The C Major Chord for Beginners

Among the primary guitar chords for beginners are some which represent the root of the most common keys, and which serve as chords within other popular keys too. For example the C Major chord is the fourth chord in the key of G Major, however it is also the root of C Major. This usually seems very confusing when you are learning to play guitar yet it is very important to learn these chords. The good thing is that you do not need to fully understand all of this music theory just to make enjoyable music on the guitar.

So, jumping right in, the fingerings on the strings in this guitar lesson include all but one of the six guitar strings, and it is the open sixth.

C Major Chord Diagram

You can see this in the chord diagram shown here which uses a red “X” to indicate that the sixth string is not to be played. All of the other strings are strummed when playing the full C chord in the open position. This means that you should learn how to avoid hitting the sixth string accidentally because it can cause the chord to sound bad, or wrong.

One such way to mute the string (prevent it from being heard), is to use the thumb of your fretting hand. You can simply reach over the “top” of the guitar neck with your thumb to slightly touch the sixth string and this will mute it, thus causing it to not be heard when you are strumming the other five strings. Another approach to this would be to use the ring finger of your fretting hand to barely touch the sixth string which will also create the desired muted effect. Learning and practicing these techniques with guitar chords for beginners will help you play them smoother and clearer as you begin to develop the ability to switch between different chords.

The video part of this guitar lesson lets you see and hear the way that the chord is played on an acoustic guitar. All of this information can be applied identically on an electric guitar as well.

The notes and fingerings are just the beginning though, as you need to practice using your left and right hands in order to develop your physical ability. One of the best ways to start is to learn beginner guitar chords like the C chord taught here, and the G chord in this lesson so that you can practice switching between them. The music theory behind how the chords fit together is important too, yet it will make more sense after you learn some chords and begin to hear what they sound like as they are played together.

3 thoughts on “The C Major Chord for Beginners

  1. Do you have to use your thumb to mute the strings? If you really strum the chord kind of fast then those other strings sound out and I can tell that they shouldn’t to sound good.

    1. It can be tricky to use your fretting hand thumb to reach over the top of the guitar neck. If you can train your hand to do this then it comes in really handy when playing. If not, then the finger tips of your fretting hand are the next best thing. After practicing enough though, your strumming hand should develop more control over which strings you don’t want to hear.

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