10. Intro to Open Chords – A Minor (BC-102)

Am:1[A Minor]

Chord Spelling: A – C – E
Scale Intervals: 1 – b3 – 5
Name Variations: Am – A Minor – Amin

We previously mentioned that there are three basic chord types, major minor and diminished. So far we have been looking at major chords, which have a bright, happy sound quality. We’re now going to have a look at the A minor chord, to give you a feel for the ‘sadder’, darker quality possessed by minor chords.

The A minor chord is made up of the notes A, C and E. The chord diagram shows the A minor chord in the open position and uses the top five strings on the guitar; the sixth (low E) string is not played.

To fret the chord, first place your middle finger on the second fret of the D string to fret the E note (in orange). Using our counting trick, we can count up two frets from the open D (D#, E), to confirm this is the correct note. The grey notes below should not be included in the chord.

fretboard option width=825 option height=240 show fret=1 string=4 text=D# fill-color=#cccccc show fret=2 string=4 text=E fill-color=#dd9933

Next, place your ring finger on the second fret of the G string to play the A note; count two frets up from the open G (G#, A) to make sure you are on the A note.

fretboard option width=825 option height=240 show fret=2 string=4 text=E fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=1 string=3 text=G# fill-color=#cccccc show fret=2 string=3 text=A fill-color=#dd9933

Lastly, place your index finger on the first fret of the B string to play the C note.

fretboard option width=825 option height=240 show fret=2 string=4 text=E fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=2 string=3 text=A fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=1 string=2 text=C fill-color=#dd9933

The open A string and the top E string are both played, so our final fretboard diagram is as follows:

fretboard option width=825 option height=240 show fret=0 string=6 text=X fill-color=#000000 show fret=0 string=5 text=A fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=2 string=4 text=E fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=2 string=3 text=A fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=1 string=2 text=C fill-color=#dd9933 show fret=0 string=1 text=E fill-color=#dd9933

The image below shows how to fret the A minor chord. Notice that the thumb wraps around the back of the fretboard, though you may like to experiment with thumb placement to allow you to fret the notes cleanly. To play the the chord, place your pick next to the A string and strum the top five strings. Again, if there something doesn’t sound right, ensure you are properly pressing the strings and you are not accidentally touching the open A or top E strings with your fingers.

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