Difficulty with c chord

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zollybosher

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Joined: 07/19/18

Posts: 12

whist finding A,D,G,E A minor chords relatively easy enough. I am really struggling with the full C chord amd have been for a few weeks now. I have tried 2nd string 1 st fret and 4th 2nd without any problems amd the same day with 5th and 4th string but when it comes to all 3 strings it all goes wrong

eirher my 1st finger wants to come in or my palm catches top E. If I adjust then the A string becomes mute, unless real force is applied and I cannot hold this position for long. My 1st finger is the problem in that Incannot get it to stay in place without drifting or catching the G string. Their are moments albeit brief that I actually do play the chord but it’s hit and miss and even though I am watching were my fingers are I don’t seem to get the same placing, either hand or finger stop the chord. Also if I adjust my hand too much then the D string just becomes dead or mute

this chord looks easy but is killing me. I don’t want to move on until it’s clean as it’s a major chord in most music. Can anyone advise how they approach this chord or have mastered it. I have looked at tutorials on line but it’s just not sticking. My hands are quite small and playing Yamaha F310

#1

whist finding A,D,G,E A minor chords relatively easy enough. I am really struggling with the full C chord amd have been for a few weeks now. I have tried 2nd string 1 st fret and 4th 2nd without any problems amd the same day with 5th and 4th string but when it comes to all 3 strings it all goes wrong

eirher my 1st finger wants to come in or my palm catches top E. If I adjust then the A string becomes mute, unless real force is applied and I cannot hold this position for long. My 1st finger is the problem in that Incannot get it to stay in place without drifting or catching the G string. Their are moments albeit brief that I actually do play the chord but it’s hit and miss and even though I am watching were my fingers are I don’t seem to get the same placing, either hand or finger stop the chord. Also if I adjust my hand too much then the D string just becomes dead or mute

this chord looks easy but is killing me. I don’t want to move on until it’s clean as it’s a major chord in most music. Can anyone advise how they approach this chord or have mastered it. I have looked at tutorials on line but it’s just not sticking. My hands are quite small and playing Yamaha F310

manXcat

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Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 252

I was just about to ask what guitar are you using and do you have small hands when I read your last line.

The reason I ask is that IME some acoustic guitars with larger neck dimensions and wide string spacing can be more of a stretch (difficult) to fret open C quickly in progression changes for smaller hands.

The current model Yamaha F310 has narrow 10mm string spacing which makes chording easier for both beginner and those with smaller hands. Its nut is 43mm, with a scale length of 25". Those are the same specs as my APX600 BTW. Both come fitted with 12s default. Although I suspect they had youngster friendly hands in mind when they designed that spacing, it works for me. I have relatively small hands with proportionate to hand size fingers (not long), although I take a medium in a glove size rather than a small for basis of meaningful comparison.

So that said, unless you hands are tiny as in unusually small or petite, the F310 really shouldn't be presenting a problem with fingering Open C. It's made as an entry level guitar for beginners and has as a primary design objective being an easy chording player for beginners.

If there's any chord you should be having issues with on the F310 or APX600 it's A. Very crowded with any multi-fingered form to the point that although I can finger it with either conventional or 'Justin A', I find barre A works best for me. If you can play A cleanly without muting or par muting the G string by involuntary obstruction on those guitars, your hands and fingers in particular must be definitively small or slim. I can only imagine the frustration of anyone with larger hands with playing a multi-fingered Open A on them.

Only things my experience can helpfully suggest if you're finding C difficult on the F310 are finger flexibility exercises, to (stretch) warmup before playing, and focus on thumb and hand positioning on the neck as well as exercising cognizance of your fingers curvature in positioning as you play C so you can adjust them as required, then maintain that awareness in playing until it becomes rote.

Unless you actually have a physical stretch span limitation, it's just about thinking it through, making any adjustments necessary, then repetitious practise until you get it right.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

#2

I was just about to ask what guitar are you using and do you have small hands when I read your last line.

