Learn How to Play Minor Chords on Guitar

minor chords on guitar

So far we’ve covered major chords; now let’s examine minor ones. One major distinction between major and minor chords is their flattened third: major chords contain sharpened thirds while minor ones possess flattened ones.

Minor chords tend to create darker and more serious tones in music than major ones; indeed, many composers utilize both major and minor chords simultaneously in their work.


No matter your level, learning minor chords is one of the cornerstones of music. They form the backbone of music and can express various emotions and sentiments.

General rules dictate that to form minor chords, begin from the root note and move its third fret up or down accordingly. This change marks the difference between major and minor chords: perfect intervals (such as C) create happier and more hopeful melodies while lower intervals ( such as E) sound darker and melancholic.

Starting off on guitar can be daunting, but A minor is an ideal place to begin because it requires closely spaced fingers without needing any huge stretching movements.

Major and minor chords

As you learn to play chords on your guitar, it is essential that you practice until they feel natural and effortless. Fender Play makes this easier by offering a convenient platform where users can learn chord shapes, scales and music theory with the goal of applying those lessons through music-making – something many guitarists are doing every day in Fender Jam sessions!

Major and minor chords differ by just one note, yet this subtle change can have profound ramifications for their tonal qualities, emotional resonance, and use in music. Major chords typically feel more optimistic and upbeat whereas minor chords have moodier or sadder tones.

Songs across genres feature both major and minor chords, like those by Johnny Cash “Hurt” and R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion,” though in their case these classics were written using different keys.

Major and minor scales

Minor chords are known to create an emotionally charged sound, making them a valuable tool in any musician’s toolkit.

Like major scales, there are three kinds of minor scales: natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor. Each variety possesses its own set of scale degrees, solfege syllables and pattern of whole and half steps.

To determine a minor key’s relative minor, simply start from the tonic note of a major key and count back three half steps – this method is known as the minor third method. Furthermore, similar intervals that make up both major and minor scales also form chords; what distinguishes major from minor chords is their 3rd which flattens out in minor triads for added minor sound.

Minor seventh chord

Minor seventh chords can add depth and color to your music, creating depth and dimension while adding melancholic tone and tension in songs.

Chords containing minor seventh intervals (or flattened 7ths) can be created by adding one (or multiples of one) minor sevenths to a minor triad pattern. In other words, stack a minor third, major fifth and minor seventh note atop your root note for these chords to form.

If you’re new to CAGED chords, this page can serve as an ideal introduction. Simply skip down to the diagrams below for each chord to see its different appearance across the fretboard.

Minor sixth chord

The minor sixth chord is similar to its major six counterpart, but features a lower third note that makes it less bright and gives it more of an expectant quality. It makes an ideal complement for minor seventh chord progressions (when used as the second chord) while adding some added interest as solo chord.

To create a minor sixth chord, all it takes is finding a minor triad and then lowering its third by half step – also known as flat thirding – so C minor would become C, E and G for example.

Removing finger three from this voicing creates an A minor seventh chord, creating an introspective and jazzier sound than its simple minor cousin. Give this chord a try in a progression – its sounds is often found in songs by The Beach Boys such as California Girls!