How to play

How to play the C# major chord on guitar

Learn to play the C# chord, featured in hits like "Hotel California" and "Wonderwall."

The C# major chord

The C#M chord, pronounced "C sharp major," is a vibrant and assertive chord that adds a touch of brilliance to any musical composition. Commonly used in rock, pop, and classical music, the C#M chord is notable for its bright and uplifting sound. It can be heard in popular songs like "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles.

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

Hero Image

Unlock your playing potential in online guitar lessons with experts on Til. Start today and achieve your guitar goals quickly. Find a top-rated teacher.

Finger placement for C# major chord

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

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

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

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to strike all six strings simultaneously, ensuring that each string rings out clearly.

How to play an easy C# major chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C# major chord, try playing it as an open chord. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the B string, your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G string, and strum only the top four strings.

How to play a C# major bar chord

Playing the C# major chord as a barre chord can be useful when you need a fuller, more robust sound or want to easily transition between chords in a progression.

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

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

Common C# major chord progressions

In C# major, chord progressions often create a sense of tension and resolution, evoking various emotional responses. These progressions can range from bright and uplifting to melancholic and introspective. Some common C# major chord progressions include:

  • I - V - vi - IV (C# - F# - G#m - E): This progression offers a balance of tension and resolution, frequently used in pop and rock music. Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "With or Without You" by U2.
  • I - vi - IV - V (C# - G#m - E - F#): Known as the "sensitive female chord progression," this sequence evokes a sense of emotional depth and introspection. Used in "Someone Like You" by Adele and "Creep" by Radiohead.
  • I - IV - vi - V (C# - E - G#m - F#): This progression creates a feeling of movement and resolution, often used in folk and country music. Used in "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan.
  • ii - V - I (D#m - F# - C#): A staple in jazz and classical music, this progression creates a sophisticated and harmonically rich sound.
  • vi - IV - I - V (G#m - E - C# - F#): With a melancholic and nostalgic feel, this progression is commonly found in ballads and emotional songs. Used in "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. and "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls.

Drills to master the C# major chord

To master the C# major guitar chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clarity and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between the notes, ensuring each one rings out distinctly.

Another effective drill is to strum the chord repeatedly, gradually increasing your speed while maintaining accuracy. This helps build muscle memory and allows you to switch to the C# chord effortlessly during songs. Incorporate this chord into progressions you already know, and experiment with different strumming patterns to add variety to your practice routine.

Unlock your playing potential in online guitar lessons with experts on Til. Start today and achieve your guitar goals quickly. Find a top-rated teacher.

Tayler K.

"I left Jude's class feeling much more confident in knowing how to make meaningful musical decisions. This class was always the highlight of my week and it was a blast getting to learn alongside other musicians seeking growth! Highly recommend!"

Songs that feature the C# major chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C# major chord:

  1. Love on the Brain by Rihanna (C#, F#m, B, G#m)
  2. Party Monster by The Weeknd (C#m, E, B, G#m)
  3. Rockabye by Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie (C#m, A#m, F#m, G#)
  4. Attention by Charlie Puth (C#m, F#m, A#m, G#)
  5. Earned It by The Weeknd (C#m, G#, A#m)
  6. Diamonds by Rihanna (C#m, A#m, F#m, G#)
  7. Love Yourself by Justin Bieber (C#m, A#m, F#m, G#m)
  8. The Hills by The Weeknd (C#m, F#m, A#m, E)
  9. Royals by Lorde (C#m, A#m, E, B)
  10. Chandelier by Sia (C#m, G#, A#m, 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.

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.

Learn guitar all over the world