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 [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):
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:
Let’s analyze in detail this chord diagram above to make sure that we understand how to play the C on guitar:
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:
X 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 triad chords and inversions
First Inversion (C/E)
Second Inversion (C/G)
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)
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 Ukulele Chord
Here you can see as well the C uke chord diagram:
C Piano Chord
To play the C chord on piano we only need to find the same music notes on its keys:
First Inversion (C/E)
Second Inversión (C/G)
Music scales in which the C 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 B♭m C D♭ 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 B♭ 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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