The C guitar chord is one of the first chords new players are taught. If you are just now seeing this chord for the first time, I am sure it looks intimidating. The truth is, once you get some practice time under your belt all of these new chords will become second nature.
If you’re looking for some tips on how to play this and other chords, check out our advice on playing guitar chords.
Here are 4 versions of the C chord to challenge your memory and build your hand strength.
Playing the C Chord
This is the first position open version of the C chord. It is played by placing your 3rd finger on the 5th string 3rd fret. Then place your 2nd finger on the 4th string 2nd fret.
Then last you place your 1st finger on the 2nd string 1st fret. Let the 1st and 3rd strings ring openly. Do not strum the 6th string.
This version of C is played as a bar chord on the 3rd fret. To play this version you will bar strings 1 through 5 with the 1st finger at the 3rd fret.
Then you will bar strings 2, 3, and 4 with the 3rd finger on the 5th fret. Try playing the first version, then switch to this version and listen for the subtle difference in sound.
This version of the C chord is played on the 8th fret of your guitar. This is also a bar chord.
To play this version you will bar all 7 strings at the 8th fret with your first finger. Then you place your 3rd finger on the 5th string 10th fret. Now place your 4th finger on the 4th string 10th fret. Last you will place your 2nd finger 3rd string 9th fret.
This last version is like playing an F chord on the 8th fret. It is similar to the C chord above, except you are not barring all strings at the 8th fret. You only bar the first two strings. Try playing all of these versions back to back and listen for the differences.
Songs to Play
Now that you know the C chord, you can play many beginner-friendly songs! Here are just some examples of popular songs from a variety of musical genres:
- “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
- “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
- “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan / Guns N’ Roses
- “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
- “Apologize” by One Republic
- “Let It Be” by The Beatles
- “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash
- “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver
- “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison