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How to play the Ebm6 chord on guitar

Learn to play the soulful Ebm6 chord, famously used in "Stairway to Heaven."

The Ebm6 chord

The Ebm6 chord, pronounced "E flat minor sixth," is a rich and expressive chord that adds depth to various musical genres. Known for its melancholic and introspective sound, the Ebm6 is often used in jazz, neo-soul, and R&B. Guitarists can create this chord by combining the minor triad with an added sixth, resulting in a complex harmony that evokes emotions and sets a contemplative mood.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Ebm6 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Ebm6 chord

The Ebm6 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 6th fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play an Ebm6 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 6th fret, barring all strings from the 1st (high E) string to the 6th (low E) string.
  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.

Strum all six strings together to play the Ebm6 chord. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to properly barre all the strings.

How to play an easy Ebm6 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Ebm6 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Ebm6 bar chord

Playing the Ebm6 barre chord version can be a great way to add variety and fullness to your guitar playing, especially when accompanying others or playing in a band setting.

Here's how to play an Ebm6 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 6th fret, forming 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 Ebm6 chord progressions

The Ebm6 chord is often used in progressions that evoke a melancholic, introspective, or bittersweet emotional atmosphere. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the Ebm6 chord:

  • i6 - iv - V7 - i (Ebm6 - Abm - Bb7 - Ebm)
  • i6 - VII - VI - V (Ebm6 - D - C - Bb) Used in "Creep" by Radiohead
  • i6 - iv - VII - III (Ebm6 - Abm - D - G)
  • i6 - v - iv - V (Ebm6 - Bbm - Abm - Bb)
  • i6 - VII - i - V (Ebm6 - D - Ebm - Bb)

Drills to master the Ebm6 chord

To master the Ebm6 guitar chord, start by practicing the chord transition from Em to Ebm6. This will help your fingers adapt to the new shape and build muscle memory. Focus on smoothly switching between the two chords while maintaining a steady rhythm.

Another effective drill is to practice arpeggios using the notes of the Ebm6 chord (Eb, Gb, Bb, C). Play each note individually, ascending and descending the fretboard. This exercise will improve your dexterity and help you memorize the chord tones, making it easier to incorporate Ebm6 into your playing.

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Songs that feature the Ebm6 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Ebm6 chord.

  1. Creep by Radiohead (G, B, C, Cm)
  2. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls (Ab, Bbm, Eb, F)
  3. All of Me by John Legend (Ab, Cm, Eb, Fm)
  4. Zombie by The Cranberries (Em, C, G, D)
  5. Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's (D, F#m, Bm, A, G)
  6. Mad World by Gary Jules (Em, G, D, A, Am)
  7. Skinny Love by Bon Iver (Am, C, Em, G)
  8. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (C, Am, F, G, E7)
  9. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes (Em, G, D, C)
  10. Wonderwall by Oasis (Em, G, D, A7sus4)

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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