In the last installment we used Hey Joe to work on 5 open string major chords. If only major chords existed though, the world would be a boring place. After all, rock classics like Stairway to electric guitar Heaven, While My Guitar Gently Weep, Hotel California, Comfortably Numb, et al would not exist. While major chords can be described as happy sounding, minor chords are sometimes described as sad. In this section we’ll take a look at 3 must-know, open-string minor guitar chords, E, A, and D, then apply them by learning to play the Can’t Buy Me Love chords. The symbol for a minor chord is simply a lowercase “m” after the letter name and a minus sign (“-“) is also commonly used to indicate a minor chord. For example:

  • The symbol for E minor is Em or E-
  • The symbol for A minor is Am or A-
  • And, the symbol for D minor is Dm or D-

Let’s build each of these from the bottom to the top.

 

Em

  • 6th string: Play string open
  • 5th string: 2nd finger plays the 2nd fret
  • 4th string: 3rd finger plays the 2nd fret
  • 3rd string: Play string open
  • 2nd string: Play string open
  • 1st string: Play string open

Em Chord guitar tab

Am

  • 6th string: Do not play
  • 5th string: Play string open
  • 4th string: 2nd finger plays the 2nd fret
  • 3rd string: 3rd finger plays the 2nd fret
  • 2nd string: 1st finger plays 1st fret
  • 1st string: Play string open

 

Am chord guitar tab

Dm

  • 6th string: Do not play
  • 5th string: Do not play
  • 4th string: Play string open
  • 3rd string: 2nd finger plays 2nd fret
  • 2nd string: 3rd finger plays the 3rd fret
  • 1st string: 1st finger plays the 1st fret

Dm chord guitar tab

 

Practicing the Em, Am, and Dm Chords

Chord progressions that appear in famous songs or rock standards are a great way to practice your chord switching techniques, strumming patterns, etc. They provide you with parts of songs that you are already familiar with (so you know how and what it’s supposed to sound like).

 

What’s a rock standard?

Rock is just the style of music that we’re talking about but you can put in any style, such as: blues, country, metal, jazz, pop, etc. A standard is a popular song that every musician (who plays that style) is “supposed” to know. It’s the popular repertoire among musicians.

 

Can’t Buy Me Love Chords

For Em, Am, and Dm we’ll look at the introduction to the Beatles classic, Can’t Buy Me Love chords. The intro is six measures long and each chord receives a full measure. The progression is as follows: Em-Am-Em-Am-Dm-G. We just learned the minor chords and the final G major chord is from the previous section, 5 Open-String Major Chords.

 

can't buy me love chords

 

 

 

This rhythmic strum pattern for this is called the Charleston rhythm. The pattern is played on beat 1 and the and of 2 and beat 4. Listen to the example and follow along.

 

can't buy me love chords with rhythm

 

 

 

There’s also a backing track for you to practice along with.

 

 

 

 

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