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C Guitar Chord and Family

C Guitar Chord is Part 3 in a 14 part series on Beginner Guitar Lessons. The C chord can be both major or minor and can be played in multiple places on the guitar. We will also learn all of the diatonic chords in the key of C Major. These are great guitar song chords.

NOTE: To review the major scale visit C Major Scale.



A triad is a 3 note chord. You need a root, a 3rd and a 5th. Below is a C major scale.

C major scale

Take the 1st note C, the 3rd note E and the 5th note G. This makes a C Major chord. Often the 1st note (also called the root or the tonic) and/or the 5th note is doubled. The 3rd is rarely doubled, but is in this case.

In the C chord below, the notes are as follows:

Top string - muted (not played)
5th string - C (root)
4th string - E (3rd)
3rd string - G (5th)
2nd string - C (root doubled)
1st string - E (3rd doubled or muted)

*muted - keeping it from sounding by gently pushing on string


c guitar chord
c guitar chord


A minor triad is still a 3 note chord. You need a root, a minor 3rd and a 5th. C minor is the relative minor (VI chord) in Eb Major.

Below is a C minor scale. The notes are: C,D,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb

c minor scale

Take the 1st note C, the 3rd note E which is now down a half step (or semi-tone) to Eb and the 5th note G. This makes a C minor chord.

In the C minor bar chord below the notes are as follows:

Here the 1st note (also called the root or the tonic) and the 5th note are doubled. The 3rd is only played once.

Top string - (not played)
5th string - C (root)
4th string - G (5th)
3rd string - C (root doubled)
2nd string - Eb (minor 3rd)
1st string - G (5th doubled)


C minor chor
c minor chord


The reason we begin with the key of C is that it is the first chord in the Circle of 5ths and has no sharps or flats.

circle of 5ths

To review music theory chords in a key visit C Major Chord and Chord Theory in the Music Theory section and return.

There are 7 chords in a key indicated by roman numerals. In C Major they are as follows:

C Major is the I Major chord
D minor is the II minor chord
E minor is the III minor chord
F Major is the IV Major chord
G Major is the V Major chord
A minor is the VI minor chord
B diminished is the VII diminished chord

C Major / I Major

C Major chord

D minor / II minor

D minor chord

E minor / III minor

E minor chord

F Major / IV Major

F Major chord

G Major / V Major

G Major chord

A minor / VI minor

A minor chord

B diminished / VII diminished

B diminished chord

Thanks for viewing C Guitar Chord and Family. Now let's move to our next chord family in the Circle of 5ths, G. It introduces our first sharp, F#.

Continue to Part 4, G Guitar Chords

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