The C Chord


You are now ready to learn your first chord. A chord is a combination of 2 or more notes that sound good together, in other words, they harmonize.

The following few lessons will quickly get you on the road to chord formation, and you don’t even need to know anything about musical theory to begin practicing.

Dozens of notable musicians have made their way to rock stardom with little or no musical theory. For now just concentrate on getting your fingers in the correct positions, the rest will come with practice and time.

The chord we’ve selected to start you on is the chord of C Major, or popularly known as C. This chord is used widely and will relate to many others that you will learn later on. The blue dots in the above diagram indicate the position for each finger. Take your finger and place it just behind the fret indicated. If necessary use your right hand to help put your fingers in place.

The C Chord is formed like this:

  • Index finger just behind the first fret on the second string (B)
  • Middle finger, just behind the 2nd fret on the fourth string (D)
  • Ring finger behind the third fret on the 5th string (A)
  • The first and third string are played open, whereas the 6th string is not played at all.

Note: This lesson explains the most popular fretting for a C Major Chord. Because the guitar has so many frets on it, there are multiple ways to finger any chord.


Now that you know how to finger the C Chord, let’s strum it. To start out use all down strokes. And when you are strumming make sure hit only 5 of the 6 strings. If you look at the diagram to the right you will see that you shouldn’t play the low e string (or the thickest string on the guitar). Make sure when you strum that you count it evenly in sets of 4.

In the below diagram the D stands for down strum and the count underneath should be followed evenly. This is common notation for demonstrating strumming patterns.

If you are just starting out, or if you struggle you may want to count the strumming pattern out loud. A good sense of timing takes a long time to develop but is very important later on when you get into more advanced strumming patterns.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +