C chord blues

Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > C chord blues

emsm2

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Joined: 01/24/20

Posts: 8

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well and safe and not going too stir crazy. I have been laid off from my job due to the Coronavirus - I work in a museum, which is closed. I'm using the unexpected free time to practice more on the guitar, with the lovely Lisa as my coach.

I am working on my 5 chord power pack and can manage all the chords except for C. No matter what I do, I seem to end up with plunky notes and every time I cure one string I foul up a different one. Will I get the hang of it in the end? Are there any alternative fingerings or tricks to help me? Or is it just a case of 'keep at it?'

#1

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well and safe and not going too stir crazy. I have been laid off from my job due to the Coronavirus - I work in a museum, which is closed. I'm using the unexpected free time to practice more on the guitar, with the lovely Lisa as my coach.

I am working on my 5 chord power pack and can manage all the chords except for C. No matter what I do, I seem to end up with plunky notes and every time I cure one string I foul up a different one. Will I get the hang of it in the end? Are there any alternative fingerings or tricks to help me? Or is it just a case of 'keep at it?'

William MG

Full Access

Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 677

Hi em

this vid may help. Best of luck on your studies.

C

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#2

Hi em

this vid may help. Best of luck on your studies.

C

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

DavesGuitarJourney

Full Access

Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 148

I really found C to be difficult for weeks. As a fellow newbie, I have some advice for what helped me get this one., but definitely listen to Bill MG and watch his video clip and try whatever he suggests any time he answers someone!

So,a combination of several things helped me get it.

1) I adjusted my hand and finger angle. I was trying to fret the chord with my fingers parallel to the frets - you know, 1 finger 1 fret rule and all that. It's a really hard stretch that way and it puts your arm, wrist, and fingers in an awkward place. If you're doing it that way, try to angle your hand a little so that your fingers come across the frets at somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees with your fingertips angled towards the bridge. When I hold the guitar with a C chord fretted, my fingers point back towards my face, but probably about at my left ear instead of full-on face. I guess my fingers actually point almost sttraight up my left arm. If you look at your hand you'll notice that if you have a slight angle then your fingers are able to reach further up the neck because you are able to use the length of the fingers instead of just trying to spread them apart. At first I thought I wasn't supposed to do that, but watch people play and you'll notice that hand and finger angles change constantly.

2) I was not arching my fingers enough, so what they call bad finger posture. Everyone says "play on your fingertips" and I definitely got that and thought I was doing it, but doggone it if my fingers were still too flat. Honestly, I have not heard anyone say "ARCH your fingers" and for me that was the phrase that sunk into my thick skull. I think the angle of your hand and fingers comes into play with this too, actually.

3) Bill's suggestion on using the thumb to mute the low E string is good, and I think letting that thumb come over the neck helps with the hand posture too. For me, my thumb comes out dead even with the first fret wire.

4) An alternate way to mute that low E string is to let your ring finger that is on the 3rd fret of the 5th string (playing the low C note of the chord) slide up just enough so that you are touching the low E string with that finger. I have noticed that if you do this, it actually allows you to slide the middle finger that is fretting the 4th string up a little bit too. This gives a tiny scintilla more clearance between the 3rd and 4th string, so you are less likely to mute that third string with your middle finger. This nudging the 4th and 5th string up a little bit actually allows your fingers to be a little more flat without causing a problem.

I have to throw out the disclaimer that I've only been doing this for a few months myself, so if anything I'm saying here sounds like it might not be good advice I do hope someone with more experience will correct me. These are the things that did help me get the C chord working. I ddin't do all of those things at once. It was just a little adjustment at a time, then another tiny adjustment, and eventually I looked down and noticed that my hand was in an entirely different position than where it was when I started!

Hope this helps! Enjoy the journey!

#3

I really found C to be difficult for weeks. As a fellow newbie, I have some advice for what helped me get this one., but definitely listen to Bill MG and watch his video clip and try whatever he suggests any time he answers someone!

So,a combination of several things helped me get it.

1) I adjusted my hand and finger angle. I was trying to fret the chord with my fingers parallel to the frets - you know, 1 finger 1 fret rule and all that. It's a really hard stretch that way and it puts your arm, wrist, and fingers in an awkward place. If you're doing it that way, try to angle your hand a little so that your fingers come across the frets at somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees with your fingertips angled towards the bridge. When I hold the guitar with a C chord fretted, my fingers point back towards my face, but probably about at my left ear instead of full-on face. I guess my fingers actually point almost sttraight up my left arm. If you look at your hand you'll notice that if you have a slight angle then your fingers are able to reach further up the neck because you are able to use the length of the fingers instead of just trying to spread them apart. At first I thought I wasn't supposed to do that, but watch people play and you'll notice that hand and finger angles change constantly.

2) I was not arching my fingers enough, so what they call bad finger posture. Everyone says "play on your fingertips" and I definitely got that and thought I was doing it, but doggone it if my fingers were still too flat. Honestly, I have not heard anyone say "ARCH your fingers" and for me that was the phrase that sunk into my thick skull. I think the angle of your hand and fingers comes into play with this too, actually.

3) Bill's suggestion on using the thumb to mute the low E string is good, and I think letting that thumb come over the neck helps with the hand posture too. For me, my thumb comes out dead even with the first fret wire.

