How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (2024)

  • Guitar Chords
  • C Chords

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (1)

The C minor chord, often written as "Cm", is a fundamental chord for guitarists across various music genres.

Mastering it can add depth and emotion to your playing.

The Cm chord is made up of three notes: C (the root), Eb (the minor third), and G (the fifth).

It's a minor chord, which gives it a melancholic or sad sound.

The most common way to play this chord is to shift the B minor chord one fret up.

Notes that compose the C m chord:

CEbG

How the Minor chord is built:

1

b2

2

b3

3

4

b5

5

#5

6

b7

7

C Minor Guitar Chord | Complete Tutorial

Before we find different chord positions for Cm let’s get an idea of how the chord is built and used.

The notes for the C major scale are C D E F G A B and a major chord is made up of the root, major third, and perfect fifth.

Which means a C major chord is made up of the notes C-E-G. If we instead use the root, minor third, and perfect fifth we get CEbG or C minor

C minor scale: CDEbFGAbBb

1

b2

2

b3

3

4

b5

5

#5

6

b7

7

Songs with the C minor chord

Minor chords are often associated with sadder and often slower music.

Major chords are perfect for upbeat rock and blues, while the minors are there to change the mood.

You will find plenty of minor chords in classical music along with genres like pop, rock, and funk.

  • One famous song written in a minor key was "Stairway to Heaven"
  • One particular tune using Cm was "Blackbird" by The Beatles.
  • The song "Creep" by Radiohead uses C major and then C minor to end each verse. (And the song "Creep" is supposedly a copy of the song "Air That I Breathe" by The Hollies and that also uses the Cm chord)

That is why that chord progression (C major and the C minor) has been used so many times (even "Get Free" by Lana Del Ray) it sounds so nice changing from the major to the minor.

C minor chord guitar shapes

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (2)

The Cm tones on the guitar fretboard. Click to zoom

Using the tones above we can come up with some of the more popular versions of how to play the Cm chord.

Usually when we play a chord we want the root note (here C) to be the lowest played bass note.

Sometimes we will find a chord shape where that isn’t the case, which means the chord is an inversion. If the lowest note is E or G instead of the C than that is an inversion.

It will depend on previous and latter chords in the progression as to whether the inversions sound good when played.

Sometimes the inversions will sound better than the regular chord with the normal root note!

Common C minor shape (barre required)

One common way to play Cm is by using barre chord minor shapes.

For example the Am shape moves up three frets to become Cm X35543. Or we move the Em shape up eight frets at 8-10-10-8-8-8.

C Minor Chord Shape | Barre at 3rd Fret

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (3)

C Minor Chord Shape | Barre at 7th Fret

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (4)

Cm fingering variations

Or we can try voicing it as 8655XX or perhaps the first inversion which is easily played X6554X

C Minor Chord Voicing

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (5)

Other Uncommon Shapes For C Minor Chord

We can also try some complicated positions with muted strings.

Like X3X04X which is used in the song Blackbird like we mentioned above.

Also this "open" Cm X3101X. Remember muting the outer E strings will be a lot easier than internal strings, they require a lot more practice.

C Minor Chord Voicing

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (6)

C Minor Chord Voicing

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (7)

Keys with C minor chord

You will often see Cm in the Keys of Eb, Bb, and Ab.

Of course it may be used in regular keys like G and F if you want a mood change from major to minor.

Three common scales that are fitting when playing the Cm chord are the natural minor scale, the harmonic minor, and the melodic minor scale.

Eb major key

KeyIiiiiiIVVvivii
EbEbFmGmAbBbCmDm/b5

Bb major key

KeyIiiiiiIVVvivii
BbBbCmDmEbFGmAm/b5

Ab major key

KeyIiiiiiIVVvivii
AbAbBbmCmDbEbFmGm/b5

G minor key

KeyiiiIIIivvVIVII
GGmAm/b5BbCmDmEbF

F minor key

KeyiiiIIIivvVIVII
FFmGm/b5AbBbmCmDbEb

C Minor Guitar Chord Voicings

Chord boxes are sorted from the easiest to the hardest. Learn how to read chord diagrams.

If you have difficulties with bar chord shapes, check the Bar Chords Tips tutorial.

Find more shapes on my all guitar chords online library.

Position 1
Open

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (8)

Position 2
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (9)

Position 3
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (10)

Position 4
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (11)

Position 5
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (12)

Position 6
Open

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (13)

Position 7
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (14)

Position 8
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (15)

Position 9
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (16)

Position 10
Movable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (17)

Position 11
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (18)

Position 12
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (19)

Position 13
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (20)

Position 14
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (21)

Position 15
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (22)

Position 16
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (23)

Position 17
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (24)

Position 18
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (25)

Position 19
BarreMovable

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (26)

Want a printable pdf?
Download the Free Guitar Chords Chart Pdf

Play This Chord With Other Roots

C m | D m | E m | F m | G m | A m | B m | C#m | D#m | F#m | G#m | A#m

How to build the C m chord on guitar

Pick some of the tones from the fretboard map below and play this chord in new ways.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

5

1

b3

5

1

b3

5

1

b3

5

1

b3

5

1

b3

5

1

b3

5

1

5

1

b3

5

How To Play The C Minor Guitar Chord (2024)
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