The Cm chord is comprised of the notes C, Eb, and G
In terms of intervals, it has a root, a minor 3rd, and a perfect 5th
It can also be named or notated as Cm, C-, Cmin, or C minor.
If you are just starting out on guitar or need a refresher on this chord, stick around.
In this article, I will show you the easiest ways of playing this chord on guitar, and give you some tips and tricks to make it work out as it should.
After leaving this page you will have learned the must-know shapes of this triad, and also a lot about how it works in context with other chords.
Hey, I will even give you a fretboard diagram so you can work out your own voicing!
Let’s get to it.
I know, barre chords suck.
This is probably the first version of this chord you will see in the wild, and this is one that has a nice ring to it.
The secret to playing the basic shape Cm chord is learning how much pressure you need to put on the barre to make the notes ring without your hand getting tired.
Something important to know is that you only need to fret the 5th and 1st strings with your 1 finger properly since the “middle” strings are fretted in front of the bar.
So, no need for extra work where it’s not needed.
Here are some extra tips for getting it sounding right:
- Fret with the tip of your fingers
- Press the strings near the fret wire
- Learn how much pressure is the minimum required
- Have the thumb from your fretting hand at the middle or lower back part of the neck
- Arch your fingers
- If it hurts, take a break!
2 easy ways of playing the Cm chord
If the bar from the basic version is driving you nuts, go for some of these alternatives.
As you could see, these are the same shape, but with fewer notes being fretted.
The chord will work out the same, but its sound might be a bit lacking.
However, this is a great starting point for building muscle, and being able to play songs where this chord is needed.
Open voicings of the Cm chord
If you are looking for alternative ways of playing this chord, or for alternative sounds, these open voicings are some of my favorites:
Moveable voicings of the Cm chord
As their name implies, these moveable voicings can be shifted along the neck getting you different chords of the same quality.
The root note of the chord, for these voicings, as you can see, is defined by the lowest note played.
Also, for the second shape, the one with the barre, if you struggle with it sounding clear, you could try also pressing it down with your second finger, which is otherwise free.
Cm chord fretboard map
You can use this fretboard map to come up with your own chord voicings.
Just remember that you will need at least one of each chord note for it to be outlined properly.
Songs to practice the Cm chord
Queen – We Are the Champions
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know
Scales and modes that have the Cm chord, and their chords
The following scales and modes have this chord inside them.
This means that it will “fit” among their other chords, however, given the context, the feeling that it gives will be shifted.
In some of these scales it will sound like a resting point, and in others more like a tension agent.
C minor scale chords, Cm is i
Bb major scale chords, Cm is ii
Ab major scale chords, Cm is iii
G minor scale chords, Cm is iv
F minor scale chords, Cm is v
Eb major scale chords, Cm is vi
D Phrygian scale chords, Cm is vii
Inversions of the Cm chord
The inversions of a chord are just a different order for the notes that comprise them.
They are notated with a / before the indication of the note that should be used as the bass.
Triad chords have, naturally 2 inversions.
Cm inversions are:
Extensions of the Cm chord
Extensions are extra notes you can add to the chord to spice it up.
To know exactly which notes you can use you will have to check the key and scale you are playing in.
Some of the most common extensions of the Cm chord are:
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.