ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Performing Arts

Guitar Chords lesson, key of C

Updated on January 3, 2013

Guitar lesson

This lesson is not for complete beginners, but it could help you with basic music theory, which should save a lot of time learning guitar.

A chord is named by a letter (C) and if there is nothing else, it's just a plain or vanilla major chord.

  • small m means minor (Am)
  • Numbers refer to added notes (6,7,9 etc)
  • For instance, C6: if you add a 6, you are adding an A note.
  • The major scale sequence is C D E F G A B C as shown, so note 6 = A
  • Note 7 would be B
  • Note 2 or 9 would be D (once you reach 8, everything begins again)

Reading the chords

The chord pictures below work in the following manner:

  • The six vertical lines are the strings, string 6 (thickest) is on the left, so the headstock is above the diagram
  • The frets are the horizontal lines. Watch out for fret numbers on the left.
  • The small cross sign means, don't play this string, the O means open string.

Guitar Chords - key of C

Key of C

All of the chord and scale material shown here will work together, as it's all in the key of C.

  • Diatonic chords are the ones built from just the notes of the major scale
  • So all the chords here only use notes from the C major scale
  • Am pentatonic is a simplified C scale, and is ideal for improvising.
  • The C major scale is shown as a note pattern, and also with the notes named. It's a good idea to memorize the note names in the scale.
  • The line of chords C C/B, Am7, F maj7 is an example of a common chord progression in the key of C
  • C maj9 is a more jazz -orientated chord, which can be used as an alternative for C maj7.
  • line 5 shows a typical chord progression with a descending bass part, similar to No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley, but used in dozens of well -known songs. The chord symbol C/B means a C chord with a B in the bass. It connects the two chords C and Am in a smooth transition.

Relative minors

Am is the relative minor of C. This means that if you change the bass note from C to A, you can use any C shape to create an Am type chord. Some examples are shown with the arrows.

  • Am pentatonic scale works the same way, as the relative minor scale in the key of C.
  • You can use this scale over the chords in C: C Dm Em F G Am Bm7b5
  • This is called the harmonised scale of C
  • Am pentatonic scale is the same as a C major scale with the B and the F removed
  • These are the two notes which can clash with some of the chords, leading to easy improvisation with no clashing notes.

Other keys

Refer to my other hubs for more info - but basically the same pattern and distances between the notes and the chords in the key of C are replicated in all the other keys. So you don't have to learn a whole new system for every other key.

  • Both the scales and many of the chord shapes can be used to create chords in other keys
  • For instance, C to D is a two fret interval
  • For a D major scale, just move the scale patterns up 2 frets
  • For an E major scale, move up another 2 frets, or 4 in total.
  • C6 up 2 frets = E6. Just the middle 4 strings though.
  • C maj7 barre shape (last chord on line 1) up 2 frets = D maj7
  • Cmaj9 up 4 = E maj9, etc
  • When learning a new chord shape, always experiment with moving it up the neck - sometimes open strings will cause a problem, sometimes they will only enhance the sound.

Chord tones

When you improvise with the scales shown here, bear in mind that all the notes in all the chords will also fit. So if you know the different C maj7 chord shapes, all of the notes in each chord voicing will also fit the chords in the key of C. This is called using the chord tones, and can help you sound confident and accurate long before you really are!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jon Green profile image
      Author

      Jon Green 5 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks Waheed - all the best with your playing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)