C Chord stoping progress

Trying to move on to Grade 2…. Everything going well…… Just can’t get past anything to do with the C chord……. Muting strings constantly. Advice?

Welcome to the community @dnnstrny!

That C cord can be difficult. Maybe post a picture, or a short video of you moving to make the c cord?

I remember spending a lot of focused time moving my fingers into the right shape.

Try leading with different fingers at different times, this helped me get all the fingers to work better together.

Also do the air cord Justin recommends, holding your fingers just above the string then lightly touching down.

Don’t be afraid to go super slo’ mo’ like molasses.


It took me 3 weeks of daily practice to get comfortable with the C Chord and I still have to do periodic refreshers.

I did what @Jamolay suggested with the addition of placing my fingers in position, then making tiny adjustments until no strings were muted. I would then reduce pressure on the strings until the fingers are almost off the string, then place them again. I would repeat that for 20-30 presses. Then remove my hand and repeat the process.

The using different fingers in slow motion was also very helpful.


@dnnstrny THIS! @Jamolay this is what i would’ve said too. . .

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I remember I had some issues with the C Chord too, mostly when I used the C in a song at full speed and whilst strumming. I had the impression to mute strings, as it didn’t sound clean sometimes. Funnily enough, when I played the strings individually or slowly, they all sounded clean. Took a little time until I realised that I was hitting the muted 6th string just a little bit when I was strumming. It wasn’t my fretting, it was unprecise strumming that gave me the impression of muted sound. Maybe worth to check out.

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You’re not alone the C chord and the D minor are both issues for me. I have just started grade 2 just figuring there will always be things to learn along the way. Great advice here, thank you!

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I suggest you move on, but keep a 5-minute practice slot for the C chord (chord-perfect, one-minute changes, etc.) in your routine until you get it up to par with the other open chords. The C chord is used alot, so you’ll want to be good at it (both fingering and changes to/from).


Rest assured you’re not the only one. I’ve grown to dislike (hate is a strong word) the C chord. Some days I’m better on it than others. Some days it feels like it’s actually gotten harder than when I first learned it.

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I had a lot of trouble with the C chord, too. there is a lot of good advice in this thread.

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Thank you for the great advice!..… I was thinking of switching to an electric guitar with ultra thin strings…… just to get used to the placement and changes…… has anyone tried this? Would it impede my progress? Thanks in advance.

Yes, the D minor is a close second for me. Also the A chord the way Justin teaches is a little strange for me… I’m used to the 1/2/3 across finger placement that I was originally trying to learn. I’m gonna go with Justin of course because of the anchoring finger!..…. Also the 2 finger G takes getting used to…. My fingers are accustomed to using 3 fingers……

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Where is your thumb placed? Something that may not be addressed enough and something that really helped me with open chords, barre chords and scale dexterity once I sorted it out. If the fingers are 1,2,3 and 4, placing my thumb behind the neck and well under second finger makes a big difference in angle of the hand and finger placement on all the strings. Anything higher up not good for me. (Will be different for open D chords)

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I am probably right in the middle of the neck… will try bringing it down a bit. Thank you. :+1:

I cheated and used the first 2 fingers only for a while just to get playing songs meanwhile practising how to do it properly until it came . probably what not to do but it got me past a hurdle.

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When I first started, my fingers really hurt and it was keeping me from practicing more than 15 minutes a day. So, I had my electric guitar re-strung with 0.008" - 0.038" D’Addarios. This required a neck adjustment as well due to the lower string tension. This allowed me to practice 45-60 minutes a day while my fingers got stronger and my callouses developed further. However, eventually it was very easy to accidentally bend the strings and press so hard that the notes were going sharp. So, after 6 months, I increased the string diameter to 0.009" - 0.0042" D’Addario’s. After a year using 9’s, I increased 0.010" - 0.046", which is where I have been for over a year now.

I don’t think that the thinner strings helped me form/change chords any better directly, but it did allow me to practice pain-free, which certainly helped my progress. Realize that you’ll need to adjust the truss-rod when making string gauge changes to keep a low enough action for comfortable playing, but it was worth it to me. I used this as an excuse to start doing my own guitar setups (learned how from Justin’s videos).



So after about a month I have made huge improvements thanks to all the advice here.

Basically went electric with thinner gauge strings. Followed by working on air changes and going extremely slow. I also found mastering 2 fingers at a time then adding one really helped as I believe one poster recommended.

You guys/gals are great. Thank you so much!


I’m still a grade 1 with same difficulty with C chord (and Dm also). I went to the web for help and surprisingly, this small tip made a huge difference so I wanted to share:

Raise the neck of your guitar.

I was hunched over trying to get my fingers right for the C chord. It was not going to happen with my posture. Correcting the position of the neck made C chord and Dm chords much easier and I am able to make it sound good during chord perfect practice.

So now, when struggling, I raise the neck, tuck my elbow into my body, have my fingers raised high as I place them on the strings and see if that doesn’t make it easier to make that C chord sound good.


Thanks for sharing this tip Corine and welcome to the community :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, I noticed the same. Sometimes small adjustments on how I hold my guitar will have big effects on how good chords sound and on how well changes from certain chords to others can be made. I’m learning a song at the moment that includes a change from Em to Fmajor7 with a C bass (love the sound of that chord), and it’s just as you say… Things will go much more smoothly when I’m raising the neck just a little bit more.

If you have a moment, why don’t you introduce yourself here :slightly_smiling_face:

I have been playing about 4 months, making progress in everything except the 3-fret Dm and C chords. I found these chords almost impossible to play with fingers 1, 2, and 3. (I could do them with excessive difficulty using fingers 1, 3, and 4.) But I just had a breakthrough. I tucked my fretting arm close to my body. That instantly enabled me to angle my hand and fingers. Voila! I could do the chords with fingers 1, 2, and 3.


Hooray! Don’t you love those breakthroughs? Congratulations, Peter @xtc4. :smiling_face:

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