The A minor guitar chord is a must learn. If you are playing any songs in the key of C, this chord is required. It's a simple chord to play, and if you are a beginner you will find it easy to master. It is also written as Am.
Here is A minor in the open position on the guitar. It is played by placing the 1st finger on the 2nd string 1st fret, 2nd finger 2nd fret 4th string, and 3rd finger 2nd fret 3rd string. Let the 5th and 1st string ring open. Do not strum the 6th string.
Next up is a version of Am that is played as a bar chord at the 5th fret. To play this variation, bar across the 5th fret with your 1st finger, place your 3rd finger on the 5th string 7th fret, and 4th finger on the 4th string 7th fret. This is a very common version of A minor, and has a nice full sound to it. Hint: try playing this chord shape on other frets too.
My favorite variation of A minor is played as a bar chord on the 12th fret. It sounds so good when played on my strat, neck pickup, with a little reverb. This one is played with a bar across the first 5 strings at the 12th fret. Then place your 3rd finger on the 4th string 14th fret, 4th finger 3rd string 14th fret, and second finger 2nd string 13th fret.
Lastly we have this version that is sort of pulled from the bar chord version I just mentioned above. This one is played with the 1st finger 1st string 12th fret, 2nd finger 2nd string 13th fret, 3rd finger 3rd string 14th fret. This is a good one to just sort of sprinkle in some highs. Also good for some reggae chops, or for songs that are already heavy on the bass.
BY KATE KOENIG
Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. The chords you’ve learned so far—C, G, and D—have all been major. This week you’ll be focusing on the first minor chord in the series, A minor.
You have learned that a major triad has three notes—the root, the third, and the fifth. A minor triad contains the same three notes, except the third is flatted, or lowered by a half step. An A minor triad consists of the notes A (root), C (minor third), and E (fifth), as depicted in Example 1.
In music notation, a minor chord is usually denoted with a lowercase m or min after a note name. You’ll find the most common Am voicing in Example 2. The doubled notes here are A and E; there is only one C.
In Example 3a, you’ll find the most common Am barre chord, in fifth position, with three As, two Es, and one C. Examples 3b–C show some derivations on this shape, each using a barre only on the top three strings and Ex. 3b taking advantage of the open A string.
For some less common Am voicings, check out Examples 4a–4b. These shapes are identical, except Ex. 4a contains the note A on string 4, while Ex. 4b includes a C on that string.
Example 5a is based on the same shape as Ex. 1, but the fretted notes are played an octave (12 frets) higher, and Example 5b offers a further variation. Both of these examples are best played on a guitar whose neck joins the body at the 14th fret, like an OM or modern dreadnought.
If you’ve been keeping up with these videos, you should know various ways to play C, G, and D major chords; how to switch between C–G and G–D; and now, different ways of doing an A minor chord. One famous song that makes extensive use of an A minor chord is Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” In the next lesson, I’ll show you how to play your second minor chord, Em.
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Open Minor Guitar Chords
Minor chords - an introduction
In part 1, I mentioned how major and minor chords are most broadly differentiated. Major chords sound bright, happy, warm... minor chords sound ominous, sad, cold, dark etc. but did you know that the only difference between major and minor chords is just one single note?
As you'll see in a minute, we only change one note in the major chord to turn it into a minor chord, yet the difference in sound is huge (as you'll hear).See, there is only one single note responsible for making the chord major or minor, and it's worth understanding which note that is. In music theory, it's known as the "3rd", but the important thing at this stage is that you can hear what makes a major chord major and a minor chord minor. Based on your knowledge of the major chords from part 1, see if you can identify which note we are changing, and where we move it to create the minor equivalent...
The 5 open minor guitar chords
Many guitar chord lessons you'll see in books and online will only show you the most common minor chord shapes - E, A and D. This is because C and G minor open shapes are not as commonly used. However, I would still advise learning them, because it's good to keep your playing options open. You never know when you'll "need" them!
Click the photos/diagrams to hear the chord.
E minor guitar chord
Some people prefer to use their 1st and 2nd fingers for this one.
A minor guitar chord
D minor guitar chord
G minor guitar chord
This one offers a deeper minor voicing.
C minor guitar chord
Obviously you don't need to raise your 3rd finger like I do in the pic. That was just so you could see the fingering clearly. If your hands are big enough, you may be able to use 3rd finger in place of 4th. Don't worry if no matter how much you try you just can't finger this one - it's not essential to learn, but it's just another chord to add to the library.
Practice changing between open chords
Now we have effectively doubled our library of chords to include both major and minor, we can really start to create more meaningful music. Mixing minor and major chords in your songs adds depth to the music.
This is also a good opportunity to get physically confident with changing between major and minor shapes. Before you play over the jam track below, use a metronome to gradually build up your speed with changing chords. Make sure the changes are smooth and clean before you speed up a notch.
When you're ready, try the exercise below. Just like in the first lesson, you don't need to think about strumming patterns, just focus on the chord changes in time with the rhythm.
Guitar Example - Download Jam Track
Also, as always with these lessons, try making your own sequence from the guitar chords we've learned. Once you're up to speed, try playing along to drum tracks to make your practice more engaging.
The more you practice changing between chords, the sooner you will be ready to move on to using more advanced chord fingerings. However, don't feel like you're in a rush. Take your time, there is no exam deadline for this! It's important to make sure you're 100% confident with fingering these chords before you move on.
