Learn How to Play the Am Chord on Guitar – The Easy Way

how to play am guitar chord

Whether it is playing Alicia Key’s Fallin’, 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up, or Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, you will need to have a good background in playing the Am guitar chord.

This guitar chord has a heavy and rich sound that can evoke a sad emotional or somber feel.

It can also provide a wonderful contrast to major guitar chords of powerful songs, such as R.E.M. ‘s Losing My Religion and Foo Fighters’ The Pretender

Whatever your song choice is, this minor chord can provide your guitar-playing the character it needs. So, how do you play the Am chord on guitar the easy way?

The A Minor Chord for Every Guitarist

For most people, there is only one shape of the Am guitar chord. It involves a three-finger technique that is almost similar to the E major chord, except it is lower than the E guitar chord.

This chord requires you to place your index finger on the B (2nd) string on the 1st fret, your middle digit on the D (4th) string on the 2nd fret, and your ring finger on the G (3rd) string also on the second fret.

Playing the chord entails strumming only the 1st to the 5th strings, leaving the sixth string muted. 

The A minor chord is easy enough to strum on its own. However, if you learn how to play other chords, it can be quite challenging for beginners. They may not have the finger dexterity yet to make swift transitions. They may miss landing on the correct frets and strings. 

That is why there are several variations of this classic Am guitar chord that should help simplify the learning process. Unfortunately, these versions may not sound exactly like the original three-finger Am guitar chord.

The Am7 Version

This version of the A minor is one of the easiest to execute while ensuring a sound that is as close to the original guitar chord as possible. The National Guitar Academy says that the Am7 is the best version of the Am guitar chord.  

It only requires two fingers that beginner guitarists will learn how to play in minutes. The shape takes the form of the classic A minor guitar chord, without the pressing of the 3rd string on the 2nd fret. 

This method is ideal for beginning guitar players who have yet to strengthen their finger dexterity. Several song exercises should help them develop and build the finger flexibility they need to play the original Am chord.

Three-string Am Version

This Am version is like a mix between the original and the Am7. It is also an easy chord to play, especially among children and newbies to the guitar world. However, it is nowhere near the Am7 in terms of Am sound. It should still be an acceptable sound.

For this A minor chord technique, you will have to press the B string on the 1st fret with your index finger and the G string on the 2nd fret with your middle digit. To play the three-string Am chord, you only need to strum the three lower (G, B, and high E) strings. 

The Am Barre Guitar Chord

It may surprise you to know that the A minor guitar chord also has its barre shape.

If you learn how to play this technique, you will be more than ready to explore the wonders of barre chords. It is also ideal for songs that have plenty of barre chords. Sliding across the fretboard should be a cinch if you get this Am form right.

The A minor barre chord puts your fingers closer to the guitar body, starting at the 5th fret. Press your index finger as hard as you can to cover the six strings on the 5th fret. 

Extend your ring finger to reach the 5th string on the 7th fret, while your pinky presses on the string below it. 

Newbie guitarists may find this maneuver tricky because of its placement on the fretboard. The location of the fretted notes can also stretch the fingers to the hilt. 

Also Read: Best Acoustic Guitars: Top Reviews & Buying Guide

Two-Finger Am Chord on the 5th Fret

If you are not comfortable with the Am barre chord, you can try this technique.

Place your index finger on the B string on the 5th fret and your pinky on the high E string on the 8th fret. This version will push your finger flexibility to its limits. 

The finger positioning is already tricky, playing it can also be challenging. For this Am guitar chord, you must pluck only the 1st, 2nd, and 5th strings. Leave the 3rd, 4th, and 6th strings muted.

There is a three-finger version of this Am chord on the 5th fret. Like the two-finger technique, it will stretch the pinky to its limits. It can also hyperextend the middle digit as it presses on the 4th string on the

7th fret. 

It has the same shape as the two-finger Am chord, except the index finger will cover strings 2 and 3. Make sure to leave the two upper strings (5th and 6th) muted to get the tone right.

The sound you produce will have more character, complementing the powerful chords that come from a rock and roll or heavy metal piece.

Am Chord on the 8th Fret

Get ready to become a rock star with this unique way to play the Am guitar chord. You will have the A minor high up on the fretboard, making for an excellent foundation for slinging metal, rock, and blues. 

Press the 1st string on the 8th fret with your index. Extend your middle digit a little bit to land on the 3rd string on the 9th fret. Stretch your ring finger until it presses on the 4th string on the 10th fret. The last step of this technique is positioning your pinky on the 2nd string on the 10th fret. 

The only string you will not play in this technique is the low E (6th) string. You should try this version because it is one of the most awesome A minor guitar chords you will ever hear.

The Am guitar chord is a very interesting pattern to learn. It works both ways. It can give your song the drama it needs to drive home an emotion. You can also use it to electrify your rock and roll and metal songs.  


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