Em Chord Guitar: How To Play An E Minor Guitar Chord With Diagrams & Photos

Em chord guitar diagrams, chord charts and photos. Everything you need to know to play an E minor chord on your guitar.

An Em guitar chord can be played either as an open chord or as a barre chord – examples of both are provided on this page.

The symbol for a E minor chord is Em, so if you see that symbol written on sheet music, any of the Em chords on this page can be used.

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Open Em Guitar Chord Diagram

The open Em chord, below, is one of the easiest chords to play on guitar! Once you’ve mastered it, try either of the other Em guitar chords on this page.

Em guitar chord
Em Open Guitar Chord

You can see this chord being played in the photo below:

Em Chord Guitar

An E minor chord contains three notes: E, G and B. In all of the E m guitar chords on this page, one or more of these notes is repeated at a different octave in order to give the chord a “bigger” sound (see the E Minor Guitar Chord Notes section, further down the page).

Em Guitar Barre Chord 7th Fret

The diagram below shows the second most common way of playing E minor on guitar. It uses the open Am chord shape, but played as a bar chord with the index finger positioned at the 7th fret.

E minor chord guitar

The X above the low E string on the chord diagram tells you that this string should not be played, so try to avoid this string when you strum the chord. (It won’t sound terrible if you do accidentally play the open string, but it does tend to make the chord sound a little “bottom heavy”.)

You can see this chord being played in the photo below:

E minor guitar chord barre diagram

When you are used to playing this chord, you can try muting the low E string with the tip of the index finger (the finger that is making the bar) – thereby preventing it from ringing.

Em Guitar (Barre) Chord 2nd Fret

The diagram below shows a way of playing E minor on guitar at the second fret. It’s not often used, but can be useful in some circumstances.

E m guitar chord

Try not to play the bottom two strings when you strum this chord.

E minor movable guitar chord

In this chord, you’re essentially playing the standard open D minor chord two frets higher, making it an E minor chord. You can play the chord with a barre, by extending the index finger all the way over the top four strings. This would help you change quickly to other barre chords at the second fret, such as D or B minor.

Which Em Guitar Chord Shape Should I Use?

As is the case with most chords, there is more than one way of playing an Em chord on guitar.

When choosing an E minor chord shape to play, you’ll usually want to select the chord that you can fret the fastest and most comfortably. This will usually be a chord in the same region of the fretboard that you’re already playing in.

For example, if you need to change from Am to Em, and you’re playing the A minor chord at the 5th fret, then in most situations the Em bar chord at the 7th fret would be the logical choice, because it’s only 2 frets away and you’re already playing a barre chord.

If you happened to be playing an open Am chord before the Em chord, then the open Em chord at the top of this page would, in most cases, be the best Em to play.

E Minor Chord Notes

An E minor chord contains three notes: E, G and B.

Notes in E minor triad
The notes in an E minor triad

Although you could play a three-note Em chord with just the E, G and B notes, in most circumstances it probably wouldn’t sound great. Most guitar chords, including the Em guitar chords on this page, double up at least one of the notes in a different octave. This gives the chord a much “fuller” sound.

For example, the open E minor chord at the top of this page contains three E notes: the open bottom E string, the E an octave higher (at the second fret of the fourth (D) string), and the open top E string. As you can see in the diagram below, the chord also contains 2 B notes, and a single G note.

Notes in E minor guitar chord

With all six strings being used, and four of them being open strings, the open Em guitar chord had a very strong and clear sound.

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