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C Major Chord on Guitar, Piano and Ukulele – How to Play it

The C major chord is built from a root note (C), a major third (E), and a perfect fifth (G):

  • Type: major triad.
  • Formule: 1 3 5.
  • Music notes: C (1) E (3) G (5).
  • Chords to play with: IV (F) y V (G).
C chord pentagram staff stave

C chord [Musical explanation]

The C major chord is a major triad with formula 1 – 3 – 5. Therefore, to build it we need C (1), E (3), G (5):

what notes are in the C chord

This is due to the fact that a major chord is made up of 2 third intervals:

  • A major interval (4 half steps between the 3rd and root).
  • A minor inteval (3 half steps between the 5th and 3rd).

If we apply this principle to the C chord we obtain that:

  • E is the major third of C because it is 4 half steps above the root.
  • G is the perfect fifth of C because it is 3 half steps above the 3rd.

Thus, this confirms that the C major chord is defined by:

Root (C) – Major Third (E) – Perfect Fifth (G)

C Guitar Chord

The C major chord guitar has the following shape on the fretboard:

how to play C on guitar

Let’s analyze in detail this chord diagram above to make sure that we understand how to play the C on guitar:

C major guitar chord
C guitar diagram

Let’s start by analyzing the 3 circles in blue, which indicate that on the strings 5 (A), 4 (D) and 2 (B) we have to place the fingers 3 (ring finger), 2 (middle) and 1 (index).

Note by the way the number 1 in black on the left that indicates on which fret we start playing the chord.

On the other hand, at the top we see that we have the characters:

C  E  G  C  E

This simply means that in the:

  • Sixth string there is no sound.
  • Fifth string sounds the C note.
  • Fourth string sounds the E note.
  • Third string sounds the G note.
  • Second string sounds the C note.
  • First string sounds the E note.

And at the bottom we find the numbers:

1  3 5  1  3

This indicates that in the:

  • Sixth string There is no number because there is no sound.
  • Fifth string sounds the root (1).
  • Fourth string sounds the major third (3).
  • Third string sounds the perfect fifth (5).
  • Second string sounds the root (1).
  • First string sounds the major third (3).

⚠️ Important: it is not mandatory to memorize all this information to play the C chord on guitar. But it is highly recommended to know it in order to understand the musical theory behind each chord.

Other ways to play the C guitar chord

In addition to the diagram shown at the beginning of the article, we can also find the C chord in the following fretboard positions:

C major chord guitar

C major triad chords and inversions

Triads

C major guitar triad chord

First Inversion (C/E)

C guitar chord first inversion CE

Second Inversion (C/G)

C guitar chord second inversion CG

What chords are in C major?

The B major scale harmonized results on the following chords:

C (I) – Dm (ii) – Em (iii) – F (IV) – G (V) – Am (vi) – Bº (viiº)

C major scale harmonized

A very good chord to practice with C is the G chord, since it is the fifth chord in the progression and the dominant.

C Chord guitar

C Ukulele Chord

Here you can see as well the C uke chord diagram:

C ukulele
C on ukulele

C Piano Chord

To play the C chord on piano we only need to find the same music notes on its keys:

c major chord piano
A piano

First Inversion (C/E)

C piano chord 1st inversion CE

Second Inversión (C/G)

C piano chord 2nd inversion CG

Music scales in which the B major chord can be found

  • C major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • C Dm Em F G Am Bdim
  • F major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • F Gm Am B♭ C Dm Edim
  • G major scale (harmonized with triads)
    • G Am Bm C D Em G♭dim
  • A minor natural scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Am Bdim C Dm Em F G
  • E natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Em G♭dim G Am Bm C D
  • D natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Dm Edim F Gm Am B♭ C
  • F harmonic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Fm Gdim A♭aug Bbm C Db Edim
  • E harmonic minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Em G♭dim Gaug Am B C E♭dim
  • F natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Fm Gm A♭aug Bb C Ddim Edim
  • G natural minor scale (harmonized with triads)
    • Gm Am B♭aug C D Edim G♭dim

C Major Chord PDF

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