Chords: C Major 1st Position

Course: Chords: C Major 1st Position



By looking at the C Major chord we begin to introduce the idea of idea of two different ways of playing certain chords. This has to do with the usage of the bar to cover all of the strings on a particular fret. This skill will become increasingly more important as we explore playing notes and chords in different positions across the neck of the Cuatro. More of this to come later! Have a look on how the C Major chord is played with the Cuatro below:

C Major 1st Position

The positioning of the fingers mark the following notes:

1st string – C
2nd string – E
3rd string – G
4th string – C

The 3rd and 4th string are both marked on the 1st fret which gives us an opportunity to mark both of these with the same finger by placing the index finger across all of the strings on the 1st fret. This is a great way to get accustomed to play as marking 2 strings with 1 finger liberates one of your other fingers to mark other notes. In this case the index, middle and ring finger are occupying a string. This leaves the pinky to be free to mark other notes such as the 3rd string on 3rd or 5th fret. This allows you to include different effects to the original chord and play notes corresponding to the C Major scale which we will see in a future lesson. Take a closer look at how the C Major chord is played below:

C Major Chord Bar

There is another way of playing the C Major chord and other chords which follow a similar shape as it does (this we too will be reviewing as you progress). The method requires a complete shift in what fingers play which strings:

  1. 1st string – 3rd fret – pinky
  2. 2nd string – 2nd fret – ring
  3. 3rd string – 1st fret – index
  4. 4th string – 1st fret – middle

As you can see, all of the fingers are now occupied and there are limitations compared to the method with the bar. It is important to get to know both playing styles because later on when switching from one chord to another, you will be able to select the method of playing which is most comfortable to you and which facilitates the change the easiest.

C Major Chord Alternative

Now have a look at how to play the C Major Chord in the following video:

Would you like a tip and something to look into the future? If you mark the exact chord of C Major, but starting with the bar on the 3rd fret, the resulting chord & note will be D Major in it’s second position! We will explore this later on but this is a small introduction on how you can apply the figure of C Major and play another note in a different position. Just a tip!

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