How to Play an F Minor Guitar Chord
Packed with passion, learn to play the F minor chord.
By Dillon Wallace
The F minor (Fm) chord pits a sense of gloom and resentment against the urge to fight those negative feelings. This quarreling tonality makes it one of the most passionate-sounding chords to play.
The Fm chord may pack enough emotional punch to make you feel like tearing your hair out, but it packs enough complexity to make you fight the feeling of mounting discontent. Let’s take a look at some different ways you can play an Fm chord and some songs that include this chord.
Playing the Fm Chord
While the Fm doesn’t appear in songs as often as the more punchy and popular major chords, even among its minor counterparts, it’s still a good chord for an guitar enthusiast to have in their arsenal.
To play the Fm chord, start by barring your index finger across the first fret, beginning on the G string. While barre chords can be tricky for beginners, this version of the Fm chord is easy for beginners - or people with smaller fingers - to master this barring technique and start playing.
For this version of the Fm chord, it’s important to remember not to strum the A and low E strings.
- - Index finger: 1st fret of the G (3rd) string
- - Index finger: 1st fret of the B (2nd) string
- - Index finger: 1st fret of the E (1st) string
- - Ring finger: 3rd fret of the D (4th) string
Strum four strings down from the D string.
What Notes Make up the Fm Chord?
The F minor chord is composed of a triad of notes that blend together to give it its plaintive, wailing sound. These notes include:
F, Ab and C
When played together, these three notes ultimately resonate as a guitar chord that also strikes an emotional chord.
Songs That Use the Fm Chord
From rock to pop - and even in songs from movies - the F minor chord makes an appearance in quite a few songs, helping to up the emotional ante. Listen for it in some of the following genres:
Toni Braxton’s "Breathe Again" is a pop/R&B classic that shows the vulnerable side of the Fm chord. Don’t let its catchy melody fool you. Underneath that pop shell, there’s a deeper message packed in each lyric and note.
Diana Ross and the Supremes are no strangers to heartache. And what’s a more fitting emotion to heartache than the kind of gloominess that only an Fm chord can deliver? "Stop! In the Name of Love" is something you can not only dance to, but pour your heart out to, as well.
The Moana soundtrack is full of tracks gleaming with Disney music magic - and none are more memorable than Auli’l Cravalho’s "How Far I’ll Go." The powerful vocal and meaning behind the song make it the perfect example of a well-placed Fm chord, helping to tell the story of a girl battling resentment of her current situation with the hope for something more.
Right from the start of Oasis’ "Don’t Look Back in Anger," the opening piano notes set the tone for a modern masterpiece by one of Britain’s biggest bands of the ‘90s. The push-and-pull of the F minor chord features prominently in creating an aura of regret, while still trying to see something positive in the past.
Not all songs that incorporate the Fm chord have to sound like an emotional anthem. The ‘80s hit "Our House" by Madness is a perfect example of using the Fm chord to punctuate an upbeat melody and create a bouncy feel.
One listen to the Pixies and there’s no denying they love dabbling in the minor chord catalog. And no song in their impressive discography depicts the somber mood of the Fm chord better than their biggest hit Where Is My Mind.
These are just a few genres and songs where the F minor chord makes an appearance. Try your hand at mastering it in these songs or weaving it into some of your own jam sessions.