How to Play F Minor Chord on Guitar

On this page I am going to show you 5 ways for how to play the F minor chord in guitar. 
I'll show you the easiest way to play the Fm chord, how to play the Fm chord with barring, and well as the F minor bar chords.  We'll also get into popular chords that go with Fm, popular songs that use the Fm chord, and what notes are used to make up the chord. 

Why is the Fm chord so hard?

The Fm chord is a bit harder than other chords because there is no open position for this chord. Which means you have to learn how to play bar chords! Not only that it is in the hardest position possible on the guitar... The 1st fret! Don't worry, I'll show you some easy ways to play the Fm chord for beginners

Fm Easy Version For Beginners

F minor easy!

First place your 1st finger (index) on the 3rd string 1st fret and then lay (bar) your 1st finger across string 1, 2 and 3. 

That's it!


Be sure your thumb is on the inside of your hand (not on the outside of your index) and press your fingers to the side. You may want to use your 2nd finger (middle) to help. You could also try playing this chord up an octave on the 13th fret which would give you more leverage as you learn to bar. 

This is actually slash chord written as Fm/Ab. Meaning, play an Fm chord but have the Ab note in the bass. Check you out getting so good at music theory.  👊

Here's a slight variation to the as shown above. Simply add your 3rd finger (ring) to the 4th string 3rd fret. This will give you a bit more bottom end to the chord. 

Place your thumb in the middle of your 1st and 3rd fingers so your hands can stretch and you have strength to leverage. 

Not sure on how to read a chord diagram or want to learn more chords?  Click here

How To Strum The Fm chord

To strum the Fm guitar chord without strumming strings 4, 5, & 6, you're going to need to get really good at missing these strings when you strum of course comes with a lot of practice!

I also lightly rest my wrist of my strumming hand just before the first strum to feel where I am. It's very quick and most people don't realize I am doing this. - But I only do this on the 1st strum. Once you get the first strum right it's easier to then strum by feel missing strings 5 & 6. 

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Fm Chord Tips

The 1st tip to learning the Fm chord is to get it memorize and trust your picking hand. If you are constantly trying to remember the chord or having to look back and forth between your picking and fret hand progress will be a slow and painful process. 

The 2nd tip is to to make sure your thumb is behind your first and second fingers. You don't want your thumb on the outside of your index finger as this will cause your hand to not be able to stretch or work properly.

 
The 3rd tip is for bar chords. When playing bar chords and your index finger (1st finger) needs to do execute the bar you want to apply pressure to the side of your finger. If you squeeze directly in your finger will bend and the strings on your knuckles wont ring out!

Fm Chord Without Barring

This next position for the Fm chord will move you one step closer to playing a full F minor chord. To play the Fm in this position 
place your 1st finger on 5th string 8th fret,
place your 3rd finger on 4th string 10th fret,
place your 4th finger on 3rd string 10th fret,
place your 2nd finger on 2nd string 9th fret. 

To avoid strumming string 1 & 6 you can have your index finger slightly higher on the finger tip so that the finger tip touches the 6th string. 
For the 1st string, if you have good technique and are not jutting our your wrist your hand may mute the 1st string without you needing to do anything. 

This next position for the Fm guitar chord  is a bit tricky. But that's a good thing as most other guitarists don't know this one and it will help to give you more unique sound. To play the Fm chord in this position 
place your 1st finger on 4th string 3rd fret,
place your 3rd finger on 3rd string 5th fret,
place your 4th finger on 2nd string 6th fret,
place your 2nd finger on 1st string 4th fret. 

To avoid strumming strings 5 & 6 you'll need to really practice so you can avoid these strings without having to look at your picking hand!

How To Play Fm Guitar Chord With A Bar

Now we are going to move on to bar chords and you are going to learn how to play the Fm bar chord properly. I am going to guide you through different variations of the Fm bar chord with easy variation getting progressively harder. 

Just so we are clear, when you use one finger to press multiple strings this is called a bar chord or sometimes spelled barre chord. 

This Fm chord is just like the variation you learned but now we are going to bar using your 1st finger. Fret it just the same as above but have your index finger lining FLAT and pressing to the side so the 5th and 1st string can ring out. 
 

** Note, even though I break down the fingerings 1 by 1, to play chords properly and make smooth transitions this all must be done with ONE motion. 

Fm Bar Chord Guitar (continued)

In this last variation of the Fm bar chord we are going to cover here is sometimes called the "Em" shape in reference to how the Em chord looks in open position. 

If this is confusing don't worry about it. I don't want you to become a "shape" player but it's a common reference so I thought I'd mention it here. 
To fret this place your 1st finger on the 6th string 1st fret your 3rd finger on 5th string 4th fret, your 4th finger on 4th string 4th fret.  Then lay (bar) your 1st finger down across all the strings. 

To help leverage I recommend using your 2nd finger to help your 1st finger push down.

Yes, you were already prepared for this one! As you can see from the first Fm you just learned above, all we did was add a few more fingers!

Now you know how to play the Fm chord in guitar! 👊
Scratch that, you are a Fm chord pro as you know a lot of ways to play the Fm guitar chord!

Easy Songs That Use The Fm Guitar Chord

Greenday - Holiday
Aerosmith - Dream On
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit

Note, because the keys that use an Fm (see below) use an Eb and Ab its common to tune down a 1/2 step and play an F#m so you can use the open E and and A string

Fm Guitar Chord Progression

Here's a few chord progressions that sound great that use the Fm chord. Feel free to change up the orders and experiment with the sounds!

Ab - Db - Fm - Eb
Db - Fm - Gb - Eb

Fm - Bbm - Ab - Db
Fm - Db - Ab - Eb

If you need help learning these other chords, click here

What Keys Have A Fm Chord? 

Major keys that use a Fm chord:
Key of Ab Major
Key of Eb Major
Key of Db Major

Minor keys that use a Fm chord:
Key of F Minor
Key of Cm Minor
Key of Bb Minor

What Are The Notes Of A Fm Chord?

A Fm chord or F minor chord consists of 3 notes that are derived from the Fm scale.
F   G   Ab   Bb   C   Db   Eb 

When you number the notes of a scale they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make a F minor chord we need the 1st, 3rd and 5th "degrees."

1     2      b3        4         5      b6      b7 
F     G     Ab       Bb      C      Db     Eb 

All minor chords use the 1, b3, and 5 notes of a their corresponding scale. 

When these 3 notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time) you are playing a Fm chord.

Now you may be wondering, why did you add a "b" (flat) to the 3, 6, and 7? This is beyond the scope of this lesson but for simplicity sake, all minor scales have the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes lowered down a half step.  We'll have other lessons where we'll go in-depth on this. For now lets just stick to learn the F minor chord. 

Now, notice from the chord diagrams, ONLY the notes F, Ab, and C  are being used?  If you have another note such as an G note or a Bb note it is no longer a F minor chord!

That being said, you can have multiple F, Ab, or C notes as show in the chord diagrams. Try playing the chords but only strum a few of the notes. Notice the chord will sound "thin" if there are only one of each note. By adding in more of the same notes you make the chord have more depth. You may even think of it as a darker or lighter shade of the same color.

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