How to play

How to play the C#dim chord on guitar

Unlock the haunting sound heard in "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails and "Creep" by Radiohead.

The C#dim chord

The C#dim chord, pronounced "C sharp diminished," is a unique and haunting chord that adds a sense of tension and mystery to music. It is composed of the notes C#, E, and G, creating a dissonant sound that yearns for resolution. This chord is often used in jazz, classical, and film scores to evoke feelings of suspense or unease, making it a powerful tool for composers and musicians alike.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C#dim chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C#dim chord

The most common way to play a C#dim chord on the guitar is in the 4th fret position as a barre chord.

Follow these finger positions to play a C#dim chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 4th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to play downstrokes across all six strings simultaneously. Start with a slower tempo and gradually increase speed as you become more comfortable with the chord shape.

How to play an easy C#dim chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C#dim chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 1st (E) string.
  4. Strum only the top three strings.

How to play a C#dim bar chord

Sometimes it's handy to play a barre chord version of C#dim to make transitions between chords smoother or to achieve a fuller sound.

Here's how to play a C#dim barre chord:

  1. Use your index finger to barre the 9th fret, covering strings 1 through 5 (E, B, G, D, and A strings).
  2. Place your middle finger on the 10th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 11th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 11th fret of the 1st (E) string.
  5. Strum all six strings downward.

Common C#dim chord progressions

The C#dim chord adds a sense of tension, dissonance, and transition to chord progressions, often creating a dramatic or mysterious atmosphere. Some common chord progressions featuring the C#dim chord include:

  • i - C#dim - i (Cm - C#dim - Cm): Used in "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix and "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
  • i - C#dim - iv (Cm - C#dim - Fm): Used in "Hotel California" by Eagles
  • i - C#dim - V (Cm - C#dim - G)
  • C#dim - i (C#dim - Cm)
  • V - C#dim - i (G - C#dim - Cm)

Drills to master the C#dim chord

To master the C#dim guitar chord, try playing it in different rhythmic patterns. Start with simple quarter notes, then progress to eighth notes and triplets. This will help your fingers develop muscle memory and improve your timing.

Another effective drill is to practice transitioning smoothly between C#dim and other chords. Choose chords that commonly appear together in songs, such as A, D, or E. Focus on minimizing any pause or hesitation during the transitions, aiming for fluid and seamless changes between the chords.

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Songs that feature the C#dim chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C#dim chord.

  1. All of Me by John Legend (Chords: Ab, Fm, Db, Bbm, Eb)
  2. Imagine by John Lennon (Chords: C, Cmaj7, F, Am, Dm, G)
  3. Fade Into You by Mazzy Star (Chords: C#m, G#, A, B, C#dim)
  4. Rocket Man by Elton John (Chords: Bm, G, D, Em, F#m, A)
  5. Space Oddity by David Bowie (Chords: Fmaj7, Em, Am, C, D, E)
  6. Where Are Ü Now by Skrillex, Diplo, and Justin Bieber (Chords: Emaj7, G#m, C#m, A, B)
  7. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys (Chords: A, E7, F#m, Bm7, C#m, Dmaj7, E, G#dim)
  8. You've Got a Friend by Carole King (Chords: C, F, G, Am, Dm, Em)
  9. Lovesong by The Cure (Chords: A, E, Bm, D, G, C#m, F#m)
  10. House of the Rising Sun by The Animals (Chords: Am, C, D, F, G#dim, E)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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