While the Ab minor chord may not be the most well-known guitar chord, it is very useful for some popular songs, like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding. Whether you’re a novice or intermediate player, there are several versions of this chord that you can use.
How to Play A Flat Minor
Before we look at the fingerings, let’s take a closer look at the notes involved in this chord.
The Abm chord is a minor triad with three notes: the root Ab, the minor third B, and the perfect fifth Eb. It is enharmonic with the G sharp minor guitar chord.
If you are familiar with the Ab major chord, it has the notes Ab, C, and Eb. To make a minor chord, you move the third down a half step. Theoretically, the third in an Ab minor chord would be Cb. However, Cb does not really exist since it’s just a B. However, you may see some people write the Abm chord with a Cb – just know that Cb is the same as B!
You can play the Abm chord in an open position or as a barre chord. Most guitarists play it in the barre form in an Em or Am shape, but there are some alternatives for beginner guitarists.
You can strum all the strings when playing the Abm chord in the Em shape. The root note is on the 6th (low E) string.
- Index finger: bar it over every string, fret 5
- Middle finger: place it on the 5th (A) string, fret 6
- Ring finger: put it on the 4th (D) string, fret 6
Am-Shape Barre Chord
The second technique has an Am chord shape. As with other Am bar shapes, you only barre your finger over the first five strings and strum down from there.
- Index finger: barre it from the 5th (A) to the 1st (E) string, fret 11
- Middle finger: set it on the 2nd (B) string, fret 12
- Ring finger: place it on the 4th (D) string, fret 13
- Pinky finger: press the 3rd (G) string, fret 13
Try another barre: A# major on guitar
If you don’t feel confident enough in your barring abilities, you can practice using the semi-barre chord method. It falls between the open position and barre chord and works well with acoustic guitars.
- Index finger: press the 6th (low E) string, fret 4
- Middle finger: set it on the 4th (D) string, fret 4
- Ring finger: place it on the 3rd (G) string, fret 4
You form a semi-barre over the 4th fret while leaving the 1st, 2nd and 5th strings open.
Dm-Shape Guitar Chord
If you want to base your Abm guitar chord on the D minor shape, you can try this method. You strum down from the 4th (D) string.
- Index finger: place it on the 1st (E) string, fret 7
- Middle finger: put it on the 3rd (G) string, fret 8
- Ring finger: set it on the 4th (D) string, fret 9
- Pinky finger: press the 2nd (B) string, fret 9
Similar chord to try: A flat guitar chord
Ab Minor 7
For a bluesy take on A flat minor, you can try the Abm7 guitar chord. You start strumming from the 4th (D) string, muting the 5th (A) and 6th (low E).
- Index finger: set it on the 4th (D) string, fret 1
- Middle finger: place it on the 2nd (B) string, fret 1
- Ring finger: put it on the 1st (E) string, fret 2
An Easy, Open Position Alternative
If you are a beginner and want to incorporate A flat minor into your repertoire, you can try this open position version. It helps you build finger strength and agility, and you can base multiple chords on this shape. You will need to mute the 4th (D), 5th (A), and 6th (low E) strings.
- Index finger: place it on the 1st (E) string, fret 11
- Middle finger: put it on the 2nd (B) string, fret 12
- Ring finger: set it on the 3rd (G) string, fret 13
Once you have mastered this shape, you can move it around on the fretboard to create new sounds.
Songs Using A Flat Minor
Here are some popular songs featuring the A flat minor guitar chord.
- “Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses
- “Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- “You’re Mine” by Disturbed
- “Heart-Shaped Box” by Nirvana
- “Problem” by Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea
- “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers
- “Shadow of the Day” by Linkin Park
- “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha
- “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga
- “Low Man’s Lyric” by Metallica
- “What Now” by Rihanna
- “Pennyroyal Tea” by Nirvana
- “Mutiny” by Pendulum
As you can see, this versatile chord is used in plenty of genres and about tons of different topics.
Try more chords:
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.