How To Play The C/E Chord On Guitar

C/E Chords

The C/E chord, also known as the C slash E chord, is the most commonly used in guitar playing. It adds a sweet, open sound to your guitar voicings. In this article, I’ll explain exactly how to play a C/E chord and how to use it in your guitar playing.

What is a C/E chord?

A C/E chord is a C major chord with an added E note in the bass. So while a regular C major chord contains the notes C, E, and G, a C/E chord contains those same notes, but with the lowest note being an E instead of a C. This emphasizes the E note in the chord and gives it a different mood and color.

How to Play This Chord

Here is the most common way to play a C/E chord on the guitar:

  • Place your first finger on the first fret of the B string (this is your second root C note).
  • Place your second finger on the second fret of the D string (this is your E note).
  • Place your third finger on the third fret of the A string (this is your first C root note).
  • Strum from the E string downward to all six strings.

So you are only fretting three strings: the B, D, and A strings. Make sure the other strings are opened with your fretting hand for a clean chord sound. Strum all the six strings.

C/E chord variations


Also read: Most Common Basic Open Chords 
                How To Play A5 Chord On Guitar

Using C/E Chords in Guitar Playing:

C/E chords have a bright, vibrant sound that can inject some life into chord progressions. They work great if you want to create an uplifting mood.

Some ideas for using C/E chords:

  • Use them at the start of choruses to create excitement and interest.
  • Switch between regular C chords and C/E chords in the same progression.
  • Use them in place of G chords or C chords.
  • Strum C/E chords for rhythmic stabs on upbeat parts of songs
  • Fingerpick arpeggios using the C/E chord shape.

Once you get familiar with the C/E chord, you’ll discover many uses for its unique sound. It provides a great alternative to plain major chords within both strumming and fingerpicking accompaniment.

So that covers the essentials of how to play and utilize the C/E chord on guitar. Experiment with adding this chord to your progressions for new sounds. Have fun with it!

Songs with C/E Chords

When We Were Young, Adele

Am Em F C/E Dm C [Verse]
Am Em Everybody loves
the things you do
Dm From the way you talk to
the way you move
Am Em F C/E Everybody here is watching you Dm Cause you feel like home,
you're like a dream come true
Am Em F C/E But if by chance you're here alone Dm Can I have a moment before
I go
Am Em Cause I've been by myself
all night long
Dm Hoping you're someone
Gsus4 G
I used to know

Read More

Heart They Didnt Break- Maddie & Tae

F She ain't the one that

slammed the door and
tore off in a truck
F She ain't the one that

made me feel like
I ain't good enough
Am G But someone's gotta help
clean up the mess
you went and made
Am G So, here's to friends
there to fix a heart
they didn't break
Read More

Two Heart by Dermot Kennedy

Am G
Am G
Am G We open up at the station on
a freezing night
Am G He said, "Honey, I can't do more than
a brief goodbye
Am G C/E How could our farewell mean as much
as our time?
Am G Honey, I'll be gone It's better if
I'm something that
Am G C/E F That you leave behind Am G C/E F That you leave behind Am See, what it was G C/E F Was a reason to believe in life Am What it was G C/E F Was a week spent under sleepless skies Am G But sometimes life ain't fair C/E F And a love has to die" Am Her sunny smile was gone G C/E F Started feeling like something that Am G C/E F That she needs to hide Am G C/E F That she needs to hide Read More

Red by Taylor Swift

                         F               G
Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echos
                    Am             G/B
Tellin' myself it's time now gotta let go 
     C              F
But moving on from him is impossible 
     C/E                       G
When I still see it all in my, head 
            F   Am  G
And burning red
       F      Am  G
Burning was reeeeed
                  F F F N.C.             C C C N.C.
Oh losing him was blue, like I'd never known
                G G G N.C.           G G G
Missing him was dark grey, all alone
                   F                       Am
Forgetting him was like tryin' to know somebody
You never met
Cause loving him was red
Am          G
Yeah, yeah, red
           F   Am  G
Oh Burning reeeeeeeed
Read More

Toughest by Ed Sheeran

C I don't know what to think F C/E G The word cut through the day C The doctor said it's cancer F C/E G And the baby's on the way C Life changes in a blink F C/E G Decisions to be made C They say radio's the answer F C/E G And that both lives can be saved [Pre-Chorus]
F Points for timing,

it could not get worse
C G What the heck are we going to do? F But you're the type to defeat

the hardest obstacles
C G Put in front of you [Chorus]
C F C/E You are the toughest in the room G C And I know that love will get us through F C/E And life will overcome the pain
that grows in you
C F C/E 'Cause you are the toughest in the room G You showed me strength I never knew C F When love is on our side
there's just no way to lose
F But I still can't help but break down
Read More


  1. Is the C/E chord hard to learn?

    Moderate: Depends on your experience, practice makes perfect!

  2. Do I need to know other chords before learning the C/E?

    No: Basic open chords are helpful but not essential.

  3. How can I use the C/E chord to create different moods in my playing?

    Experiment with strumming patterns and dynamics.

  4. What are some famous guitarists who use the C/E chord?

    John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, and countless others!

  5. My C/E chord sounds muffled. What am I doing wrong?

    Check finger placement and ensure strings are fully pressed.

  6. The strings buzz when I play the C/E chord. How can I fix that?

    Adjust finger pressure and string height to reduce buzzing.

  7. What are some other slash chords I can learn?

    Try G/B, D/F#, or A/C# for different flavors.

  8. How can I use slash chords to improvise solos?

    Slash chords add color, and experiment with different progressions.

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