? Learn here.

The One Finger C Chord

There is an easier way to play the C chord. The one finger C chord uses just a single finger on the fretting hand, the index finger placed at the first fret B string.

With your index finger there, play the G,B, and high E strings. This chord couldn’t be any easier, and is oftentimes a first guitar chord for kids.

One finger C chord on guitar

Understanding the C chord on guitar

Notes in the C chord

The notes in the C chord are C,E, and G.

C chord intervals

1 (root)3 (third)5 (fifth)

Learn about intervals from pudgetsound.

Questions about the C chord on guitar

Is C chord hard on guitar?

If you’re a beginner the C chord might be a bit tough. The C chord is hard because of the wide stretch spreading across 4 strings.

It will become easier as you adapt to using your fingertips and positioning your fret hand properly.

Do you strum all 6 strings for the C chord?

In total you strum five strings for the C chord. These are the five strings below the Low E string: A,D,G,B, and high E.

What’s next?

Now that you’ve learned the C chord on guitar you can move onto new things!

Here are some recommended lessons.

Guitar Chords In The Key Of C Major

Learn The Notes on The Guitar Neck (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Play Guitar Arpeggios: Everything You Need to Know

Music Theory Terms List (PDF & Definitions)