Minor chords

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 of 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

Basic minor chords with sharp or flat root

C#m / Dbm

D#m / Ebm

F#m / Gbm

G#m / Abm

A#m / Bbm

Comment

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 – Dm – F

Gm – 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.

Key          
A#m C# D#m E#m F# G#
D#m F# G#m A#m B C#
G#m B C#m D#m E F#
C#m E F#m G#m A B
F#m A Bm C#m D E
Bm D Em F#m G A
Em G Am Bm C D
Am C Dm Em F G
Dm F Gm Am Bb C
Gm Bb Cm Dm Eb F
Cm Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb
Fm Ab Bbm Cm Db Eb
Bbm Db Ebm Fm Gb Ab
Ebm Gb Abm Bbm Cb Db
Abm Cb Dbm Ebm Fb Gb

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

This chart is useful if you want to create a song or a chord progression in a minor key.

Key          
A#m C# D#m E# F# G#
D#m F# G#m A# B C#
G#m B C#m D# E F#
C#m E F#m G# A B
F#m A Bm C# D E
Bm D Em F# G A
Em G Am B C D
Am C Dm E F G
Dm F Gm A Bb C
Gm Bb Cm D Eb F
Cm Eb Fm G Ab Bb
Fm Ab Bbm C Db Eb
Bbm Db Ebm F Gb Ab
Ebm Gb Abm Bb Cb Db
Abm Cb Dbm Eb Fb Gb

The only difference is the fourth column in which the chord shift from minor to major. It is common to play the IV chord as a major although it will include a note outside the related scale. 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:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
A B C D E F G A
A B C D E F G# A

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 IV chord for the Am key. E includes E, G#, B whereas Em includes E, G, B.


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