ChordBank, How to Play Chords on Guitar
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Helping millions play guitar better, since 2010.

HOW TO PLAY

The Am Chord

On this page, you'll learn how to play the Am guitar chord with videos and diagrams. This is an easy chord for beginners, and it's an important chord—you'll use it all the time.

This video will show you where to put your fingers (with a diagram below):

Here's a diagram to show where your fingers should go:

am chord

STEP BY STEP

How to play a A Minor chord on the guitar

  1. Put your 1st finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd string.
  2. Put your 2nd finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string.
  3. Put your 3rd finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd string
  4. Strum only the highest five strings.

Think of this chord like climbing a little mountain—start with your first finger on the first fret of the second string, and then your next two fingers will go up on the next two strings, just over one fret.

But don't I have to play all the strings?

Nope. Just because your guitar has six strings doesn't mean you have to play them all. A piano has 88 keys, but you only play a few at a time.

The important thing is playing the right notes, in the order we want them.

When your ear hears a chord, especially a chord you're playing by yourself on the guitar, there are two big things that matter:

  1. which notes are in that chord, and
  2. which note is the lowest note.

The reason we don't generally play the thickest string is simple—leaving that string out makes the lowest note of our chord the note “A”—we call that the root.

An Easy Way to Learn A Minor

A good drill to learn any chord shape is to practice putting your fingers on the strings, then taking them off, and then putting them back on again.

This will help you both mentally remember the shape, while developing a muscle-memory in your fingers for where to fret the strings.

Practicing Am with the C Major Chord

A great way to practice new chords, is to play them with other chords you already know.

Follow along with the video to play Am with C, and learn to strum in a muted eighth note style:

Easy Major Chords to play with A Minor

You'll find that the C chord and the G chord are played together with Am a lot:

HOW TO PLAY
C Major
HOW TO PLAY
G Major

So is the F chord—be sure to check out our simple guide of how to play the F chord:

HOW TO PLAY
F Major

More Easy Minor Chords

HOW TO PLAY
E Minor
HOW TO PLAY
D Minor
HOW TO PLAY
B Minor

Anna Freitas holds a B.A. from Berklee College of Music and performs throughout New England as a guitarist and vocalist. She continues to teach students in the Boston area.