How To Play The CM Chord On Guitar

Oct 2019

4 mins read

The C minor chord, also known as the Cm chord, can be found in several hit songs, from various genres like rock, classical, pop or funk. The Cm chord has an expressive softness that can elicit passion, motivation and is well-suited for ballads of love or uplifting songs that strike a chord with the audience.

However, despite the Cm chord being a standard, it is one of the most difficult notes to play as the fingering and chord pattern is a little tricky and needs patience and practice to perfect. If you are someone struggling to play the Cm guitar chord, here are some easy ways to play it and songs that will help you get it right:

What is a Cm Chord?

The C minor chord is a combination of 3 notes, C, Eb and G, which when played as a chord becomes the Cm chord. There are three minor chords possible on any major scale, and the Cm guitar chord is a tough one to pull off, even for advanced players, due to the finger placement.

Since the finger placement and natural strumming can make playing this chord easier, it is recommended that the guitarists have at least a few hours of practice and know the basics before starting with the Cm chord.

3 Ways To Play The Cm Chord On Guitar

There are several ways of playing the C minor chord, but to start off, here are the basic ways to strum and place the fingers in proper alignment to get the sound right. Once confident, beginners should up the ante by playing the slightly complex tunes and with enough practice, perfect it with elan. 

2-Finger Cm Chord (Easy)

The easiest way to play the Cm chord is by using the two finger style, where the placement is on the 6th string/3rd fret and 5th string/3rd fret. Although it may seem easy, it is tricky as strings 1 and 2 should not be played. 

  1. Place your 1st finger on the 6th string/3rd fret (C)
  2. Place your 2nd finger on the 5th string/3rd fret (Eb)
  3. Play strings 3 and 4 open
  4. Mute strings 1 and 2

3-Finger Cm Chord

A little complex than the 2-finger, this version drops the barre entirely and uses 3 fingers to get the chord right. This alternate version is a bit tricky but can be perfected if practiced with patience. 

  1. Place your 1st finger on the 5th string/3rd fret
  2. Place your 2nd finger on the 1st string/3rd fret
  3. Place your 3rd finger on the 2nd string/4th fret
  4. Mute strings 3, 4, and 6

4-Finger Cm Chord (Standard Form)

The Cm chord in its standard form uses 4 fingers, covering E, B, G, D and A,  but barring the A (5th string) and high E (1st string). The finger place will be as: 

  1. Start by placing the Index Finger on the 3rd fret of 5th string (A)
  2. The Index finger should also cover the 3rd fret of 1st string (E)
  3. The middle finger on the 4th fret’s B string
  4. Finally, complete by placing the ring finger on the 5th fret of 4th string (D)
  5. And pinky finger on 5th fret of 3rd string (G)

Songs That Use The C Minor Chord

You’ll be surprised to know how many famous songs and genres in music use the C minor chord effectively and have gone on to be famous hits. Some of the songs are:

  1. Pop Songs: Pop hits channel the Cm chord in many ways, and Adele’s biggest hit ‘Rolling in the Deep’ blends the chord well with a great chorus and accentuates the range of Cm chord in the song. Other songs that use the Cm chord are Taylor Swift’s ‘Dancing With Our Hands Tied’, and Crowded Houses’ ‘Don’t Dream Its Over’. The Cm chord associates with both heartbreak, longing, and hope at the same time.
  2. Rock Songs: Cm chord when used aggressively can strike a chord and pull a punch. Accompanied by a motivating beat, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor is a classic that uses Cm chord effectively, while others like Bon Jovi’s ‘You Can Give Love A Bad Name’, ‘She Loves You’ by the Beatles perfectly blend passion and energy. Metal and hard rock bands have also used the Cm chord for various tunes, like ‘When Darkness Falls’, ‘Take This Oath’ and others by Killswitch Engage.
  3. Classical: Although the Cm chord has a deep emotional connect and is used in romantic songs, it is also used in sad songs with a slower and sombre tone. Beethoven’s symphony 5 heavily uses the C minor chord and channels the inner emotion effectively.
  4. Funk Songs: Funk is all about beats and uplifting tunes, and funk rock anthems are a great hit among college-goers and youngsters. Tracks from the Red Hot Chili Peppers use the Cm chord in many songs, while tracks like ‘Hey’ and ‘Death of a Martian’ use the Cm chord powered by scintillating guitar work and easy-going bass groove.
  5. Blues Songs: The blues are known for hard-hitting lyrics and giving you a sombre feel, with undertones of reality mixed with hope. Since the C minor chord helps to strike the right balance, it is often used in well-known songs within this genre. Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ is one of the legendary blues-influenced songs that use the Cm guitar chord heavily.

Looking to sharpen your guitar skills to play like a rock star? Learn from the basics and perfect playing the Cm guitar chord, C major chord, guitar strumming-styles and more to take your skills to a whole new level. Join our top-rated online guitar lessons that are best suited for students looking to get started with professional guitar training.

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