If you want to become a great guitarist, make sure you master the A minor chord. It’s an essential skill that every guitar player should have. There are tons of easy guitar chords, and the Am chord is no exception.
Unless you’ve learned the flattened third degree of the major scale, the A chord you’re playing is really a different chord than an A minor. The Am guitar chord is typically what people hear when they play this note. You can learn new chords easily. Here’s a step-by-step guide to playing the A chord from start to finish:
The Am chord is the most well-known minor chord that can be found in various popular songs. Played with standard tuning, it has a deep, heavy sound. And like most minor chords, its tone typically evokes a sad or somber emotion.
Lots of people seem to think the Am chord only belongs to classical music or something, but it also appears in rock, folk and country. That’s why we’re breaking it down for you!
Playing the A Minor Chord on Guitar
The A minor chord when playing the guitar for beginners can make a good challenge. But it also helps build finger dexterity as well as increase agility on the fret. When you stop to think about all of the songs that use Am chords, it’s definitely a tough challenge worth taking on.
Most people find that playing the A minor chord becomes a lot easier after they’ve been practicing it for a while.
To play the chord, start by putting your index finger on the first fret of your B string. From there, place your second finger on the second fret of your string bass. Finally, stretch your third finger over to the D string on the second fret.
- Index finger: 1st fret of the B (2nd) string
- Middle finger: 2nd fret of the D (4th) string
- Ring finger: 2nd fret of the G (3rd) string
Strum 5 strings down from the A string, and let the chord ring out.
Almost always, an A minor chord is played in open position on the guitar. Occasionally you will see it as an E shaped barre chord.
These two variations are almost exclusively used when an A minor chord is needed. Let’s look at the chord diagrams for these two shapes.
A Minor Chord on Guitar: Open
This is the first A minor shape any guitarists learns, and unless they make a lot of progress as a guitarist it’s usually the only one that’s needed.
If you know how to play an E Major chord it will be really easy for you to learn A minor. You’re basically just changing where your fingers are situated on the neck of a guitar, but in the same spot.
A Minor Chord on Guitar: Barre
This variation of the A minor chord is played from the fifth fret and stretching down to the seventh fret. It’s played using a standard E minor barre shape.
You can use your thumb to fret the bass string or barre the fifth fret with your index finger. It’s all about what you prefer in the end.
This chord can be simplified by barring only the bottom three strings. It will be an A minor, but the low E string will sound especially low when compared to the other pitches.
What Notes Make Up the A Minor Chord
There are no flats or sharps in an A minor chord. It sounds the following chords when played together:
A, E, A, C, E
When you play the Am chord, all the strings will sound apart from your lower E. This may sound complicated but it’s actually quite simple – just follow along these few easy steps and you’ll be playing Am in no time!
Why you Don’t Play the Sixth String
In short, you’re looking to play a certain sound when you play particular guitar notes and chords. This is why we spend a little time getting to know the different parts of a guitar before every session and make sure we practice chords and songs over and over again. We’re looking to have a sense of progression in the music we usually play.
It’s important to know that as a beginner you should do everything by the book. By playing against the sixth string in A Minor, you’re not using it how it was intended to be used. You can go into all sorts of discussions about different musical theory but be mindful that as a beginner, your focus should be on playing by the law.
I know you want to just jam and make up whatever sounds good on your guitar, but trust me and don’t do that. And become the next Jimi Hendrix in the first couple of months of playing – and you won’t sound anywhere near as good as solos you’ve heard in legendary, classical rock operas that you drunkenly stumble through at Karaoke night when you decide go wild.
When we play the A chord, we’re looking for the lowest note to be an A. if we play sixth string now that means that here is where the root of our chord is and so, this is not going to work when playing our chord properly.
It’s true that there’s not so much of a difference between being average and being great. But, if you study the basics and practice for hours, you’ll learn how to become a good guitarist!
Songs That Use the Am Chord
When played by itself, the A minor chord has a mellow sound and can be found in songs with more reflective lyrics. The Am chord can also be found in some upbeat songs. It contrasts nicely to the majors, providing a more edgy sound. Here are some examples:
Some classic rock songs are pensive, like “One” by U2, “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” The use of the A minor chord in these songs sets a tone that is often carried through their entire song. Recent rock hits like Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun” and Foo Fighters “The Pretender” keep the sentiment alive by using an A minor.
