E minor chord is one among the simplest you’ll play on the guitar. It only requires two fingers and, being rock bottom pitch minor chord you’ll play in standard tuning, has considerable heft. Like all minor chords, it needs just three notes, the root, third and fifth, which are E, G, and B. The note G is three frets above E, making it a minor third and giving the chord its minor flavor. For comparison, G♯ is that the major third and would make a serious chord if added to E and B.
Figure 1: E minor chord
Chords like this are referred to as open-string chords as they contain a mixture of open strings and fretted notes. During this open string version of E minor, some notes are repeated – B occurs twice and E 3 times.
Figure 2: E minor chord 6
A chord that you’ll play with only two fingers means you’ve got a couple of spare fingers to feature other interesting notes. Here we’ve added C♯, the main 6, to make an edgy-sounding E minor 6th chord.
Figure 3: E minor chord 7
Adding the note D to the essential chord gives us E minor 7. Try combining it with figures one and two to feature movement while broadly staying in E minor.
Figure 4: E minor chord add9
The added note trick works well on the highest string too. Here we’ve added F♯, which is that the ninth note up the E minor diatonic scale and provides us a chord of E minor add nine. Have a hear Paul Weller’s you are doing something to me for inspiration on how you’ll incorporate this chord into your playing.
Figure 5: E minor chord/G
Here we have got a special first inversion shape, this point on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. See if you’ll compute root position and second inversions on an equivalent three strings. You’ll also let the primary string ring open against these inversions for added jangle.
Figure 6: E minor chord
Here we’ve added the note G on the highest string which works well combined with Figure 4. It doesn’t change the name of the chord as G is within the chord already – it’s just another voicing of E minor.
Figure 7: E minor
Anywhere you play the notes E, G and B together it’s an E minor chord. If E is that the lowest note the chord is in root position. Three-note chords played above the neck are great for choppy or funky rhythm parts.
Figure 8: E minor/G
Here we have got a primary inversion E minor chord, because G, which is that the third, is that the lowest note. Try combining it with Figure 6 for a few funky strumming. We use a forward slash followed by the bass note when the chord isn’t in root position.
Figure 9: E minor chord/B
This time we have a second inversion – the 5th of the chord, B is within the bass, so it’s another slash chord. Try finger picking figures 6, 7, and eight while picking the open low E string together with your thumb.
Figure 10: E minor
Finally – paradiddle please – the simplest chord on the guitar, except for finger pickers only. The open strings make a root position E minor with no fret hand fingers needed. Your picking hand thumb plays the open E bass note and therefore the index, middle, and ring fingers lookout of the highest 3 strings, one finger each. Try some arpeggios and blend in some C, G, and D chords, and your four-chord song is on its way.
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