I was reading the article about major scales here -> https://www.lotusmusic.com/lm_chordnames.html and was trying to look at the C Major chord on my guitar.

In the article it says that the triad consists of C E and G. But when I am looking at how i play a C chord on the guitar i am pressing C(B first fret) E(D second fret) and C(A third fret).

enter image description here

This confuses me? Where is the G and why do I play a second C?

1 Answer 1


The G is on the third string open. Sometimes open strings will give one of the notes needed for a chord.

There are other ways to play a C major chord at that position (open). As well as the three fingers used, bottom string 3rd fret can play another G, making a second inversion. Or - it can be played open (it's another chord tone - E), along with the rest. Or, press top (thin) string on 3rd fret, for yet another G note. Since there's an E played on 4th string, it doesn't matter that the top E has been replaced by a G. So many options...

You play a second C because you can. You don't have to, but on guitar, playing a triad on an instrument that can make six different notes at the same time, it's often the way chords, especially triads, get played. Some chords will have three of the same note names in different octaves. Nothing wrong there.

  • 1
    Ahh oke thanks. And that means that a triad on a guitar only means that it has max 3 DIFFERENT notes, and sometimes more of the same? :D But why should in C major the top E be muted, is not E allowed then?
    – MansNotHot
    Nov 14, 2018 at 10:22
  • 1
    You're not reading it right. Where there's 'X' over a string, don't play it, or mute it, ( although here, that open bottom works fine), and where there's 'O' play that string open so no need to put a finger on it, mute it, or worse still, catch it with another finger.
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2018 at 10:41
  • 1
    Yeah i know that i have to mute the bottom E in the chord but i was wondering why because it is also an E and i thought E's are allowed in the C major chord :)
    – MansNotHot
    Nov 14, 2018 at 10:49
  • 2
    Good thinking! Yes, it can be played open with the rest of the C chord. It's just that some sites only advocate playing root versions of chords, but also, the second inversion, when that bottom E is open, can sound less decisive. Having said that, it works well in some songs.
    – Tim
    Nov 14, 2018 at 10:58
  • 1
    I'll add that usually the lowest and highest notes are heard more, than notes in the middle of a chord. For example, if you play E on 1st or 6th string, it will be more 'decisive' to our ears in terms of chord sound. You can very well illustrate it playing any 7th chord with 7th on top / bottom (e.g., Cmaj7 as CEGB compared to BCEG)
    – vladli
    Nov 14, 2018 at 11:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.