11 April 2008

Beginner Guitar Chords: E Minor

This post starts a series introducing minor chords. A minor chord has a kind of sad, broody or melancholy sound. They appear in lots of songs so it's worth while learning them.

What's a minor chord?
You might not know what a minor chord is, so let's begin with a little theory. A minor chord is formed by lowering the third note of the major chord by a half tone. This means one fret on the guitar. Don't worry if you don't understand this yet. It will become clear shortly when you compare the E minor chord below with its E major counterpart.

Open Position Minor Chords
In this series we're going to take a look at three simple minor chords that you can play in open position. The three chords are E minor, A minor and D minor. Minor chords are usually denoted by adding a letter 'm' after their name, e.g. Em, Am, Dm.

Let's get started by seeing how you play Em. The diagram below shows the left hand fingering for the chord.

e 0|---|---|---|
B 0|---|---|---|
G 0|---|---|---|
D |---|-3-|---|
A |---|-2-|---|
E 0|---|---|---|

You'll notice that the fingering is almost the same as the E major chord. The G note played on the open G string here is the minor third. If you compare with the E major chord, you'll notice that you play the first fret on that string. The minor third is one fret lower.

Practice And Listen
As usual, remember to practice your finger positioning slowly, before you start trying to play the strings. When you start strumming listen for the sound of the chord and compare it to the E major.

Once you're comfortable with the E minor chord position you might like to try it out with this Simon and Garfunkel song, Sound Of Silence.

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