The reason I ask is that IME some acoustic guitars with larger neck dimensions and wide string spacing can be more of a stretch (difficult) to fret open C quickly in progression changes for smaller hands.

The current model Yamaha F310 has narrow 10mm string spacing which makes chording easier for both beginner and those with smaller hands. Its nut is 43mm, with a scale length of 25". Those are the same specs as my APX600 BTW. Both come fitted with 12s default. Although I suspect they had youngster friendly hands in mind when they designed that spacing, it works for me. I have relatively small hands with proportionate to hand size fingers (not long), although I take a medium in a glove size rather than a small for basis of meaningful comparison.

So that said, unless you hands are tiny as in unusually small or petite, the F310 really shouldn't be presenting a problem with fingering Open C. It's made as an entry level guitar for beginners and has as a primary design objective being an easy chording player for beginners.

If there's any chord you should be having issues with on the F310 or APX600 it's A. Very crowded with any multi-fingered form to the point that although I can finger it with either conventional or 'Justin A', I find barre A works best for me. If you can play A cleanly without muting or par muting the G string by involuntary obstruction on those guitars, your hands and fingers in particular must be definitively small or slim. I can only imagine the frustration of anyone with larger hands with playing a multi-fingered Open A on them.

Only things my experience can helpfully suggest if you're finding C difficult on the F310 are finger flexibility exercises, to (stretch) warmup before playing, and focus on thumb and hand positioning on the neck as well as exercising cognizance of your fingers curvature in positioning as you play C so you can adjust them as required, then maintain that awareness in playing until it becomes rote.

Unless you actually have a physical stretch span limitation, it's just about thinking it through, making any adjustments necessary, then repetitious practise until you get it right.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

zollybosher

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Joined: 07/19/18

Posts: 12

Thanks for the reply

I bought this guitar due to its slim neck and suitability for beginners and intermediate. I have been trying to play now for @ 4 months and in that time have had private tuition for a small period. My tutotors response to the C chord is you can or cant its simple, you figure a way or give up.

Thing is I dont want to give up but the problem seems to be my first or ring finger I can hold 2 notes but when it comes to introducing the 3rd either1st or ring it all falls apart. Etither my 1st finger slides right up to and on top of the fret or even worse goes down on to the 2nd or my ring finger mutes the D unless I press with great force my ring finger down

I have looked at on line videos and everyone seems to have their 1st finger straight. this is not an option for me if I do that I cant reach the A so my 1st is bent and the note is played with the side of the tip of my finger instead of head on. if I dont do this then the G mutes. I know everone at some point will hit a "wall" but this is so soon and I dont want to give up already. Furthermore if I do get the chord I then have the issue of my palm catching the top E and it doesnt ring clear I know this because I can hear it when I strum, it doesnt ring true

I have also tried playing like Classical with the guitar on my left knee and also tilting the neck but that feels akward and didnt really help, I have "when sucesfull looked and tried to remember where my fingers are, but unlike the other chords where I can visualise and shape my fingers to the chord pattern, when it comes to placing them on the guitar it just doesnt work its like hit and miss,

I suppose I am posting because I dont want to give up, but am finding it almost impossible, when I know it IS possible, just I cant figure out how to fix it. I dont want to carry on if I cant get this "common" chord right as it would mean playing at 50% if not more."oh, sorry cant do that chord can we skip it" Does it.

#3

Thanks for the reply

I bought this guitar due to its slim neck and suitability for beginners and intermediate. I have been trying to play now for @ 4 months and in that time have had private tuition for a small period. My tutotors response to the C chord is you can or cant its simple, you figure a way or give up.

