How-To

How to Play the C Sharp Minor (C#m) Chord on Guitar

Learn how to play the C Sharp Minor (C#m) chord on guitar and get started learning your favorite songs. Check out our guitar chord charts to grow your skills.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7oDYXFSxMM


Lesson: How to Play a C Sharp Minor (C#m) Chord

The C#m chord (sometimes written as “C sharp minor” or “C# minor) is a versatile chord that can sound either happy or sad.

In this lesson, we’ll show you three different ways to play this chord, as well as some songs that use the C#m chord that you can try your hand at yourself. Let’s get started.

How Do You Play a C Sharp Minor Chord on Guitar?

The C#m chord is made up of three notes:

• C#
• E
• G#

When learning to play different chords, you’ll learn about the formulas that comprise these chords. Since C#m is a minor chord, you’d use the minor chord formula to build your chord, combining the root note, minor 3rd, and perfect 5th.

Your root note, C#, will be the starting point of your scale. From there, add your minor 3rd (E), and your perfect 5th (G#).

To play the C#m chord, you’ll play C#, E, and G# together.



C Sharp Minor (C#m) Chord on Guitar: 1st Position (v1)

Now that you understand the formula used to create a C#m chord, it’s time to play it. One way to play the C#m chord is in the 1st position in standard tuning. To play this version of the C#m chord, you’d place your fingers on the following frets and strings:

• Index finger: 1st fret of the G (3rd) string
• Middle finger: 2nd fret of the D (4th) string
• Ring finger: 2nd fret of the B (2nd) string

c#m-chord-1st-position@2x

Strum 4 strings down from the D (4th) string, omitting your low E (6th) and A (5th) strings.

Signup for Fender Play for full access to the C#m 1st position (v1) lesson.

C#m Chord on Guitar: 4th Position (v1)

The second version of the C#m chord can be tricky for beginners. It starts on the 4th fret and calls for you to barre your index finger across the 4th fret of five of your strings. Follow the diagram below to see where to place your fingers on the correct frets and strings:

• Index finger: 4th fret of the A (5th) string
• Index finger: 4th fret of the E (1st) string
• Middle finger: 5th fret of the B (2nd) string
• Ring finger: 6th fret of the D (4th) string
• Pinky finger: 6th fret of the G (3rd) string

c#m-chord-4th-position-v1@2x

Strum 5 strings down from the A (5th) string, omitting your low E (6th) string.

C#m Chord on Guitar: 4th Position (v2)

The final version of the C#m chord we’ll show you is also in the 4th position, but may be slightly easier for beginners to master than the previous version. To play this rendition of the C#m chord, you’ll place your fingers on the following frets and strings:

• Index finger: 4th fret of the E (1st) string
• Middle finger: 5th fret of the B (2nd) string
• Ring finger: 6th fret of the D (4th) string
• Pinky finger: 6th fret of the G (3rd) string

c#m-chord-4th-position-v2@2x

Strum 4 strings down from the D (4th) string, omitting your low E (6th) and A (5th) strings.

Songs That Use the C Sharp Minor (C#m) Chord

The versatile sound of the C#m chord makes it ideal for popping up in a variety of musical genres, from country to funk to alternative rock. Want to try your hand at playing the C#m chord in a few songs? Unlock all the lessons below (and more!) when you sign up for a free trial of Fender Play.

On the country tune “Diamond,” Martina McBride delivers an ode to the strength and resilience of a woman. The poignant nature of the C#m chord shines on this track, lending its sound to the verse of the song. (Country singer Keith Urban also provides an assist, singing backup on this song, too.)

Feel the Pain” by Dinosaur Jr. works in a C#m chord amid the flurry of notes. Listen for it on the verse of this surprisingly uptempo alternative rock track.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OteGziIFhKM

And finally, you can hear the C#m chord on “Give It To Me Baby” by the late, great funk legend Rick James. The C#m chord plays a key role in the song’s main progression. “Give It To Me Baby” is largely driven by a thumping bassline, which is no surprise given Rick James himself played bass. However, the rhythm component of the chords amps up the funk factor, complementing the bassline and creating a sick groove.

Check out Fender Play Guitar Lessons

It takes time and practice to learn to play the guitar. Repetition is key for mastering a single version of a chord or multiple ways to play it. Learning to play chords is a worthwhile skill for guitarists. Not only do they help you hear how individual notes sound when blended together, but chords are at the heart of playing songs -- and eventually creating compositions of your own. To learn more chords, browse Fender Play's chord library. From there, try your hand at playing those chords in a full library of songs with a free trial of Fender Play today.