Colorful Chords for C Major Scale in Guitar

What’s up, my friends? I’m gonna show you today some colorful chords for C Major Scale in Guitar. If you are playing for a long time, I know that you are now getting bored of playing the same chord positions all the time. You might also noticed that even if you are playing the right chords, you can’t get the sound that you hear in your favorite songs.

A woman doing a C Chord on the Acoustic Guitar

That’s because they are not using the basic chord position. They have modified it and uses different voicings to express the sound they like to hear. But do not worry my friend, I’ve been there. I also get tired of the same chord positions so I seek another way to do the basic chords I know.

But right now, I’m gonna focus on the C Major Scale. I have other articles for other Major Scale because certain chord voicings only work on certain scale. You can check the article here for key of D, E, G, and A if you are also interested in those keys.

The chords in the C Major Scale

Let’s look first on what chords comprise the C Major Scale.

C – Dm – Em – F – G – Am – Bdim – C

If you don’t know how this theory works, I have an article that teaches how to know what chords are in the certain scale. It is easy to know, you just need to study a little bit.

I’ll assume that you know how to play these chords except for the Bdim (B Diminished). Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to do that unless you are a jazz player. But for the modern songs, you won’t encounter it a lot. To be honest, I never encountered that chord in any song I know.

If you do not know some of these chords, I suggest you search for it and then come back here.

The Importance of the 1st and 5th note

Before going to the actual tutorial of chord voicings, I would like to give an emphasis on why these chord positions will sound nice on the C Major Scale alone and not on other scale.

A Guitar player doing a different voicing of a D Chord in an acoustic guitar

The 1st and 5th note of any Major Scale are the most important notes because they are serving as the foundation of the scale. The 1st note serves as the key and the 5th note usually resolves to the 1st note. That’s why most songs start and end in the 1st note. These two notes usually establishes the key of any song.

In the C Major Scale:

1st note = C
5th note = G

These two notes should be, if possible, present at all times in the chord voicings. If you do this, the chords will always sound connected compared to when you are changing chords using the basic position. Don’t worry you’ll understand it later.

Why do we need these chord voicings?

1. It adds different color to your playing
2. Chord changes will be easier.
3. Experts seldom use the normal chord position. They are doing different chord voicings that’s why even if you play the right chords using the basic position, it sounds different.

Different Chord Voicings for the C Major Scale in Guitar

Just for clarity, these chords work best at C Major Scale only. Doing these chord voicings in other scale may sound bad. Always trust your ears during those situations

Cadd5 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of C Major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

Cadd5 Chord

How to do it?

1. Just do the normal C
2. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st string

This chord sounds better for me especially for the modern songs. The added note by your pinky finger is G note which clearly establishes that you are in the C Major Scale.

I still use the normal C but it depends on the song. Just experiment and trust your ears on what chord position will sound better.

CM7add5 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of C Major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

CM7add5 Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal C
2. Remove your pointing finger so that the 2nd string will be an open string
3. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st string

This chord sounds beautiful and I definitely use this for the sad songs. Again, it’s up to you when to use this. I will not guarantee that it will sound good on every song.

Dm7 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of C Major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

Dm7 Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal Dm
2. Remove your ring finger from the 2nd string
3. Flat your index finger in two strings, namely, 1st and 2nd string

I tell you honestly that this chord is hard to do compared to a normal Dm. But do not give up, this sounds better because it sounds connected to other chords in the scale compared to a normal Dm.

The note that you change was in the 2nd string. Originally, you are fretting a D note but in the Dm7 position, you are now fretting a C note which is clearly more important than D.

Em7 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of E minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

Em7 Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal Em
2. Add your ring finger and pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string and 1st string respectively.

I believe that this is one of the basic chord that you knew right from the start. This sounds a little happy compared to the dark and sad sound of a normal Em.

FM9 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of F Major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

FM9 Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal F but don’t do flat
2. Instead of fretting the whole 1st fret with your index finger, just place it in the 1st fret of the 2nd string
3. Leave the 1st string as an open string and don’t strum the 6th string
4. Remove your middle finger on the 3rd string and leave it open

This chord emphasizes the C Major Scale by making sure that the 1st note and 5th note is present. The open string you have made is a G note. This is a perfect chord if the acoustic guitar is a supporting instrument as it gives a lot of space for the lead instruments.

G Major Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of G Major Chord played in an acoustic guitar

G Major Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal G Chord
2. Remove your pointing finger but make sure that the 5th string is muted by your middle finger
3. Place your ring finger in the 3rd fret of the 2nd string

The only reason why you remove your index finger because it adds muddiness in this chord. Actually, do this always when doing a G in whatever scale you are in. This is what the professionals do to sound clear.

