How to play

How to play the Adim chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of Adim, featured in hits like "Creep" and "Stairway to Heaven."

The Adim chord

The Adim chord, pronounced "A diminished," is a unique and haunting chord that adds a sense of tension and mystery to music. It's formed by playing the notes A, C, and E♭ together. This chord is often used in jazz, classical, and film scores to create a feeling of unease or suspense. Notably, the Beatles used the Adim chord in their song "Michelle."

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Adim chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Adim chord

The most common way to play the Adim chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 1st fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Adim chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 1st fret.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to properly barre all the strings.

How to play an easy Adim chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Adim chord, try placing your first finger on the first fret of the B string, your second finger on the second fret of the G string, and strumming only these two strings along with the open high E string. This creates a simplified Adim chord voicing.

How to play a Adim bar chord

There is no popular version of an Adim barre chord on guitar that I am extremely confident about. The Adim chord is typically played as an open chord rather than a barre chord shape.

Common Adim chord progressions

The A minor chord is often used in progressions that evoke emotions ranging from sadness and melancholy to introspection and contemplation. Here are some common A minor chord progressions:

  • i-iv-i-v (Am-Dm-Am-Em) - Used in "Creep" by Radiohead and "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton
  • i-iv-v-i (Am-Dm-Em-Am) - Used in "Mad World" by Gary Jules and "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.
  • i-VI-III-VII (Am-F-C-G) - Used in "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and "Wonderwall" by Oasis
  • i-iv-VII-III (Am-Dm-G-C) - Used in "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica and "Zombie" by The Cranberries
  • i-III-VII-i (Am-C-G-Am) - Used in "Hotel California" by The Eagles and "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd

Drills to master the Adim chord

To master the Adim guitar chord, try practicing the chord progression Adim to Dm. This will help your fingers become accustomed to transitioning smoothly between the two chords. Focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm and tempo throughout the exercise.

Another effective drill is to practice the Adim chord in the context of a simple melody. Create a short tune using the notes A, C, and Eb, and incorporate the Adim chord into the progression. This will help you develop muscle memory and improve your ability to switch between chords seamlessly while playing a song.

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Songs that feature the Adim chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Adim chord.

  1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G, C, D, Fmaj7, Am7, Dsus4, Adim)
  2. Imagine by John Lennon (C, Cmaj7, F, G, G7, C7, Adim)
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (Bb, Gm, Cm, F, D, A, Eb, Bbm, Dm, Adim)
  4. Rocket Man by Elton John (Gm, F, Eb, Bb, Cm, D7, Adim)
  5. Hotel California by Eagles (Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em, F#7, Adim)
  6. All of Me by John Legend (Ab, Fm7, Eb, Dbmaj7, Bbm7, Adim, Dm7b5)
  7. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (A, E, F#m, D, Bm, C#7, F#7, Adim)
  8. Tiny Dancer by Elton John (C, Em, Am, G, F, Dm, Adim)
  9. Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers (C, Am, F, G, Em, Adim, Dm7, G7)
  10. My Way by Frank Sinatra (D, G, Gm, D7, C, Am, B7, Em, A7, Adim)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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