While the Gm chord is a somewhat obscure minor chord, it’s still important to master. Whether you’re a beginner player or you’re more advanced, there’s a method for playing the Gm chord that’s right for your skill level. If you’ve been wondering how to play G minor, read on.
What Is the Gm Chord?
The Gm chord often gives the listener a sorrowful, melancholy feeling. It can be useful in songs where the musician wants to conjure a sense of the unknown. It’s often the unexpected sound that can give a song an edge.
The G minor chord is made up of three notes:
- G – the root
- Bb – the minor third (try the B flat major chord next)
- D – the fifth
When played correctly, the chord can add depth to your music.
Standard Method for Playing the Gm Chord
The standard version of the Gm chord is barred. You’ll start by creating a barre with your first finger on the third fret. You’ll put your ring finger on the fifth string along the fifth fret. To complete the chord, place your pinky finger on the fourth string of the fifth fret. From the low E string, strum six strings downward.
Another way to think about the Gm chord is to play the Em chord with a barre. The finger placement is the same; you just need to master the barre.
Try another barre that’s slightly easier, too – Cm or c minor should get you acclimated to playing these chords nicely!
Easier Gm Chords for Beginners
The standard method for playing the Gm chord can be tricky for beginner guitar players, as the barre takes finger strength you may not have built up yet. If you’re new to the guitar and want to learn the G minor chord, there are other ways to play it.
One simple way to play the Gm chord is to take the standard method and make it easier. Instead of creating a barre with your first finger, just place it along the first three strings on the third fret for this technique. Next, put your ring finger on the fourth string of the fifth fret.
For strumming, simply strum four strings down, starting with the D string. This technique is much easier than making a barre, but it can still be challenging for beginners, as it’s still a lot of work for your index finger. Fortunately, there are two more ways to play a Gm chord that are ideal for beginners.
For an even easier version, we just simplify the method above even further. Where you previously put your index finger over the first three strings on the third fret, you’ll now cover those same strings using your index, pointer, and ring finger—strum in the same manner as above.
This method is a good one for those who are incredibly new to the guitar. It’s easy to get your fingers in the right position, and you don’t have to have the finger strength needed to create a barre. This technique is also suitable for kids who are just learning the guitar.
This final method is a slight variation of the Gm minor chord. It’s still the same chord with the same notes, but the sound is somewhat different. It’s often described as contemplative and somber.
For this method, you’ll need two fingers. Your first finger will go on the fifth string on the third fret. Your second or third finger will go on the sixth string on the fifth fret. Choose whichever finger works best with the other chords you’re playing. When strumming, make sure you don’t strum the first two strings.
Which Gm Method Is Best?
There are trade-offs when it comes to these methods. The standard technique for playing the G minor chord will give you the fullest quality of sound. However, this fingering is the most difficult to play and may be nearly impossible if you haven’t built up hand strength and finger dexterity.
The other three methods will give you a G minor chord, but you don’t get the richness of sound that you do with the standard technique. These methods are much easier on your hands and fingers.
If you’re new to the guitar and haven’t built up the strength to do a barre, choose one of the other methods. You’ll likely want to do one of the first two easy methods, as the third method produces a slightly different sound.
Once you learn one of the more straightforward methods for playing a Gm chord, try to work your way up to the standard method. After you’ve been playing for a while, you’ll get the hang of the barre, and you’ll be ready to play complicated notes like the Gm.
Try Next: The Bm (B Minor) Guitar Chord
One Other Method
If you’re struggling to get the barre technique down but still want the full-bodied sound of the standard Gm, consider investing in a capo. The capo will create the barre for you. To play a Gm chord with a capo, you’ll place the capo on the third fret. You can then play the much-easier Em chord and get a Gm.
Do note that you’ll have to use the capo for the entire song, which will change all of your chords. The capo is usually not a feasible option for most songs.
Also try: The F major chord (HARD)
What Songs Use the G Minor Chord?
While G minor isn’t one of the most often-used chords, it’s still a great key, and many famous songs use the chords to give the music a distinct sound. Several Queen songs, including “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Somebody to Love,” are written in the Gm key. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac is another popular tune that uses the Gm chord.
While the Gm is known for its melancholy tone, you’ll notice that not all songs that use the chord are sad. Many upbeat songs, such as “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” by Mike Posner, use this chord. The chord is often used to bring interest and thoughtfulness to an otherwise upbeat song.
Try next: The f#m chord
Learning how to play the G minor chord is an essential step for all guitar players. The four methods we described should allow you to play Gm whether you’ve just picked up a guitar or if you’re an expert player.
Playing the Gm chord is within reach. There are several ways to improve. You can practice strumming with just the barre and then add in two fingers. Also work on building up your finger strength and agility.
Remember to keep practicing. If you can’t create a barre to play chords like the Gm right now, continue to practice and keep doing finger work. If you work hard, you may be surprised at how quickly you can play chords such as this one!
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