The Am chord is also perfect for adding a mood to songs. Listen to the Spacy sound of Cream’s classic “White Room” or the power ballad feeling that comes from Tesla’s “Love Song.” You can also hear a minor chord in “Where Is My Mind” by the Pixies, which was played at the end of Fight Club. Minor chords create an unsettling feel, which is why it was used in the final scene of Fight Club.
The A minor chord is a staple in folk music. You can hear it in more ancient folk songs as well as popular ones, and it has its own deep, velvety sound that you’ll often hear on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” which is also richly sung with a smooth voice. Covered by famous music artists like Jeff Buckley, k.d. lang and Rufus Wainwright, the lyrics of this song actually express the “minor fall” and the “major lift” of chords in the A minor key.
The Am chord is also frequently used in the 1960s folk song “California Dreamin.” Fast forward to the 1990s and Lilith Fair singer-songwriter Jewel weaves the A minor chord into two of her biggest hits “You Were Meant For Me” and “Who Will Save Your Soul”.
The A minor chord is sometimes used on folk music thanks to the emotional turmoil that often depicts the genre, and it can still be heard in today’s most popular songs. It can be found in songs like ‘9 Crimes’ by Damien Rice, ‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver, and ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers.
Adding an A minor in a pop song can give it a different twist. Songs like “Can’t Feel My Face” and “California Girls” are examples of songs powered by this chord. This can be an exciting twist on popular songs such as TLC’s “Creep,” Peggy Lee’s classic, “Fever,” or John Legend’s “All of Me.”
The chord is used in many different types of music, from pop songs to epic ballads. It can slow down the feel of a song, too, especially when it’s used in U2’s “With or Without You”, Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and Phosphorescent’s “Song for Zula”.
Country music is all about grit, tears and triumph. You can tell this just by listening to “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” by Dwight and “A Broken Wing” by Martina McBride.
Modern country songs often use the A chord. Some popular ones include Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” and Montgomery Gentry’s “Tattoos & Scars”.
Remember what we talked about earlier about how music has the ability to transcend genre boundaries? The Blues is a great example for that because it has all of the elements of grit, tears, and triumph plus more. The Am chord is also used in soulful songs like ‘Aint No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers and Aretha Franklin’s masterpiece, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.’
You should give Buddy Guy’s “Damn Right I Got the Blues” and Robert Cray’s “Smoking Gun” a listen for some great examples of the A minor chord in action.
Practice and repetition can help your fingers get used to awkward positions in an A minor chord and make an easy transition to other chords in songs you’ve been learning. Try playing some songs with an Am chord and you’ll hear how versatile it sounds. Play some different genres and get used to the sound of the chord.
FAQ for Play A Minor Chord on Guitar
What is a minor chord?
A minor chord is a chord that is played on the guitar, piano or other instruments.
Minor chords are usually played with the root note, 3rd and 5th note in the scale. An example of a minor chord would be Cm.
What are the three types of minor chords?
Minor chords are a type of musical chord and have three types. They are the minor, diminished, and augmented.
A minor chord is a type of musical chord that has a root note, a minor third interval, and a perfect fifth interval.
A diminished chord is also a type of musical chord that has the same intervals as the minor chord but has an added perfect fourth interval.
An augmented chord is also another type of musical chord that has the same intervals as the major chord but with an added perfect fourth interval.
How do play a minor chord on guitar?
A minor chord is a chord with a minor third and a perfect fifth. To play a minor chord on guitar, you need to place your index finger on the second string, third fret. You then need to place your middle finger on the first string, second fret and then your ring finger on the first string, third fret.
To play an A minor chord for example – put your index finger on the sixth string at the fifth fret and then put your middle finger on the fifth string at the fourth fret and finally put your ring finger on the fourth string at the second fret.
What are the best ways to learn how to play a guitar?
There are many ways to learn how to play guitar. The most popular way is to take guitar lessons. There are many teachers who offer lessons in person or online.
Another way is to purchase a guitar teaching software or DVD and learn from that. You can also find a lot of free resources online like tutorials, videos and songs on YouTube which will teach you how to play the guitar.
The best way for you to learn the guitar depends on your situation and what you want out of it.
What kind of music should I learn to play on the guitar?
As a beginner, you should learn to play songs that are simple and easy to learn. You should also learn the basics of music theory such as chords, scales, and melodies.
Is there a beginner’s guide for playing the guitar?
A beginner’s guide for playing the guitar is a series of articles that will teach you the basics of guitar playing.
The first step to learning how to play guitar is to get a basic understanding of the instrument. You need to know about all of the parts, how they work, and what they do.