Thing is I dont want to give up but the problem seems to be my first or ring finger I can hold 2 notes but when it comes to introducing the 3rd either1st or ring it all falls apart. Etither my 1st finger slides right up to and on top of the fret or even worse goes down on to the 2nd or my ring finger mutes the D unless I press with great force my ring finger down

I have looked at on line videos and everyone seems to have their 1st finger straight. this is not an option for me if I do that I cant reach the A so my 1st is bent and the note is played with the side of the tip of my finger instead of head on. if I dont do this then the G mutes. I know everone at some point will hit a "wall" but this is so soon and I dont want to give up already. Furthermore if I do get the chord I then have the issue of my palm catching the top E and it doesnt ring clear I know this because I can hear it when I strum, it doesnt ring true

I have also tried playing like Classical with the guitar on my left knee and also tilting the neck but that feels akward and didnt really help, I have "when sucesfull looked and tried to remember where my fingers are, but unlike the other chords where I can visualise and shape my fingers to the chord pattern, when it comes to placing them on the guitar it just doesnt work its like hit and miss,

I suppose I am posting because I dont want to give up, but am finding it almost impossible, when I know it IS possible, just I cant figure out how to fix it. I dont want to carry on if I cant get this "common" chord right as it would mean playing at 50% if not more."oh, sorry cant do that chord can we skip it" Does it.

manXcat

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Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 252

Concur. Cmaj is a chord you really can't ignore in the repetoire, and a 3rd barre Cmaj whilst it still sounds pretty, fuller on electric or e-acoustic than pure acoustic, still doesn't have that open chord timbre. It could also be a progression change PITA unless using other barres in the progression.

All that said you may have to compromise with it or resort to or a "lazy C" if you can't figure out a way to finger conventional open Cmaj. If it were me, I'd take a step back, analyse the why and correct it by trial and error accompanied by hours of perseverence and repetition, repetition, more repetion if necessary. As iterated in my earlier post, open C is pretty easy on the APX600/F310 necks even for the smaller hand and fingers, assuming no injuries, osteo or other physically inhibiting factors.

Although it shouldn't be a factor, I have to say I detest Dreadnoughts. Could the way you are holding/resting the body and resultant neck/fretting hand 'body English' in any way be interfering with your hand placement and fretting of C? Perhaps pop into a store and try something like the APX. Make sure it's a 600 not the 500III it succeeded, as the 500 & 700, 800 all have wider string spacing and the latter series wider nuts if I recall accurately.

Inexpensive alternatives with pretty tone are Cort's AF510 and cutaway AF515CE. Both are smaller Concert bodies, slimmer depth athough not slimline, and whilst the necks are more conventional and string spacing wider, they are both a delight to fret with no issues achieving any of the stretchier open chords like Fmaj.The AF510 comes in inexpensive pure acoustic or electric acoustic versions (CE suffix), the 515 is CE only and thus dearer. I've many hours hands on the AF510s. Here is what one sounds like by a better player than the orator in the previous descriptive link. Impressive guitar for so little money. They perform way above their price point, and importantly, are a pleasure to fret.

GL with Cmaj. You will find a way.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

#4

Concur. Cmaj is a chord you really can't ignore in the repetoire, and a 3rd barre Cmaj whilst it still sounds pretty, fuller on electric or e-acoustic than pure acoustic, still doesn't have that open chord timbre. It could also be a progression change PITA unless using other barres in the progression.

All that said you may have to compromise with it or resort to or a "lazy C" if you can't figure out a way to finger conventional open Cmaj. If it were me, I'd take a step back, analyse the why and correct it by trial and error accompanied by hours of perseverence and repetition, repetition, more repetion if necessary. As iterated in my earlier post, open C is pretty easy on the APX600/F310 necks even for the smaller hand and fingers, assuming no injuries, osteo or other physically inhibiting factors.

Although it shouldn't be a factor, I have to say I detest Dreadnoughts. Could the way you are holding/resting the body and resultant neck/fretting hand 'body English' in any way be interfering with your hand placement and fretting of C? Perhaps pop into a store and try something like the APX. Make sure it's a 600 not the 500III it succeeded, as the 500 & 700, 800 all have wider string spacing and the latter series wider nuts if I recall accurately.

