How to play

How to play the Eb minor chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of Hendrix's "Castles Made of Sand" and master the Eb minor chord.

The Ebm chord

The Ebm chord, pronounced "E flat minor," is a rich and somber chord that adds depth to many musical compositions. Notable for its melancholic sound, the Ebm chord is frequently used in genres such as blues, rock, and classical music. Songs like "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd prominently feature this emotive and powerful chord.

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

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Finger placement for Ebm chord

The most common way to play an Eb minor chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 6th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play an Eb minor chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 6th fret, forming a barre.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion to play all six strings simultaneously, ensuring that each string rings out clearly.

How to play an easy Ebm chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Eb minor chord, try playing an Eb minor power chord instead. Place your index finger on the 6th fret of the 6th (low E) string and your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string. Strum only these two strings.

How to play a Ebm bar chord

The Eb minor barre chord is a great alternative to the standard Eb minor open chord, as it allows you to easily transition to other chords and play in different positions on the fretboard.

Here's how to play an Eb minor barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 6th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 6th (low E) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common Ebm chord progressions

The Eb minor chord is often used in progressions that evoke feelings of sadness, melancholy, and introspection. Here are some common Eb minor chord progressions:

  • i - iv - VII - III (Ebm - Abm - Db - Gb) - Used in "Hello" by Adele and "Creep" by Radiohead
  • i - VI - III - VII (Ebm - Cb - Gb - Db) - Used in "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
  • i - iv - v - i (Ebm - Abm - Bbm - Ebm)
  • i - VII - VI - VII (Ebm - Db - Cb - Db)
  • i - iv - i - V (Ebm - Abm - Ebm - Bb)

Drills to master the Ebm chord

To master the Eb minor guitar chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution and consistent tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between the notes, gradually increasing your speed.

Next, try playing the chord in various rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and triplets. Experiment with different strumming techniques, like down strums, up strums, and alternating between the two. This will help you develop muscle memory and improve your timing when playing the Eb minor chord in different musical contexts.

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Songs that feature the Ebm chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Eb minor chord:

  1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, C, D, F, G, Ebm)
  2. Space Oddity by David Bowie (C, Em, Eb, Ebm, Fm)
  3. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm, Ebm)
  4. The Unforgiven by Metallica (Em, G, C, Ebm, B)
  5. Pyramid Song by Radiohead (Ebm, Gb, B)
  6. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones (Ebm, Gb, B, Db)
  7. People Are Strange by The Doors (Em, Bm, G, D, Ebm, B)
  8. Teardrop by Massive Attack (A, Bm, G, D, Em, Ebm)
  9. Fade to Black by Metallica (Bm, A, G, D, B, Em, Ebm)
  10. Watching the Wheels by John Lennon (D, G, Bm, Em, Ebm)

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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