Instructor: Dwight H.
From big bands to rock ensembles, and even R&B groups, Dwight has played with them all. He's been teaching guitar for over 10 years. When teaching, he draws from his experience on stage, injecting the knowledge of what it takes to be a gigging musician into every lesson.

C Major Guitar Chord (12 Easy Ways To Play with Charts)


The C Major chord has something of a dual nature. It's one of the most commonly seen chords and a staple of every guitarists arsenal, but it can also be a difficult one for beginners to pull off -- especially if they haven't built up the dexterity and strength in their hands to make the necessary stretch across strings.

There's more than one way to play this all-important chord, and we'll be showing you the 10 best variations of C Major in today's lesson.

How to Play C Major Guitar Chord

The "normal" way to play C Major, in open position, involves three fingers on your fretting hand and requires you to make a little bit of a stretch from the first fret up to the third fret across several strings:

C Guitar Chord

  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd string/1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/3rd fret
  • Play strings 1 and 3 open
  • Mute string 6

C Major Guitar Chord Four-Finger

You can also put a slight twist on this voicing, incorporating your 4th finger into the mix for a different sound:

C Guitar Chord Four-Finger

  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd string/1st fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/3rd fret
  • Play string 3 open
  • Mute string 6

C Major Guitar Chord #1

There are several other ways to play C Major in open position, however, such as:

C Guitar Chord

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings on the 3rd fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string/5th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/5th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/5th fret
  • Mute string 6

C Major Guitar Chord #2

C Guitar Chord Open 2

  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/2nd fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/3rd fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 1st string/3rd fret
  • Mute strings 2, 3, and 6

C Major Guitar Chord 5th Fret

Those open position variants require a fair deal of dexterity, but believe it or not, they aren't the biggest stretch you can make to play C Major. If you're looking for a challenge, you might instead try this voicing on the 5th fret on for size:

C Guitar Chord Fifth Fret

  • Use your 1st finger to cover strings 2, 3, and 4 at the 5th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/7th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 6th string/8th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/8th fret

C Major Guitar Chord 7th Fret #1

For a brighter sounding C Major chord, you'll want to move further up the fretboard. You'll find three voicings you can play at the 7th fret:

C Guitar Chord Seveth Fret 1

  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/7th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/8th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 4th string/10th fret
  • Play string 3 open
  • Mute strings 1 and 2

C Major Guitar Chord 7th Fret #2

C Guitar Chord Seveth Fret 2

  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/7th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/8th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/8th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 1st string/8th fret
  • Mute strings 3 and 4

C Major Guitar Chord 7th Fret #3

C Guitar Chord Seveth Fret 3

  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/7th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 6th string/8th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/8th fret
  • Mute strings 1, 3, and 4

C Major Guitar 6-String Barre

Head higher up the fretboard, to the 8th fret, and you can play C Major as a 6-string barre chord:

C Guitar Chord 6-String Barre

  • Use your 1st finger to bar the strings at the 8th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/9th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th string/10th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 4th string/10th fret

C Major Guitar Non-Barre #1

You also have two non-barre options available to you at the 8th fret:

C Guitar Chord Non-Barre 1

  • Place your 1st finger on the 6th string/8th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 2nd string/8th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 3rd string/9th fret
  • Mute strings 1, 4, and 5

C Major Guitar Non-Barre #2

C Guitar Chord Non-Barre 2

  • Place your 1st finger on the 2nd string/8th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/9th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 4th string/10th fret
  • Mute strings 1, 5, and 6

C Major Guitar Advanced

That last one is especially tricky, since you'll need hit only three strings (and mute all others), but you have one more option left for playing C Major just a little higher on the fretboard:

C Guitar Chord Advanced

  • Place your 1st finger on the 4th string/10th fret
  • Place your 2nd finger on the 3rd string/12th fret
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 1st string/12th fret
  • Place your 4th finger on the 2nd string/13th fret
  • Mute strings 5 and 6

Practice Hard to Master This Chord

Some of these C Major voicings are difficult to master, but this is a very essential chord, so be sure to work hard at adding as many to your repertoire as possible. Good luck, and as always, happy practicing!

Next Lesson:

C7 Guitar Chord

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