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How to play the Cm11 chord on guitar

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The Cm11 chord

The Cm11 chord, pronounced "C minor eleventh," is a complex and intriguing chord that adds depth and sophistication to any musical arrangement. Notable for its rich, jazzy sound, the Cm11 is often used in genres such as jazz, R&B, and neo-soul. This chord can be found in songs like "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder and "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Cm11 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Cm11 chord

The most common way to play a Cm11 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 3rd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Cm11 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A), 4th (D), 3rd (G), 2nd (B), and 1st (high E) strings, forming a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to strum down across all six strings in one smooth motion.

How to play an easy Cm11 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Cm11 chord, try playing a regular Cm barre chord at the 3rd fret, with your index finger covering strings 1-5, and your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string. This gives you a Cm7 chord, which captures the essence of the Cm11.

How to play a Cm11 bar chord

Playing a Cm11 barre chord allows you to easily transition between chords and adds a fuller sound to your playing.

Here's how to play a Cm11 bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 3rd fret, covering all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down.

Common Cm11 chord progressions

The Cm11 chord, a minor 11th chord, adds a touch of complexity and depth to progressions, creating a jazz-influenced, contemplative, or bittersweet atmosphere. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the Cm11 chord:

  • i11 - iv7 - V7 - i (Cm11 - Fm7 - G7 - Cm)
  • i11 - V7sus4 - i7 (Cm11 - G7sus4 - Cm7)
  • i11 - VII7 - VI7 - V7 (Cm11 - Bb7 - Ab7 - G7)
  • i11 - iv7 - VII7 - III7 (Cm11 - Fm7 - Bb7 - Eb7)
  • i11 - bIII7 - bVI7 - bII7 (Cm11 - Eb7 - Ab7 - Db7)

Drills to master the Cm11 chord

To master the Cm11 chord, try playing the individual notes (C, Eb, G, Bb, D, F) in sequence, both ascending and descending. Focus on clean, clear notes and consistent timing. Gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable.

Another helpful drill is to arpeggiate the chord, playing each note separately but in a continuous, flowing manner. Experiment with different rhythmic patterns and fingerpicking styles to add variety and challenge yourself. With regular practice, you'll soon find yourself effortlessly transitioning to the Cm11 chord within your favorite songs.

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Songs that feature the Cm11 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Cm11 chord.

  1. All of Me by John Legend (Cm11, Fm7, Ab, Eb/G)
  2. The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra (Cm11, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)
  3. Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra (Cm11, Dm7, G7, C)
  4. Georgia on My Mind by Ray Charles (Cm11, F7, Bb7, Eb)
  5. Misty by Erroll Garner (Cm11, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)
  6. My Funny Valentine by Richard Rodgers (Cm11, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)
  7. The Nearness of You by Hoagy Carmichael (Cm11, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)
  8. Smile by Charlie Chaplin (Cm11, Eb, Fm7, Bb7)
  9. Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael (Cm11, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)
  10. Tenderly by Walter Gross (Cm11, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)

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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