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How to play the E minor over G# chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Hotel California."

The Em/G# chord

The Em/G# chord, pronounced "E minor over G sharp," is a unique voicing that adds a haunting, tense quality to the standard E minor chord. By playing a G# note in the bass, this chord creates an unsettling dissonance that's particularly effective in genres like rock, metal, and blues. Notable examples include Radiohead's "Creep" and Metallica's "Fade to Black."

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

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Finger placement for Em/G# chord

The most common way to play an E minor over G# chord on guitar is to use a barre chord on the 4th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play an E minor over G# chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 4th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) 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 Em/G# chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E minor over G# chord, try playing an E minor chord shape starting on the 4th fret. Place your index finger on the 4th fret of the 2nd (B) string, middle finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string, and ring finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

How to play a Em/G# bar chord

Playing the E minor over G# as a barre chord can be a great way to add variety and richness to your guitar playing, especially when transitioning between other barre chords.

Here's how to play an E minor over G# barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 4th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 6th (low E) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common Em/G# chord progressions

The E minor over G# chord progression creates a haunting and melancholic atmosphere, often used in songs to evoke feelings of sadness, longing, or introspection. Here are some common chord progressions featuring this chord:

  • i - VII - i (Em - D - Em) - Used in "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
  • i - VII - VI - VII (Em - D - C - D)
  • i - VII - iv - VII (Em - D - Am - D)
  • i - VII - III - VII (Em - D - G - D)
  • i - VII - iv - i (Em - D - Am - Em)

Drills to master the Em/G# chord

One effective drill for mastering the E minor over G# guitar chord is to practice strumming the chord while focusing on maintaining a steady rhythm. Start with a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the chord shape and transitions. This drill helps develop muscle memory and improves your timing.

Another valuable exercise is to practice transitioning smoothly between the E minor over G# chord and other commonly used chords in the key of E minor. Work on seamlessly switching between chords while maintaining a consistent strumming pattern, ensuring that each chord rings out clearly.

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Songs that feature the Em/G# chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the E minor over G# chord:

  1. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm)
  2. Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men (Em, C, G, D)
  3. Royals by Lorde (D, C, G)
  4. The A Team by Ed Sheeran (Em, G, D, C)
  5. Skinny Love by Bon Iver (Em, C, G)
  6. Wonderwall by Oasis (Em, G, D, A7sus4)
  7. Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's (D, F#m, Bm, G, A)
  8. Viva La Vida by Coldplay (C, D, G, Em)
  9. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple (Em, G, A, Bm)
  10. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes (Em, C, B, G)

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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