In this guitar lesson, we will be taking an in depth look at the Fm guitar chord. We will look at some typical ways of playing the chord on guitar and some ways that are perhaps slightly less conventional. By the end of this lesson, you will be a master of the F minor chord! If you find this lesson interesting and useful, consider looking at some of the other similar lessons on other chords such as the F major chord lesson, the G major chord lesson, and the C minor chord lesson. It’s all about the Fm today though so let’s get to it.
Why the Fm guitar chord?
When fresh faced budding guitar players first pick up the guitar, one of the first things they learn is some basic chords. The chords that new guitarists learn is normally very similar. E major, A major, D major, G major, C major, F major, E minor, A minor and D minor. Something like that. There are only three major chords there which have their minor cousins so many guitarists at the early stages often end up searching for the Fm guitar chord and how to play it. That’s where this lesson comes in. If you want to learn F minor, this is the only lesson you’ll ever need.
Fm guitar chord variations set 1
As mentioned in the title of the lesson, I have 15 variations of the Fm guitar chord for you here so to keep it nice and neat, I’ve spilt the 15 variations up into 5 groups of 3. The groups are arranged completely at random (apart from set 1). I shall give you a brief over of each chord below each image. Here is your first set.
I mentioned above that set 1 was the only set that wasn’t random versions grouped together. Why? Because the three shapes in this set are (by a million miles) the most commonly used and played of the 15 so it’s imperative that you learn these 3 barre chord shapes. Perhaps you already know these shapes and you’re here for the more unusual ones but if you don’t know these shapes, learn them now.
To the shapes themselves. As you can see, all 3 of them are barre chords. You have a 6 string barre chord, a 5 string barre chord, and a 4 string barre chord. I know there will be some of you out there which still find barre chords difficult but you simply must push through that barrier. If you want some help on barre chords, go here.
These three shapes cover a nice range of the fretboard and each shape gives you a slightly different sound. These are your minor barre chord bread and butter so master them immediately. Naturally, the smallest chord is the easiest because the barre is the smallest but do learn all 3.
That 6 string shape up at the first fret is a hard one to pull off, I won’t lie. Don’t be discouraged but do stick at it. The sets below will give you plenty more options if that one is proving just slightly too demanding.
Fm guitar chord variations set 2
Moving onto set 2 of our Fm guitar chord variations and here, we have 3 nice and easy variations that are much less challenging than the first set. Here are the chords.
Let’s look at these chord shapes in order starting naturally with the first one. The first shape is a smaller version of the 6 string barre chord that we saw in set 1. This shape that I like to call the Stairway chord shape has a barre that’s half the size of its parent but still has a lovely sound. This one for me is the closest thing to the F major standard chord and this one could easily be used as your main Fm guitar chord.
The next one is a nice little micro kind of chord that has no barre at all and uses just three strings. This one sounds a lot thinner than the chord shapes we’ve seen so far but it’s great for arpeggio based playing in particular in my opinion. This one is also much higher up on the fretboard too which changes the F minor sound completely.
The final Fm chord in this set is a barre but it’s the easiest barre you’ll ever play. 3 strings, 1 finger, easy. This chord shape has many applications and it can be a very fun one to use too. Experiment with it and see what you can do.
Fm guitar chord variations set 3
Next up is set 3. These shapes are slightly less conventional than the ones we’ve seen so far but knowledge is power. Let’s take a look.
The final shape in this set is one that I’m sure will be loved by many. This is because you will have already learned it. It’s the standard A minor open chord shape only you’re playing it higher up on the fretboard, making it an F minor instead of an A minor. You can also think of it as the same as the 5 string barre chord from set 1 only without the barre. This one can be very effective but be sure to only strum the 3 strings shown in the chart. Catching the other strings will completely change the chord.
Just two sets of the Fm guitar chord shapes to go now as we take a look at set 4 which contains another very familiar shape.
We will naturally look at these in chronological order once more. The first shape in this set is the “full” version of chord shapes 1 and 2 from the previous set but at the same time, it’s a much easier version of the full 6 string Fm barre chord. We’ve cut out that top F minor bass note which not only changes the sound and makeup of the chord but it also makes it a breeze to perform. This is because the size of the barre has halved. A very useful shape for those wanting to make the barre chords easier or for those who want to cut out some of that bass.
The second shape in this set is another 3 string variation and this time, we have a derivative of the 4 string barre chord from set 1. The barre has completely vanished and the result is something that may seem familiar. Yes, this is the same as a standard open D minor chord only we’re playing it slightly higher on the fretboard, making it an F minor. When you’re playing the open D minor, you would normally include the open D string as a bass note. Don’t do that when playing the F minor though.
The last chord variation in this set may look familiar to some, but not others. This one looks like an open A major 7 chord but again, we’re playing it in a different area of the fretboard and removing the bass note. Yet another simple 3 string chord shape without a barre.
Last but not least, we have set 5 which takes our total amount of Fm guitar chord shapes up to 15. Here are the final 3 shapes.
The first shape is a very stripped back version of the 6 string barre chord. It’s so stripped back that there is no barre at all. It’s a 3 string shape that all guitarists will find nice and easy and it’s at the lower end pitch wise too which will give you another option in terms of sound.
The second shape is similar to one from the previous set only we’ve added an extra note on the high e string which will flesh out that tone a little. There’s still no barre making it accessible. I’m a big fan of this one. Sounds great.
Very lastly we have variation 15 which I must say is one of my favourites. Earlier in the lesson we saw a simple 3 string shape based on the bottom 3 strings. This is the same as that shape with an extra note added in the bass which once again, beefs up the sound somewhat. Once more, there’s no tricky barre so this is a shape that all guitarists can try their hand at.
Notes of the Fm guitar chord
We’ve now covered all 15 versions and we haven’t touched on music theory even the slightest bit. This is intentional on my part. I simply find questions that guitarists search for and answer them as simply as possible. With that said, I don’t think a tiny bit of theory will hurt because it will give you a way of verifying these shapes for yourself.
What I would like you to do is learn the notes of the F minor guitar chord. Here they are.
F – Ab – C
As an exercise, go through each one of the shapes that we’ve learned above and check all of the notes. You’ll find that every single note in every single shape is either an F, an A flat or, a C. This will help many of you with learning the notes on the fretboard.
Oh, and one more thing. Something very interesting happens when you move these shapes around on the fretboard. See if you can figure it out.
That concludes this guitar lesson on the Fm guitar chord. This is not an exclusive list of shapes but 15 should be enough for the vast majority of guitar players out there. Be sure to completely master those first 3 shapes. They’re going to be important as your guitar journey progresses and as for the others, just experiment with them and see which shapes work for you and which don’t. There will be some that you never use again but there may be some that you end up using quite a lot so give them all a try. Want more advise on the Fm chord? Try this lesson published by Fender.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.