Major and Minor Chords in Guitar

Chords are one of the cornerstones of learning guitar, helping create both anticipated and unexpected atmospheres.

A minor chord can be created easily using key notes of a major scale and their respective third notes shifted down a fret; this technique is known as lowering or flattening their thirds.

E Minor

E minor (also referred to as Em) is one of the most prevalent minor chords. It features an emotionally expressive sound and can be found both in folk and heavy metal music genres.

At first glance, open shapes on guitar can seem difficult and uncomfortable to fret. But they are actually some of the easiest and most comfortable open shapes to fret, making this shape essential in creating every other minor chord chord progression.

Keep this fact in mind to help identify minor keys with songs more easily. Knowing this makes determining their keys much simpler.

A Minor

Beginners must learn A minor chords as one of their primary skills. Additionally, this versatile chord can also be played using other shapes such as barre chords or capo positions.

To play an open A minor guitar chord, place your index finger at fret 1 on string B while your ring finger rests at fret 2 of G string and strumming all strings except the thickest (top) string.

Finding a relative minor chord of any major chord can be done by lowering its middle note (the third) by half step or one fret – making an E flat minor chord instead.

C Minor

C minor chords convey feelings of passion, sadness, and longing; often found in songs about unrequited love.

Beginner guitar players may find the traditional form of this chord to be difficult and time consuming to play, while an easier method that still sounds like C minor chord but only requires three fingers is presented here.

Your index finger resides on the first string’s third fret, your middle finger on its fifth fret and your ring finger on its fourth fret of sixth string.

G Minor

G minor chord is the relative minor of Bb major. This chord features the same notes, yet three half-tones lower; this creates a noticeable change in sound.

One way of creating a G minor chord is with a bar chord shape, where your index finger forms an arpeggiated bar across all six strings at fret 10.

However, this technique isn’t suitable for beginners who haven’t developed sufficient finger and hand strength yet. Luckily, there are easier ways to play G minor; choose one that best fits you and your current ability level.

B Minor

This chord is one of the most frequently used in guitar, making it an important one to practice for developing finger dexterity and strength.

Once you master this chord, you can progress into other minor family shapes – one such example being the m9 shape which can be found in jazz and Brazilian music, among other genres.

Start by positioning your index finger behind the second fret on the B string (second from bottom thinnest string) and your ring finger behind the fourth fret on A string (first from top thickest string). Be mindful not to muffle any of the strings with your fingertips as this could give an unintelligible sound.

D Minor

The D minor chord can serve as an excellent introduction to chord progressions on guitar. Found in many songs across genres, this chord should serve as an ideal place to begin building chord sequences on its own or within chord progressions.

A D minor chord contains two notes from the D minor scale – an open D string note and its equivalent note on B string octave higher; you may also add the seventh note (C) of D minor scale for an added C note chord to make a D minor seven chord.

E Major

Chords can be an effective way to build tension and tell a tale without words. Minor chords have more of a melancholic sound than Major ones, making the song feel sorrowful or emotional.

To form a minor chord, take the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of your chosen scale, flattening out the third note by one fret to form an E minor chord.

Once you become familiar with these chord shapes, expanding your understanding of the minor family becomes easy and accessible – for example by adding advanced grips such as 4th rootless voicings and m9,m11 and m6 extensions to open up a whole host of colors and shapes that you can use when comping or songwriting.