The C/G guitar chord, which is read as ‘C over G’, is the second inversion of the C major chord. It is also called a ‘slash chord’, which has nothing to do with the Guns N’ Roses guitarist – it simply has a different note at the bass of the chord. The chord is written to the left of the slash, with the bass note to the right.
So, the C/G has the same notes as a C major chord but the lowest note has to be a G, as opposed to a normal C major chord where the C is the bass note. It is mostly used as a passing, pedal, or cadential six-four chord.
Fingering the C/G chord
- Use your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string
- Place your pinky on the 3rd fret of the A string
- Put your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string
- Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the B string
- Strum all the strings together
C/G chord attributes
- Intervals: 5 – 1 – 3
- Notes: G – C – E
- Chord Symbols: C/G
Examples of guitar slash chords used in famous songs
One of the most iconic examples of C/G chord use is in the song "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. The melancholy tones of the chord progression go from C major to G major/B to A minor7 and back to G major/B.
The pop music genre frequently includes slash chords. The end result is a smoother sound because of how close the roots of the chords are. For example, a C/G chord has a seven-semitone interval. The reverse, G to C has five. When a composer or guitar player chooses slash chords instead, the bass note isn't as far removed from the root. This makes the C/G guitar chord easy on the ear.
Pop music progressions use the I, IV, and V chords. If the song is in C, the chords are C major, F major, and G major. Using slash chords makes for a smoother sound than the usual jump described above.
What does a guitar slash chord mean?
A slash chord is written as two letters divided by a slash. The guitar chord you are supposed to play is on the left and the bass note is on the right. The same notation works for both major and minor chords.
Slash chords are predominantly used by guitar players who play solos. In an orchestra, different instruments or musicians would play the different notes. If a piece of music or your own personal creativity calls for an alternative bass note, it is up to you to make it happen. "C over G" is as correct as the longer form "C major with G in the bass."
Common C/G guitar chord variations
Music notation is rather flexible and designed to make playing easier in some cases. A C/G chord may show up as Am7/G instead in the following progression: Am7 – Am7/G – D/F# - F. The change in hand position from Am7 to Am7/G makes the move between bass notes more obvious. The general habit is to forget about the A and to play a C/G instead. This is simply a matter of readability for chord progression in a piece of music.
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