How To Play The C Chord

Ready to learn the C chord? It’s not the easiest, but it’s a must! Lesson here.

I’m curious why it’s necessary to mute the low-E string when playing the C chord. Why not just avoid hitting that string like when playing the A or Am chords? I’m just learning the C and find that I can either mute the E string or play the A string; doing both has been very very hard.

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Hi Ben , you can play C in both ways. You need to either mute the low E or not play it in order that the C note remains the root of the chord. The exceptions would be if you were playing an inversion of the C chord.

Hello @benriga and welcome to the community.

You also do this. Unlike A and Am you do have a finger on the 5th string giving the option of placing it down in such a way so as to mute the 6th string. THen you have two means of keeping the 6th string from sounding out. Not hitting it. Muting it.

Got it. Thanks Eddie and Richard. It’s only been a day since started learning C. I’ll keep trying and figure out which way works best for me.

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Its always best (habit) to mute strings you dont want sounding anyhow.

Yep, anything that’s forgiving of sloppy strumming is good in my book!

C chord perfect for me… great…

Changing to it from any other cord… impossible no matter how much I practice…lol

C chord is REALLY holding me back from making progres…lol

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Freakin’ masochist invented this chord! Okay, yeah, I only tried it for the first time tonight, two 3 minute chord perfect (NOT!) practices. About all I can say is, I think I’ve got the B string ringing out okay. Anything else? heh, heh, heh. I watched the video for a 3rd time though and noted Justin said to put your thumb halfway down behind the neck, I think mine was up too high, maybe that will help.

I hope I’ll be able to eventually mute the 6th string, too, my strumming is very sloppy!

It is the first really stretchy one Rebecca. Practice will continue to work out, fear not!

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I didn’t watch the whole video, so I didn’t hear Justin say that, but if you watch his hand position, he certainly isn’t playing with this thumb behind the neck. He generally plays with his thumb visible above the neck. In fact, when he demonstrates the wrong way to play (at around 0:45 of the video), he drops his thumb behind the neck. Try to position your hand the way Justin has it.

I would say that if you angle your fingers correctly, it’s not that stretchy. Again, he talks about finger angle at 0:45 of the video. If you don’t angle the fingers, it is indeed stretchy (which Justin mentions).

That’s not to say that it’s easy! Getting enough curl in your fingers to not mute the other strings takes experimentation and practice.

One other tip: make sure your nails are cut short, especially on the index finger. If I have even the smallest nail protruding, I can’t get the tip of my index finger straight enough to prevent the high-E string getting muted.

Good luck!

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If you’re beginner, you definitely should keep your thumb around the midline of the neck to build muscle strength for barre chords.

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In a lot of his videos, he mentions his thumb being visible but doesn’t recommend that for beginners. I guess he uses it to mute this 6th string on occasion. I’ll check the video where you mentioned it, thanks.

Yeah, I understand Justin teaches this, but I never understood the logic of it. Some chords are just a lot easier if you let the thumb rest higher on the back of the neck: C and mini-barre F come to mind. It seems odd to learn a chord in a non-optimal way to achieve a completely different and unconnected goal: building hand strength.

I suppose there are other reasons for having beginners play with a low thumb. Maybe some teacher in the community (even Justin?) could weigh in.

Well, what is optimal is subjective. Like, I don’t understand how the mini barre F would be easier with the thumb higher up. Personally, I learned thumb placement in the way it was recommended in the lessons and I don’t think it made progress any more difficult.

Also, why would hand strength be unconnected to playing chords?