Inexpensive alternatives with pretty tone are Cort's AF510 and cutaway AF515CE. Both are smaller Concert bodies, slimmer depth athough not slimline, and whilst the necks are more conventional and string spacing wider, they are both a delight to fret with no issues achieving any of the stretchier open chords like Fmaj.The AF510 comes in inexpensive pure acoustic or electric acoustic versions (CE suffix), the 515 is CE only and thus dearer. I've many hours hands on the AF510s. Here is what one sounds like by a better player than the orator in the previous descriptive link. Impressive guitar for so little money. They perform way above their price point, and importantly, are a pleasure to fret.

GL with Cmaj. You will find a way.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

zollybosher

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Joined: 07/19/18

Posts: 12

Back with an update. I have NO issues with any of the major and minor chords E minor G major A minor even A major ( which was the first chord I learnt to play successfully)

But even though I can swap from A minor to E my mor to D Major when it comes to C Major I am really really struggling.

I have tried going back and back step by step but when it comes to my ring finger on the 5 th string 3rd fret all bets are off. In order to get pressure on the string my 1st finger is right on the 1st fret, it bent in order for the D string to ring. The problem is that the notes are played but my palm catches the 1st string E

No matter how or what I try I end up with either my plan catching the string so it sounds tinny or buzzes slightly. Believe me I have had my hand in so many different positions, some of time high are quite painful. Only to be dashed again

What annoys me most is that I like this playing the Yamaha but C Major is such an important chord I would gladly swap it for a the other chords I have learnt even G major is or has been easy enough. Plus now I have started with rhythm I am enjoying just swapping and doing my own thing around the chords

Their has to be a way of getting all 3 fingers down without catching either the 1st or 3rd string. It is really frustrating

its not that I can’t reach it’s the ability to get a position we’re all 3 strings are down and nothing on the other 2

#5

Back with an update. I have NO issues with any of the major and minor chords E minor G major A minor even A major ( which was the first chord I learnt to play successfully)

But even though I can swap from A minor to E my mor to D Major when it comes to C Major I am really really struggling.

I have tried going back and back step by step but when it comes to my ring finger on the 5 th string 3rd fret all bets are off. In order to get pressure on the string my 1st finger is right on the 1st fret, it bent in order for the D string to ring. The problem is that the notes are played but my palm catches the 1st string E

No matter how or what I try I end up with either my plan catching the string so it sounds tinny or buzzes slightly. Believe me I have had my hand in so many different positions, some of time high are quite painful. Only to be dashed again

What annoys me most is that I like this playing the Yamaha but C Major is such an important chord I would gladly swap it for a the other chords I have learnt even G major is or has been easy enough. Plus now I have started with rhythm I am enjoying just swapping and doing my own thing around the chords

Their has to be a way of getting all 3 fingers down without catching either the 1st or 3rd string. It is really frustrating

its not that I can’t reach it’s the ability to get a position we’re all 3 strings are down and nothing on the other 2

manXcat

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Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 252

Hi ZB


The chord is indeed an easier one, but you are having problems with it. Need to find out why.

Not trying to be a smarty, just rather perpelexed at the problem as you describe it. I have a serious question for you. How on earth is your palm muting 1st E trying to voice open Cmaj?

My hand (glove) size is medium tending small with proportionate fingers.

I just went and got my APX600 trying to replicate what you describe. It has the same width nut, string spacing, fingerboard radius and scale length as your F310. Even with my fingers/hands, my palm is well clear of anywhere even near the edge of the fretboard, quite impossible to indeliberately mute high E voicing that chord. Lots of air between palm and anywhere near the edge of the fretboard. The F310 and APX600 necks even take the stretch out of voicing open Cmaj.

