I had a few questions about the C-shape barre chord.

1) In your experience, how useful is this chord? I know John Frusciante uses it a lot, which is almost enough endorsement right there, but in general is this a useful thing to have in your arsenal?

2) How do usually put it to use? Unlike E- and A-shape barres, it's got a very inconsistent set of variants. I can easily finger a Cmaj7 barre, but C7 seems like it'd require an extra finger, and C minor seems about as impractical as the open chord Cm would be (I know it's possible, but it seems like a pain).

I'm learning the chord anyway just because I love to learn weird chords, but I'm wondering if I should make a priority out of this one or just treat it like a novelty to noodle around with every once in a while.

Also, which variations DO you know? I can easily play C and Cmaj7 like I said, and Cadd9 is fairly doable as well. Any other C-shape barres you find comfortable and effective?

I think it's pretty useful, I usually like to use it with the added E string bass when transitioning.
Even something simple like
E |--7--6----|--5--4----|--3--2----|--1--2----||
B |--7--7----|--5--5----|--3--3----|--2--2----||
G |--8--6----|--6--4----|--4--2----|--1--3----||
D |--9--8----|--7--6----|--5--4----|--3--4----||
A |--9--9----|--7--7----|--5--5----|--4--4----||
E |--7--6----|--5--4----|--3--2----|--1--2----||

sounds pretty nice and it's easy to write a simple song or riff like that. And you'll be using that shape for arpeggios and lots of other stuff too.
probably not as handy as some of the others unless you're needing something specific to match in easily with other chords in a song.

as you said, c major 7 and c add 9 shapes aren't too bad.

i'm a lazy git, though. for me the best chord is the easiest to finger one.
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I haven't seen a need for it, and can get by without it, but still use it when I can, just so my hands are able to play it easily. So, I'll often throw it in when I can, because I "want" to. I find it a good shape, especially if I want to hammer on those notes on the D and G strings, and for various other applications. Makes you more well-rounded, and less needy of a capo if you don't happen to have one, or just don't want to rely on them so much.
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