4) An alternate way to mute that low E string is to let your ring finger that is on the 3rd fret of the 5th string (playing the low C note of the chord) slide up just enough so that you are touching the low E string with that finger. I have noticed that if you do this, it actually allows you to slide the middle finger that is fretting the 4th string up a little bit too. This gives a tiny scintilla more clearance between the 3rd and 4th string, so you are less likely to mute that third string with your middle finger. This nudging the 4th and 5th string up a little bit actually allows your fingers to be a little more flat without causing a problem.

I have to throw out the disclaimer that I've only been doing this for a few months myself, so if anything I'm saying here sounds like it might not be good advice I do hope someone with more experience will correct me. These are the things that did help me get the C chord working. I ddin't do all of those things at once. It was just a little adjustment at a time, then another tiny adjustment, and eventually I looked down and noticed that my hand was in an entirely different position than where it was when I started!

Hope this helps! Enjoy the journey!

emsm2

Full Access

Joined: 01/24/20

Posts: 8

Originally Posted by: William

Hi em

this vid may help. Best of luck on your studies.

C

thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to make this video for me. I can see how elbow posture makes a difference and it has already helped me to play around with my technique a bit. You're very kind. Emma.

#4

Originally Posted by: William

Hi em

this vid may help. Best of luck on your studies.

C

thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to make this video for me. I can see how elbow posture makes a difference and it has already helped me to play around with my technique a bit. You're very kind. Emma.

emsm2

Full Access

Joined: 01/24/20

Posts: 8

Thank you Dave! All these little tweaks make a small difference and hopefully with a combination of advice and bloody mindedness, I'll get there!

#5

Thank you Dave! All these little tweaks make a small difference and hopefully with a combination of advice and bloody mindedness, I'll get there!

DavesGuitarJourney

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Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 148

You will do it, Emma. Share it with us when you do!

#6

You will do it, Emma. Share it with us when you do!

William MG

Full Access

Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 677

Your welcome Emma, good luck.

PS:

I will dig this one out again as well Emma, I made it to help us beginners confront our guitar frustrations.

Beginner Frustration

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#7

Your welcome Emma, good luck.

PS:

I will dig this one out again as well Emma, I made it to help us beginners confront our guitar frustrations.

Beginner Frustration

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

emsm2

Full Access

Joined: 01/24/20

Posts: 8

I did it! I managed to play a clean C chord a couple of times today. I'm not saying it's going to be perfect every time, but 2 days ago I just could not get a C at all. Thank you to Bill and Dave (Bill your little videos are amazing - you make stuff so clear and you're not too prescriptive to try little 'cheats')

I am finding that my fingers start to get sore after about 20 minutes and then I can't play anything clearly and the frustration sets in, so rather than carrying on and thinking I'm the worst guitar learner in the world, I stop and go back to it next day. I guess one good thing to come out of this Coronavirus epidemic is that as I have lost my job for now, I have more guitar time.

One more thing that causes me frustration and which I'm trying really hard to overcome, is that I can play the sax and because of that, I irrationally felt that I should be able to learn guitar really quickly. Stupid huh? I've been playing Sax for 15 years and I'm still rubbish!

#8

I did it! I managed to play a clean C chord a couple of times today. I'm not saying it's going to be perfect every time, but 2 days ago I just could not get a C at all. Thank you to Bill and Dave (Bill your little videos are amazing - you make stuff so clear and you're not too prescriptive to try little 'cheats')

I am finding that my fingers start to get sore after about 20 minutes and then I can't play anything clearly and the frustration sets in, so rather than carrying on and thinking I'm the worst guitar learner in the world, I stop and go back to it next day. I guess one good thing to come out of this Coronavirus epidemic is that as I have lost my job for now, I have more guitar time.

One more thing that causes me frustration and which I'm trying really hard to overcome, is that I can play the sax and because of that, I irrationally felt that I should be able to learn guitar really quickly. Stupid huh? I've been playing Sax for 15 years and I'm still rubbish!

William MG

Full Access

Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 677

Good to hear Emma. You are smart to take it easy and being easy on yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day. Hopefully you wont be out of work too long and normalcy will return for all of us.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#9

Good to hear Emma. You are smart to take it easy and being easy on yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day. Hopefully you wont be out of work too long and normalcy will return for all of us.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

DavesGuitarJourney

Full Access

Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 148

Way to go, Emma. Don't fall into the trap of minimizing your accomplishment. You can do something today that you could not do a few days ago. Let yourself feel good about it. I'm struggling with that aspect of it myself. I am really impatient and frustrated that I'm not better than I am so far after only about 5 months.

What I love about our community here is that when I come here I can see that I'm doing fine - there is no set schedule or time table for this. Some people are a lot better than me after less time, and I'm probably better than some (few!) people at the same point. As long as we show tiny, incremental improvements over time, that's all that matters.

Oh, and as long as we remember that this is supposed to be fun, even though it is challenging. :-)

#10

Way to go, Emma. Don't fall into the trap of minimizing your accomplishment. You can do something today that you could not do a few days ago. Let yourself feel good about it. I'm struggling with that aspect of it myself. I am really impatient and frustrated that I'm not better than I am so far after only about 5 months.

What I love about our community here is that when I come here I can see that I'm doing fine - there is no set schedule or time table for this. Some people are a lot better than me after less time, and I'm probably better than some (few!) people at the same point. As long as we show tiny, incremental improvements over time, that's all that matters.

Oh, and as long as we remember that this is supposed to be fun, even though it is challenging. :-)