Where Is Middle C On Guitar?

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for the answer to one question: where is middle C on the guitar?

It’s a good question that’s important to answer if you want to master the basics of music theory. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what middle C is, why it’s important, and how to find it on the guitar. We’ll also explore where middle C is on baritone and bass guitars.

What is middle C?

Middle C is the key that lies in the middle of the guitar fretboard, bringing a cheerful and uplifting sound to your music.

It is the major chord of the first octave and is located on the 12th fret of the guitar with 24 frets. The tone of the middle C can be heard when the string is plucked at this specific fret.

Furthermore, the sound of the middle C is also affected by the type of guitar, such as acoustic or electric, and the type of string used on the guitar. By using the middle c on a guitar you can produce a variety of different sounds and emotions depending on how it’s played.

Why should we start with C?

Starting with the key of C makes learning how to play the guitar much easier and less overwhelming.

Here are some reasons why C should be the first chord you learn:

  • It’s easy to locate anywhere on the guitar.
  • It’s not as complicated as other chords.
  • It’s the most basic chord to learn.
  • It’s the foundation for other chords.

The key of C is the perfect starting point for any beginner guitarist. It’s simple to learn and understand, and it’s the foundation for other chords. With C, you can easily transition to other chords and progress in your guitar playing.

It’s the perfect way to get started and build a strong foundation for your guitar playing.

Where is middle C?

The middle C, or C4 note, can be played on the following:

  • 2nd string 1st fret
  • 3rd string 5th fret
  • 4th string 10th fret
  • 5th string 15th fret

The 6th string can also be used to play the note, but it requires you to go all the way up to the 20th fret.

This is because the notation for guitar is always written one octave higher, so the C3 is traditionally written as C4 and C4 as C5.

The note sounds noticeably “muddier” when played this high up on the 5th or the 6th string, sometimes even struggling to cut through the mix.

There are perhaps a few other reasons why you’d want to play the note in these areas of the neck, mostly if you’re looking for an intentionally smoother tone in some riffs or specific parts of some songs. Of course, there are no rules, but it’s rarely ever the case that you see guitar players using the 5th and the 6th string to play the middle C.

Where is middle C on baritone guitars?

You can find the middle C note on baritone guitars at various frets depending on the tuning you’re using.

If you’re playing in the standard B tuning, the middle C can be played on:

  • 1st string 1st fret
  • 2nd string 6th fret
  • 3rd string 10th fret
  • 4th string 15th fret
  • 5th string 20th fret

If you’re playing in standard A tuning, just move everything two more frets ahead.

However, the standard middle C in guitar notation is one octave lower. That means, in the standard B tuning, you can also find the middle C on the 4th string third fret, 5th string 8th fret, and 6th string 13th fret.

Where is middle C on the bass guitar?

bass clef

On a bass guitar, the middle C, with a pitch of 261.626 hz, is played on the 1st string’s 17th fret.

Usually, bass guitars have been tuned to the same standard as double basses.

The “traditional” notation for bass guitars sees the middle C played one octave lower, at the:

  • 1st string 5th fret
  • 4th string 10th fret
  • 3rd string 15th fret.


You’ve now learned all about middle C and why it’s important to start with it. With this knowledge, you can now confidently start playing your favorite songs. Plus, you can impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of music theory.


How do I play middle C on guitar?

To play middle C on guitar, start by placing your first finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string. Then use your third finger to press down the 5th fret of the A string. You should hear a C note ringing out. Congratulations, you’ve just played middle C!

What is the difference between middle C and other C notes?

The difference between middle C and other C notes is that middle C is usually slightly higher in pitch than the other C notes, adding a unique depth to your sound.

What is the best way to learn middle C on guitar?

The best way to learn middle C on guitar is by training yourself with the fretboard and playing scales and arpeggios. Then identify the note positions by ear and practice changing between them.

With practice, you’ll be playing middle C confidently in no time.

How do I use middle C in a song?

You can use middle C when creating melodies or chords in a song. It is the musical reference point that can be used to create a tonal center. Play around with different notes to create interesting progressions and melodies.

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