Am7 Chord

A hand showing a different voicing of A minor Chord played in an acoustic guitar

Am7 Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal Am Chord.
2. Remove your ring finger making the 3rd string an open string.
3. Place your pinky finger at the 3rd fret of the 1st string.

This chord sounds connected to the C chord compared to a normal Am. And you’ll notice that when going from C to Am, it will be an easy chord change.

G/B (G over B or G slash B)

A hand showing a different voicing of B diminished Chord played in an acoustic guitar

G/B Chord

How to do it?

1. Do a normal G chord
2. Remove your middle finger and make sure that you won’t strum the 6th string.

This should be a diminished chord but because its sound is not applicable for most of modern songs, we use the G/B Chord. The difference of this chord to a G is the bass note. Your bass guitarist will not do a G but rather a B when dealing with this chord.

Some Popular Chord Progressions

I will not include the proper names. Just do the chord voicings I showed above and listen for yourself on how it drastically change the tone of the chords.

1. F – C – G – Am

2. C – G/B – Am – F

3. Dm – G – C – Am

4. F – G – Am – Em

5. C – F – Am – G

6. F – Dm – C – Am

Conclusion

You don’t need to know the exact name of each chord. As long as your fingers know how to do it, it will be enough. These chord voicings will surely add color to your playing.

This is often not taught by others so make sure to remember it. Again, I would like to emphasize that these chords work best for the C Major Scale. I still leave it to your ears. Trust your ears, if it sound good to you, there’s a good chance that it will sound good to others.

So much for the C Major Scale. If you find these chords interesting, please leave a comment and share it to your friends.

>>Check out A Major Scale<<

15 comments on “Colorful Chords for C Major Scale in Guitar

  1. Peace

    Hi Vincent, 

    I have been following your blog much recently and I have seen improvement in my guitar playing skills. 

    Your article on Colorful Chords for C Major Scale in Guitar is detailed and easy to follow. The pictures are a huge help. I am also trying out what I am learning and it is coming out pretty great. Thanks for this article. 

    Reply
  2. Musbau Shittu

    Thanks for sharing this very insightful article, I don’t really know much about playing guitar but I found this article informative and educative on how to play guitar like a professional. You have really imparted me more. I have bookmarked to practice further on this. Thanks, you have really done a great job.

    Reply
  3. John

    This was a very thorough and well presented article on chord voicing. I didn’t realize that such changes could be made. I had always tried to stay strictly to the chord patterns that I was initially taught. The accompanying pictures were very helpful in showing how to place one’s fingers for the correct voicing. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  4. Precious

    This is interesting. Nice chords. I have always wanted to learn this but never had the time and opportunity to learn it. I am a lover of good music, good sounds but never knew how to produce a even one good sound. I am excited to have learnt a lot about these chords in  this article. They are all amazing .

    Reply
  5. Brent

    I really love this article. I am a lover of music and instruments and few weeks ago I started a beginner’s class for guitar and learning to play key C major and I think this article is really gonna help me on play well on C major and also add colour to my playing style. I have bookmarked this page for further reading. Meanwhile I like your guitar, it’s really cool and portable. Great article, great job.

    Reply
  6. Barrywesley

    I will like to commend you for taking out time to write this article about Colorful Chords for C Major Scale in Guitar. Sincerely speaking, I am in love with this, and I am glad I read this article. I am a musician, and I wants to improve my skills on guitar, ‘acoustic guitar. I know when I get home I am going apply these chords, though, without my guitar now,  I won’t how beautiful they will sound. Then talking about Bdiminish, I too havent heard it in a song before, 

    Reply
  7. IAN

    Hi Vincent,

    I am glad I came across your post. I am still a newbie player and left handed at that, and so far I felt a bit limited when it came to guitar lessons.

    I’d be sure to browse some of your more beginner stage lessons. Do you know where I can start?

    I do know that the C Major progression is one of the basic progressions you start off with but I still need to learn every chord. They are sometimes too many to remember. I am more of a piano/violin person and consider these instruments to be easier to learn.

    Reply
  8. Seyi

    Hello, this particular article on chords for C Major scale in guitar has been very helpful. I started learning the acoustic guitar very recently and it’s has been a challenge getting my cord and also the finger placement. I’m glad I came across this this post because of the way you took time to explain it just made it a little easier for me. I already bookmarked this blog. Thanks

    Reply

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