How to Play an A Minor Chord on Guitar

    A minor chord

    A Minor Chord: Introduction

    If you learn more than one or two songs on guitar, you’re bound to cross paths with an A minor chord pretty quickly. A minor is not only extremely common; it’s also surprisingly easy to play.

    We’ll look at the two most popular ways of playing this chord, which include both an open and barre version.

    What songs use an A minor chord?

    As previously mentioned, there are a great number of tunes that utilize A minor. Here are a few:

    What notes are in an A Minor chord?

    A minor triad notes
    An A Minor Triad

    An A minor triad is made up of the notes A, C, and E. A true A minor chord has to include all of these notes, and can’t include any others (some or all of these three pitches will usually be doubled).

    On guitar, an open A minor is made up of, from top to bottom:

    E, A, C, A, C, E

    Every note is doubled.

    On a keyboard, as with any triad, you can use any combination these three notes to play either a root position or inverted A minor chord.

    How to play an A minor chord on guitar

    The A minor chord is almost always played in open position (at the top of the neck) on the guitar. Occasionally you’ll see it played as an E-shaped barre chord further down the neck.

    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: Open

    A minor chord guitar

    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 you’ll have an easy time learning A minor. It’s the same exact shape played on the same fret, but with each finger shifted down a string.

    A Minor Chord: Barre

    A minor barre chord guitar

    This variation of the A minor chord is played beginning at the fifth fret and stretching down the seventh. It’s played using the standard E minor barre shape.

    You can wrap your thumb around to fret the bass string or barre the entire fifth fret with your index finger; this comes down to personal preference.

    Alternatively, this chord can be simplified by barring only the bottom three strings; it’s still technically an A minor, although the low E string will sound especially low compared to the other pitches.