What is e minor on guitar

What Is E Minor On Guitar

Ever wondered how to make your guitar sing with feelings? Let’s dive into the world of E Minor, a special chord that sounds a bit sad but beautiful.

E Minor on guitar is a chord, characterized by a somber and melancholic sound. It’s played by placing your index finger on the second fret of the A string and your middle finger on the second fret of the D string.

Let your guitar tell a story by adding this wonderful chord to your repertoire. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to play E Minor and make your guitar express deep emotions! 

What is E Minor on Guitar – EM Chord

The E Minor chord, often written as ‘Em’, is a fundamental chord in guitar playing, known for its simplicity and depth.

It’s formed when you play E, G, and B together on the guitar, creating a harmonious sound. What makes Em stand out is its structure, which is easy to learn, especially for beginners.

This chord is built on the E note, which is its root, and it includes G and B that give it its unique sound. Learning E Minor is often one of the first steps in a guitarist’s journey, and it opens up a world of musical possibilities.

The Sound and Emotional Tone of the E Minor Chord

When it comes to the sound of the E Minor chord, think of words like ‘melancholic’ and ‘soulful’. It has a deeper, more introspective feel compared to its major counterpart.

This is because minor chords, in general, are associated with sadder, more reflective emotions.

Em, in particular, has a rich, full sound that can add a touch of solemnity to any song.

E minor played on guitar

Standard EM Chord Shape

Playing the E Minor chord starts with proper finger placement and strumming technique. Begin by placing your index finger on the second fret of the fifth string, which is the A string. Then, put your middle finger on the second fret of the fourth string, the D string.

Strum all the strings, ensuring that the open strings (first, second, third, and sixth) are ringing clearly. This shape produces the full, rich sound characteristic of the E Minor chord. It’s an essential shape to master as it serves as the foundation for many songs and chord progressions.

Easy EM Chord Shape

For beginners, there’s an even easier version of the E Minor chord. Simply strum the three highest strings (G, B, and E) of your guitar, leaving out the thickest three.

This simplified version still captures the essence of the E Minor chord but with less finger stretching, making it easier for those just starting out.

E Minor Barre Chord Shapes

The E Minor chord can also be played as a barre chord, which involves using one finger to press down multiple strings. For the Em barre chord, place your index finger across all the strings at the 12th fret. Then place your third finger at the 14th fret on the A string and the pinky finger on the 14th fret of the D String.

This allows you to play the E Minor chord in a different position, offering a range of tonal options. It’s a more advanced technique, but it’s incredibly versatile once you get the hang of it.

E Minor Scale Notes

The E Minor scale is a sequence of notes that creates the unique sound of this key. This scale includes the following notes: E, F#, G, A, B, C, and D.

It’s a natural minor scale, which means it’s built off the natural, unaltered notes found in its key. When you play these notes in sequence, you get the melancholic and reflective sound characteristic of the E Minor scale.

The E Minor chord is built of notes from this scale, specifically E, G, and B. Understanding this scale you can master not just the chord, but also various melodies and solos in the key of E Minor.

E Minor Triads

Triads are simple three-note chords, and the E Minor triad is no exception. It consists of the root (E), the minor third (G), and the perfect fifth (B). These three notes combine to form the basic building block of the E Minor chord.

On the guitar, E Minor triads can be played in various positions across the fretboard, offering different voicings of the same chord.

Each position changes the arrangement of these three notes, giving slightly different sounds but always retaining the essential character of the chord. Learning these triad positions helps in creating more diverse and rich guitar parts.

Keys That Have the EM Chord

The E Minor chord is a common and versatile chord that appears in various musical keys. It’s most commonly found in the keys of G major and E minor itself. These keys often feature the Em chord due to its harmonic relationship within the scale.

For the key of G major, E Minor serves as the relative minor, providing a somber contrast to the brighter major chords.

There are some popular songs that feature the Em chord including “Animals” by Maroon 5 and “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix.

Scales That Can Be Played Over E Minor

When playing over an E Minor chord, certain scales complement it well. The E Minor Pentatonic and E Natural Minor scales are the most straightforward choices, fitting perfectly with the chord’s notes.

For a more exotic sound, the E Harmonic Minor or E Dorian mode can be used. These scales add unique intervals and can give your playing a distinctive flavor.

When incorporating these scales, focus on emphasizing the root, third, and fifth notes of the E Minor chord within the scale to maintain a harmonic connection with the chord.


To recap, we’ve explored the depths of the E Minor chord on the guitar, from its basic forms to more complex barre shapes, and even delved into the E Minor scale and triads.

We’ve also looked at chord substitutions and scales that pair well with E Minor, offering you tools to add variety and emotion to your playing.

Remember, the true beauty of music lies in experimentation. So take these concepts, play around with them, and see how they can enhance your guitar journey.

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