"Can anyone advise how they approach this chord or have mastered it."

I sense your frustration and wish I could offer some simple solution, but Cmaj was a no brainer for me. The only thing I did to "master" it as such, was finesse the order of placement, the pragmatic perpendiculatrity of my tips, for want of a better word, and curl of the fingers to ensure clean fingering, and smooth changes to and from other chords. Most of that came through awareness generally as I was playing songs, and just repetition playing songs focussing on those aspects during the riff progressions.

I can't recall off hand, but did you mention in a much earlier post that you have either arthritis or a hand injury in your fretting hand? If so, do you suspect this is affecting your flexibility or co-ordination?

Reiterating. Voicing open Cmaj, even with smaller hands, your palm should be nowhere even near 1st E.

In the interim, the alternative 3rd fret barre Cmaj voicing sounds pretty good, and is super easy. Even though it's low on the neck, just slightly more awkward switching between it and open forms generally. e.g. C, Am, F, G. Much easier when deploying it to use all barres, which of course don't ring out on acoustic as opens do.

From another angle. Have you had someone have a look at your F310 to ensure the action is OK? Perhaps your nut is cut too high, you need the relief adjusted or you may have damaged one of the frets or one might not be level from the factory. I'd definitely investigate that getting someone else to give it the once over if you aren't comfortable or up to speed with doing so yourself.

Edit P.S. Lisa has it pretty much nailed in her Cmaj lesson. I just rewatched it to check for you. See how her palm is clear and how her fingers lie to finger the chord in the open voice. However hearing it explained from an alternative perspective might illuminate a light bulb moment for you. All of us agree. Keep trying. You'll get it in the end. It just takes longer for some than others.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

#6

Hi ZB


The chord is indeed an easier one, but you are having problems with it. Need to find out why.

Not trying to be a smarty, just rather perpelexed at the problem as you describe it. I have a serious question for you. How on earth is your palm muting 1st E trying to voice open Cmaj?

My hand (glove) size is medium tending small with proportionate fingers.

I just went and got my APX600 trying to replicate what you describe. It has the same width nut, string spacing, fingerboard radius and scale length as your F310. Even with my fingers/hands, my palm is well clear of anywhere even near the edge of the fretboard, quite impossible to indeliberately mute high E voicing that chord. Lots of air between palm and anywhere near the edge of the fretboard. The F310 and APX600 necks even take the stretch out of voicing open Cmaj.

"Can anyone advise how they approach this chord or have mastered it."

I sense your frustration and wish I could offer some simple solution, but Cmaj was a no brainer for me. The only thing I did to "master" it as such, was finesse the order of placement, the pragmatic perpendiculatrity of my tips, for want of a better word, and curl of the fingers to ensure clean fingering, and smooth changes to and from other chords. Most of that came through awareness generally as I was playing songs, and just repetition playing songs focussing on those aspects during the riff progressions.

I can't recall off hand, but did you mention in a much earlier post that you have either arthritis or a hand injury in your fretting hand? If so, do you suspect this is affecting your flexibility or co-ordination?

Reiterating. Voicing open Cmaj, even with smaller hands, your palm should be nowhere even near 1st E.

In the interim, the alternative 3rd fret barre Cmaj voicing sounds pretty good, and is super easy. Even though it's low on the neck, just slightly more awkward switching between it and open forms generally. e.g. C, Am, F, G. Much easier when deploying it to use all barres, which of course don't ring out on acoustic as opens do.

From another angle. Have you had someone have a look at your F310 to ensure the action is OK? Perhaps your nut is cut too high, you need the relief adjusted or you may have damaged one of the frets or one might not be level from the factory. I'd definitely investigate that getting someone else to give it the once over if you aren't comfortable or up to speed with doing so yourself.

