How to play

How to play the C6 chord on guitar

From "Stand By Me" to "Sweet Home Alabama," learn the essential C6 chord.

The C6 chord

The C6 chord, pronounced C sixth, is a colorful variation of the standard C major chord. It features an added sixth note, lending a dreamy and slightly melancholic quality to its sound. The C6 chord is commonly used in genres like jazz, R&B, and soul music to add harmonic depth and sophistication. It's a favorite among guitarists for its smooth, rich tonality.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C6 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C6 chord

The most common way to play the C6 chord on guitar is on the 1st fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a C6 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across the 1st fret, covering all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the C6 chord.

How to play an easy C6 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C6 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 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Strum from the 5th string down.

How to play a C6 bar chord

Playing the C6 chord as a barre chord can be a great way to add variety and richness to your guitar playing. It allows you to easily transition between chords and play the chord in different positions on the fretboard.

Here's how to play a C6 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 8th fret, covering all six strings. This is the barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 10th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common C6 chord progressions

The C6 chord is commonly used in progressions that evoke a dreamy, nostalgic, or bittersweet feeling. Here are some popular chord progressions featuring the C6 chord:

  • I - vi - IV - V (C6 - Am - F - G) - Used in "Let It Be" by The Beatles and "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley
  • I - V - vi - IV (C6 - G - Am - F) - Used in "With or Without You" by U2 and "Africa" by Toto
  • I - iii - IV - V (C6 - Em - F - G) - Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty
  • I - vi - ii - V (C6 - Am - Dm - G) - Used in "The Scientist" by Coldplay and "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver
  • I - IV - vi - V (C6 - F - Am - G) - Used in "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's and "Riptide" by Vance Joy

Drills to master the C6 chord

To master the C6 chord, try strumming the chord and focusing on each individual note. Play the C, then the E, G, and A notes separately, listening intently to each one. Once you're familiar with the notes, practice transitioning between them smoothly.

Another effective drill is to play the C6 chord in different rhythmic patterns. Start with simple quarter notes, then progress to eighth notes and more complex rhythms. This will help you develop muscle memory and make the chord feel more natural to play.

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Songs that feature the C6 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C6 chord.

  1. Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's (D, F#m, C6, Am7)
  2. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz (C6, G, Am, F)
  3. Riptide by Vance Joy (Am, G, C6, F)
  4. I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz (C6, G, Em7, Am7)
  5. Red Red Wine by UB40 (G, C6, F)
  6. Rude by MAGIC! (F, G, C6, Dm)
  7. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley (A, D, E, C6)
  8. Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson (C6, Am7, Fmaj7, G)
  9. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison (G, C6, D, Em)
  10. Save Tonight by Eagle-Eye Cherry (Am, F, C6, G)

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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