How to Play a G Minor Chord on Guitar (2024)

The Gm (or G Minor) chord - like many minor chords - often produces a sound that oozes uneasiness or shifting between optimism and pessimism. The chord creates a heightened sense of anxiety and produces a feeling of concerned contemplation.

Whether it’s worry surrounding the unknown, or hoping for the best despite grim situations, the Gm chord displays a bright, yet tentative sound that gives it a bite when played. Let’s learn more about this chord and how to play it.

Playing the Gm Chord

When it comes to the wide variety of minor chords, the Gm is one of the least common. Despite its lack of frequency within mainstream music, the chord’s unique sound make its worth learning and using it to add unexpected punch, emotion, and an unfamiliar -- almost unsettling -- sound when the occasion calls for it.

Despite it not being a go-to chord in a lot of songs, there are a few ways to play the G minor chord.

[The standard (and most popular) way to play the Gm chord starts on the 3rd fret. Barre your finger across all six strings, across the third fret.

From there, place your ring (third) finger on the fifth fret of the fifth string - the A string. Add your pinky finger to the fifth fret of the fourth (D) string](

Strum six strings down from the low E string

How to Play a G Minor Chord on Guitar (1)

However, for many beginners, barring along the fretboard can be a difficult finger technique to master. That’s why there are alternate versions of the Gm chord that make picking up this angsty chord a lot easier (and less angst-inducing when trying to play it)!

. The change lies within placing just your ring finger on the fourth (D) string on the 5th fret. It’s important to note that when playing this simplified version of the Gm chord that you do not strum the Low E and A strings.

  • Index finger: 3rd fret of the G (3rd) string

  • Index finger: 3rd fret of the B (2nd) string

  • Index finger: 3rd fret of the E (1st) string

  • Ring finger: 5th fret of the D (4th) string

Strum four strings down from the D string

How to Play a G Minor Chord on Guitar (2)

Although this version of the Gm chord is easier to play, you’ll be sacrificing a fuller, richer sound in order to play this simplified rendition. While it’s not a bad idea to start out learning to play the easier version, work your way up to developing greater finger dexterity and brushing up on your barre chord techniques to eventually play the full chord and take advantage of the sonic versatility of the G minor.


What Notes Make Up the Gm Chord?

The notes of the G minor chord are similar to the G major, with one notable difference.

The G chord is made up of the notes G, B, and D. The Gm chord is comprised of G, Bb, and D. That one, half-tone flat makes a “major” difference for this minor chord, giving it a richer, darker sound.

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Songs That Use the Gm Chord

The Gm chord knows how to play on your emotions -- which is what music is meant to do. Familiarize yourself with the Gm chord’s apprehensive characteristics and train your ear to listen for its sense of concern.

Pop Songs

From the onset, Cherry Glazerr’s “Had Ten Dollaz” sets the mood with an uneasy-yet-unbridled guitar riff. By the time Clementine Creevy’s vocals burst through, the Gm chord’s jaw-dropping sense of angst is on display.

“When I’m feeling down, wearing a frown …just gimme some kind of sign, girl” - the refrain of Brenton Wood’s catchy, contemplative ‘60s classic, “Gimme Little Sign” is the epitome of the Gm chord’s worry-filled tone.

Rock Songs

Add a harmonica on top of a couple in-rhythm Gm chords, lilting harmonies and up-tempo percussion, and you’ve got a No. 1 hit. At least, the Beatles did with their classic, “From Me to You,” which features an appearance of the G minor chord, lending an unexpected shift to this catchy ditty.

You wouldn’t think a band as happy-go-lucky as The Beach Boys would incorporate such a solemn chord like Gm into their upbeat, surfer tunes. But here it is on full display in “California Girls,” right alongside horn accompaniment and their signature, tantalizing harmonies.

From rock classics to more modern melodies, Cherry Glazerr’s “Had Ten Dollaz” feature the G minor chord’s angst on full display.

Alternative rock isn’t a subgenre that shys away from heartfelt acoustic tracks. That’s why the Plain White T’s “1, 2, 3, 4,” delivers a somber yet earnest acoustic track punctuated by the Gm chord

Blues Songs

Whether it’s a pop tune, a rock song or a bluesy funk track, like Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Spooky,” the Gm chord’s versatility and disconcerting tone can be felt across genres.

Country Songs

Life in the country can be full of love and loss and Garth Brook’s “Wild Horses” makes perfect use of the Gm chord to drive home that sentiment, accompanied by sorrowful strains of violin.

Expand your playing prowess to include the Gm chord. Start using it to add an unexpected tone and burst of emotion to your songs.

If you'd like to learn how to play even more chords, browse Fender Play's chord library, learn about chord types, and find tips on how to master them.

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How to Play a G Minor Chord on Guitar (2024)
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