Edit P.S. Lisa has it pretty much nailed in her Cmaj lesson. I just rewatched it to check for you. See how her palm is clear and how her fingers lie to finger the chord in the open voice. However hearing it explained from an alternative perspective might illuminate a light bulb moment for you. All of us agree. Keep trying. You'll get it in the end. It just takes longer for some than others.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

zollybosher

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Joined: 07/19/18

Posts: 12

Thank you for the reply. It’s a case of one or

the other for me I am unable- struggling with keeping the 3 notes down to form the C chord. Yes I know it’s one of the fundamental and “ easiest chords without even getting to F ! I am a led to mix things up,as mentioned playing other chords with ease, well my fingers auto adopt the correct figuration now

i have been trying now for 5 months to get the C chord down, and yes I DO manage it sometimes, I try to replicate the positron but 9 times out of 10 either the G becomes mute or the top E

i have tried middle finger amd ring finger in there respective places no problems. The moment my first finger goes for the 2nd fret my other fingers become weakened so that they lose the horizontal position thus it all goes wrong

in other words I can hold 2 of the 3 strings but when it comes to all 3 it’s as though I don’t have enough span on my hand. Believe me it’s not for the lack of trying, it just seems as though I must be doing something wrong.

I have watched countless troubleshooting guides on this chord and it looks so easy, except when I try. I posted because their maybe other learners out there who have a similar issue OR are having difficulty with other chords, and may have found a way either round or through it I am loath to learn anything else until I can grasp the fundamentals

Maybe it’s time to avoid anything that has a C chord in it 😩

#7

Thank you for the reply. It’s a case of one or

the other for me I am unable- struggling with keeping the 3 notes down to form the C chord. Yes I know it’s one of the fundamental and “ easiest chords without even getting to F ! I am a led to mix things up,as mentioned playing other chords with ease, well my fingers auto adopt the correct figuration now

i have been trying now for 5 months to get the C chord down, and yes I DO manage it sometimes, I try to replicate the positron but 9 times out of 10 either the G becomes mute or the top E

i have tried middle finger amd ring finger in there respective places no problems. The moment my first finger goes for the 2nd fret my other fingers become weakened so that they lose the horizontal position thus it all goes wrong

in other words I can hold 2 of the 3 strings but when it comes to all 3 it’s as though I don’t have enough span on my hand. Believe me it’s not for the lack of trying, it just seems as though I must be doing something wrong.

I have watched countless troubleshooting guides on this chord and it looks so easy, except when I try. I posted because their maybe other learners out there who have a similar issue OR are having difficulty with other chords, and may have found a way either round or through it I am loath to learn anything else until I can grasp the fundamentals

Maybe it’s time to avoid anything that has a C chord in it 😩

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 252

No.

In your situation, I'd just walk away from it for a week or so, play an alternate or abridged form and come back refreshed for another attempt in a fresh frame of mind giving the "why?" as applies to you and your physical fingering of it it some more thought and subsequent research in the interim. If it is a physical thing other than length/span, physio or finger gym for those fingers perhaps?

Right now that cloud of understandable "can't do" negativity surrounding open C has built up is a significant subliminal barrier.

Nothing wrong with using a 'crutch' in the interim if that is necessary to permit you to 'walk from A to B'. i.e. using instead the easy two finger 3rd fret barre form of Cmaj to play a progression involving C.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."

#8

No.

In your situation, I'd just walk away from it for a week or so, play an alternate or abridged form and come back refreshed for another attempt in a fresh frame of mind giving the "why?" as applies to you and your physical fingering of it it some more thought and subsequent research in the interim. If it is a physical thing other than length/span, physio or finger gym for those fingers perhaps?

Right now that cloud of understandable "can't do" negativity surrounding open C has built up is a significant subliminal barrier.

Nothing wrong with using a 'crutch' in the interim if that is necessary to permit you to 'walk from A to B'. i.e. using instead the easy two finger 3rd fret barre form of Cmaj to play a progression involving C.

"Life is just a bowl of cherries ...."