C Minor Chord Guitar Lesson | Ways to Play Cm

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Learn how to play the C minor chord with this step-by-step c minor chord guitar lesson.

You’ll learn what a C minor chord is, how to play it, tips for playing it, and common mistakes to avoid.

C minor chord guitar theory

C minor chords notes

The notes in a C minor chord are C-Eb-G.

It’s a minor triad, which means the chord structure for the chord is 1-b3-5.

How to play the C minor guitar chord

Here you’ll see a variety of common C minor chord shapes.

Standard C Minor Guitar Chord

This is arguably the most commonly seen, standard C minor shape.

It’s derived from an open A minor chord.

Even though this shape uses a barre on the 3rd fet, it’s not critical that you play it. You can omit the high E string entirely if you want.

Standard C minor guitar chord shape

Standard C minor chord guitar finger position

The best way to position your fingers for a standard c minor chord is as follows:

  1. Play an A minor chord shape using your fretting hand, but play the shape using your ring, pinky, and middle fingers
  2. Move this shape up 3 frets, so that the ring finger is on the 5th fret of the D string
  3. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the A string, which is your root note, C
  4. Use the middle of your index finger to play the 3rd fret of high E, creating a barre shape

Practice the chord one string at a time to make sure you can hear every note clearly!

Open C Minor chord

This is an open Cm chord.

It only uses 3 strings, so it’s not a very “full” sound chord shape, but it gets the job done.

I suggest looking at it like an open C major chord shape with the note on the D string moved down a half step.

Open string C minor chord guitar shape

Easy C Minor chord

The easiest way to play a C minor chord is by simplifying the most common C minor chord shape. You can do this by only playing the notes on strings G, B, and high E.

The result will be this shape:

Easy C Minor Guitar Chord

6 string C minor barre chord

This is arguably the hardest C minor shape, because of its large barre.

Even though it might be difficult, being the C minor chord with the most diversified range of notes gives it a big sound, which is especially great for acoustic guitar.

C minor barre shape at the 8th fret, derived from the e minor chord shape.

Incorporating the C minor chord

As a general rule, the easiest way to incorporate the C minor chord is by using it in a diatonic key.

Below you will see all 3 diatonic keys that have C minor.

Keys with the C minor chord

Like any minor triad, there are 3 diatonic minor scales that use the C minor chord.

C minor

C minor is the 1 chord (i) in the C minor scale.

G Minor

C minor works as the 4 chord (iv) in the G minor scale.

F Minor

C minor works as the 5 chord (v) in the F minor scale.

C minor chord guitar lesson summary

The C minor chord is C major’s minor brother.

The standard shape is the most popular way to play the chord, but using an easier shape can work okay as well.

Try using it in some of the keys as shown earlier, and find some songs that use the c minor chord.

Thanks for reading!