Guitar Chords - C Major Chord

Easy Explained C Major chord on Guitar

This article will show you the C major chord on the first position or open position and then show you the chord’s notes with two simple approaches.

C Major is one of the most popular chords that every guitarist learns on his or her first guitar playing day. C Major is another major triad that consists of three notes:

  • Root: C
  • 3rd: E
  • 5th: G

Hold the C Major chord, put your first finger on the second string, and fret number one.
Then put your second finger on the fourth string, fret number two, and your third finger on the fifth string, fret number five.

C Major Chord - Iman Music Studio

If you hit all six strings, you will have a C/E chord, which is known as slash chords. C/E demonstrates that you have a C chord with an E note on base.

C Major over E Chord C/E - Iman Music Studio

If you remember from the last chord, B, I explained two different approaches that you can come up with to find the notes of the chord:

  • Counting Half Steps
  • First, Major Third, and Perfect Fifth Method

Counting Half Steps

The formula for this approach is R+4+3

So the Root here is C, and then you need to go up to four half-steps from C to find the Major Third:

C  1 C#  2  D  3  D#  4  E

For the Perfect Fifth, go up another three half-steps from note E:

E  1  F  2  F#  3  G

The perfect fifth note is G, so for the C Major chord, we have these notes: 

Root + 4 + 3 = C + E + G


First, Major Third, and Perfect Fifth Method

If you write down the C scale, then you will have:

C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C

The first is C, and the Major Third is E, and the Perfect Fifth is G. Again, the same notes, but different approaches.

Another effective way for guitarists to remember the chords’ structures is by playing with the guitar’s half and whole steps. For instance, you find the C note on the fifth string, fret number three, then try to move up four half-steps from C and find the E note on the lower string and do the same to find the G note. After a while, the magic will happen, and you will come up with different shapes of a chord that you found yourself.

It’s up to you how you find the chord notes, maybe it seems to be challenging initially, but you get used to it after a while.

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