How to play

How to play the C#dim7 chord on guitar

Spice up your playing with this essential chord, as heard in "Stairway to Heaven."

The C#dim7 chord

The C#dim7 chord, pronounced C sharp diminished seventh, is a hauntingly beautiful chord that adds a sense of tension and intrigue to any musical composition. Commonly used in jazz, classical, and even rock music, the C#dim7 chord is built on a diminished triad with a double-flatted seventh added on top, creating a unique and unsettling sound that leaves the listener yearning for resolution.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C#dim7 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C#dim7 chord

The most common way to play the C#dim7 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 4th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a C#dim7 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 a downward motion to play all six strings simultaneously, making sure each string rings out clearly.

How to play an easy C#dim7 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C#dim7 chord, try this:

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

How to play a C#dim7 bar chord

Playing the C#dim7 chord as a barre chord can be a convenient way to quickly switch between chords in a progression. It also allows you to easily transpose the chord shape to different keys.

Here's how to play a C#dim7 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 4th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the low E string to the high E string.

Common C#dim7 chord progressions

The C#dim7 chord can add a sense of tension, intrigue, and emotional complexity to chord progressions. It is often used as a passing or transitional chord to create movement between more stable chords. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the C#dim7 chord:

  • I - C#dim7 - I (C# - C#dim7 - C#)
  • I - C#dim7 - ii (C# - C#dim7 - D#m)
  • I - C#dim7 - IV (C# - C#dim7 - F#)
  • vi - C#dim7 - I (A# - C#dim7 - C#)
  • ii - C#dim7 - V (D#m - C#dim7 - G#)

Drills to master the C#dim7 chord

To master the C#dim7 chord, try practicing arpeggios. Play each note of the chord individually, starting from the lowest and ascending to the highest. Once comfortable, reverse the order and descend from the highest to the lowest note. Repeat this exercise, gradually increasing your speed until you can play the arpeggios fluidly.

Another effective drill is to practice transitioning between C#dim7 and other common chords. Choose chords that share notes with C#dim7, such as A major or F#m7b5, and practice smoothly switching between them. Focus on minimizing any pause or break in sound during the transitions.

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Songs that feature the C#dim7 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C#dim7 chord.

  1. All of Me by John Legend (Cm7, Fm7, Ab, Eb/G, Gsus4, G)
  2. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (C, Am, C/G, F, G, C/E, F, Am/E, F)
  3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G#+, C#m7, F#m)
  4. The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra (Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7, D7, Gm7, C7)
  5. Misty by Erroll Garner (Eb, C#dim7, Fm7, Bb7, Eb/G, Ab7, Dm7, G7)
  6. My Funny Valentine by Richard Rodgers (Cm, Fm7, Bb7, Cm/Eb, Ab, Dm7b5, G7b9)
  7. Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim (F#m7, B7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Am7, D7)
  8. Stormy Weather by Harold Arlen (F#m, C#7, F#m, F#m/E, D#dim7, C#7, F#m, D7, G#7, C#7, F#m)
  9. God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday (Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dm7, G7)
  10. In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington (Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, C#dim7, Dm7, G7)

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.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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