The C Chord

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

1 Like

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.


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.

1 Like

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.


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

1 Like

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

1 Like

Good Afternoon, I was wondering roughly how long it should take you practicing daily the finger stretches to be able play the c chord. I have been at it for over a month and my finger stretches are almost no better than when I started. It is really slow to transition from any other chord I have learned so far.
Thank You

1 Like

Jack everyone is different.

Are you practicing fast chord changes? Aka as many in 60 seconds as you can do?
C-A or C-E?

Also position of the guitar and hand/thumb can help or hinder a lot.

Getting speed and flexibility plus strength into your hand for guitar takes a long time.


Tricky one to answer Jack, as Rob says we’re all so different that I don’t think setting a time limit or expectation is a good thing. Which finger stretches are you referring to, the one in module 4? How are you finding C as a chord to play generally? Is it ringing clearly some of the time, not at all?

You could try practicing the shape higher up the neck using a capo perhaps just to get the feel in whilst still keeping your stretching exercises going to work your way back towards the nut. It’s just going to need time I suspect which I appreciate is probably a frustrating answer but it will come!


I just want to say, C can be a tricky one! I’ve been using it for, well, months, and while I’ve made a lot of improvement, it’s still one of my slowest chord changes. It’s not so much that my fingers can’t make the reach, I just think it’s because the fingers are so spread out, there’s a lot more room for error? When the fingers are closer together, it seems easier to see them as a single cluster than as separate fingers. That’s my own motor learning theory at least, as someone who took motor learning in college. :man_shrugging: In that respect, I think the drills (e.g. minute changes, air changes) help, it just takes time.


Took me well over 6 months to get it close, and get the changes OK. Just keep practicing. You’ll get there.

1 Like

I can get it clear once in a while. my ring finger doesn’t get close enough to the fret most of the time. I have acrually used my right hand to pull my ring finger close enough to the to make it work. It just seems the ring finger and middle finger stay close together. Yes it is beginner one mudulr 4.

Thank You everyone for the help. I really appreciate it.

tbh get someone to take a couple photos of your hand on the fret and thumb

or post a video

Its worth getting someone to look at your hand/thumb position before you hurt yourself or go through a lot more frustration


The person who said to share photos is right.

Anyway I found it impossible to stretch my fingers like Justin does in the videos in my first 30 - 40 hours, and played C with my 2nd and 3rd fingers in the middle of their frets. So if you can achieve that, I don’t think there’s a need to go for perfection right now. Also don’t play with the middle tip of your index finger, play it tilted slightly side-ways/ towards the thumb to get an extra inch or so.

The beginner finger independence warm up exercise along with more practice improved my dexterity over time. Just continue to go slow (less than 60bpm) until you’re familiar with it.

I injured my fretting hand recently after gaining the thrill of chord switching at 120bpm+ and doing so without getting the basic wrist and finger postures right for new chords, while over practising at the same time (3hrs a day in 1 hour+ blocks). The pain only comes 1 day later so be careful!

This sounds odd to me to be honest, I’m only 5’4 and can manage this with no stretching ever having been done , my hand span is just 8 inches. ! Are you sure you have your hand/arm ORIENTATION correct. ? When i look at my left palm whilce playing C ,the neck of the guitar is at 45degrees across my palm from index finger to inside of wrist (almost)

The easiest change for this chord is Amin to C as you only need to move your ring finger. If you can do Amin then you can do C.

Double check your hand position and give some more info if poss ok.



The C chord… my worst enemy right now.

My brain knows what it wants to do but my fingers have other plans entirely.
So I feel your pain and your frustration.

I can just about stretch my fingers into place but getting the muscle memory to do it on demand is just not possible right now.

To be fair, I’ve only been using it for a couple of months but it’s nowhere near as intuitive as the other beginner chords.

1 Like

Definitely an anatomical issue IMO which is why some people struggle more than others… I am still struggling to stretch my third finger across so i passed the guitar to my wife who has never played and she played a C with no problem-weird.
Guess we are all built differently. I am 6ft 1in and normal size hands and my wife is not much bigger than 5 ft with small hands.

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


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!