Keep playing around with the major and minor open chords you've learned. The sooner you start to create your own music, from your own ideas, the more you will begin to understand music and how chords work, naturally.
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Learn Guitar Chords
The Am Chord
HOW TO PLAY
On this page, you'll learn how to play the Am guitar chord with videos and diagrams. This is an easy chord for beginners, and it's an important chord—you'll use it all the time.
This video will show you where to put your fingers (with a diagram below):
Here's a diagram to show where your fingers should go:
STEP BY STEP
How to play a A Minor chord on the guitar
- Put your 1st finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd string.
- Put your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string.
- Put your 3rd finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string
- Strum only the highest five strings.
Think of this chord like climbing a little mountain—start with your first finger on the first fret of the second string, and then your next two fingers will go up on the next two strings, just over one fret.
But don't I have to play all the strings?
Nope. Just because your guitar has six strings doesn't mean you have to play them all. A piano has 88 keys, but you only play a few at a time.
The important thing is playing the right notes, in the order we want them.
When your ear hears a chord, especially a chord you're playing by yourself on the guitar, there are two big things that matter:
- which notes are in that chord, and
- which note is the lowest note.
The reason we don't generally play the thickest string is simple—leaving that string out makes the lowest note of our chord the note “A”—we call that the root.
An Easy Way to Learn A Minor
A good drill to learn any chord shape is to practice putting your fingers on the strings, then taking them off, and then putting them back on again.
This will help you both mentally remember the shape, while developing a muscle-memory in your fingers for where to fret the strings.
Practicing Am with the C Major Chord
A great way to practice new chords, is to play them with other chords you already know.
Follow along with the video to play Am with C, and learn to strum in a muted eighth note style:
Easy Major Chords to play with A Minor
You'll find that the C chord and the G chord are played together with Am a lot:
So is the F chord—be sure to check out our simple guide of how to play the F chord:
More Easy Minor Chords
Anna Freitas holds a B.A. from Berklee College of Music and performs throughout New England as a guitarist and vocalist. She continues to teach students, both in-person and online via Skype.
Guitar minor chord
What Is a Minor Chord?
The word minor might make a chord sound smaller or less important, but that’s not the case. The minor chord, along with the major chord, is one of the two most important types of chords in music. The sound of the minor chord is usually described as sad.
Let’s look at how to build a minor chord.
Embedded content: https://youtu.be/oZswGpF1H6A?rel=0
To find a minor chord, start by building a major chord. Do this by identifying the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes in the scale. To get a minor chord, simply move the 3rd note down the fretboard by a half step, by one fret.
For example, in the C major scale, the notes are C, E and G. After finding these notes, simply move the 3rd note (the E) down by one fret. This note is called a lowered or flat third (♭3). The E note now becomes an E♭ in the minor chord.
Notice that the octave (the 8th note) is also part of the chord. Any of the notes C, E♭ and G can be played in any octave on the guitar and it will still be called a C minor chord.
In order to find notes of other minor chords, you will need to know the notes for more scales and remember that the minor chord is the 1, ♭3 and 5th notes of those major scales. To learn more about chords, browse Fender Play's chord library, discover other chord types, and find tips on how to master them..
Learn more about the A minor chord in this video and click here to start your free 30-day trial of Fender Play.
The minor chords are together with the major chords the most important chords to learn for guitarists. This chord type consist of a root note, a minor third and a fifth. The minor third and the fifth are theoretical names and nothing you must commit to memory.
Minor chords are written with the letter for the root note followed by an "m" (for minor). Besides the basic minor chords there are other categories that also use minor in the name, such are minor seventh, minor ninth, minor eleventh and minor thirteenth.
Basic minor chords
Minor chord exercises (.pdf)
Basic minor chords with sharp or flat root
Some of the presented diagrams, primarily Cm, Fm, Bm, C#m/Dbm, D#m/Ebm, F#m/Gbm, are often played with other shapes (barre chords most of all), or with a capo. Therefore, you should check upon this and decide which way you prefer to play the chord. Click on a link below a picture for more alternatives including barre shapes and capo positions.
Progressions with minor chords
Minor chords are most commonly played in sequences that also include major chords or other chord types. Here are some basic examples:
Em – Am – D – G
Gm – Bb – Dm – F
Am – G – C – E
C – Dm – Em – Am
Chart with minor keys
This chart is useful if you want to create a song or a chord progression in a minor key.
Cb = B | E# = F | Fb = E |
So how to read the table? Let's say you want to create a sequence of chords in E minor. In that case, start to look for "Em" in the first column and when you can use all the chords in the same row (in this case it would be G, Am, Bm, C and D).
Alternative chart with minor keys
Another chart, almost similar with the former.
The only difference is the fourth column in which the chord shift from minor to major. It is common to play this chord as a major although it will include a note outside the related scale, this chord can also sound great as a dominant 7th. What happens is that the sixth degree in the scale is sharpened. Let's compare the regular scale and the alternative and use the A minor scale as an example:
The seventh degree is called the leading tone. The leading tone resolve into the tonic and by rising it the movement from it to the tonic become stronger. In the table above, you can see that E is used instead of Em as the fourth chord for the Am key. E includes E, G#, B whereas Em includes E, G, B.
Back to chord types
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