Now that you have major chords down the next task to tackle is Minor Chords. Minor chords are as much a staple of music as major chords and are just as easy to play. Minor chords have a “darker” sound than major chords but share some common characteristics. In fact the only difference between a minor and major chord is the third. A minor chord has a flat third. This means that to change a chord from a major to a minor you only need to drop the third a half step. A G major consists of G, B, and D but a G minor would be G, Bb, and D. To notate a minor chord we simply add a lowercase m next to the chord name like such; Gm. In the same fashion a major chord can be notated with a capitalized M, like such GM, but does not require it.
Much like making major chords, the first step in making minor chords is finding our notes. We still need to find the root (or first), the third, and the fifth. With the third now being a minor third. Finding the root (or first) of the chord is same as in a major chord. It is always the chords name. To find the minor third, the second note of a major chord, you go up 3 half-steps from the root. An example of this would be that in a C chord the third is Eb. To find our last note, the fifth, we go up 4 half-steps from the third. In a C chord, G would be the fifth. These rules apply for every minor chord. Remember start on your root then go up 3 half-steps, then 4 half-steps. Notice this is the reversal to the steps between first and third and third and fifth of a major chord. To test yourself try figuring out the minor chord for each of the 12 possible chords. An example would be a Fm chord which consist of F, Ab, and C.
Now that you know your minor chords lets put them on the guitar. We will use the same fundamentals that we learned making major chords to play minor chords. Lets try a Em chord. The notes in an Em chord are E, G, and B. This means we can leave the low E, G, B, and E strings open. We only need to cover the A and D strings with appropriate notes. In this case we can put our finger in the second fret on both strings producing a B on the A string and as E on the D string. It should sound and look like this.
Let’s try a few more minor chords. Dm and Am are good beginners chords to learn. They should look and sound like this.
Fm, Bm, and Cm require partial barring. We will talk in more detail about barring in future lessons. Barring is using your left hand pointer finger to cover multiple strings at once. You can see examples of this in the video. Barring can be tricky to get at first but don’t get frustrated just keep working at it until you develop more finger strength.
You might have noticed that in both major and minor chord lessons we have omitted any chords with a sharp or flat in the chord name. Due to the lack of sharps and flats as open string in standard tuning these chords must be played with few open strings and harder to play much like the F and B shapes where harder to play. We will get to these chords in later lessons or you can explore the guitar yourself and see if you can figure them out on your own. Like with any thing, trial and error and lots of practice are what will shape you into a great guitar player.