#m Guitar Chord Playing

How to Play the F#m Guitar Chord? For Beginners and Advanced

F-sharp minor may sound like a more complicated chord to play on guitar, especially for beginners. But like all chords, there is more than one way to play the chord. While not all of them involve playing all the strings, some are easier than others if you are trying to quickly figure out a chord for a song. But if you really want to learn a solid version of the chord or a version that fits the song best, it would be worth your time to learn a more difficult version of the chord.

Fundamentals of F#m

An F#m triad is made up of the notes F#, A, and C#. All the variations of the natural F#m chord will include these notes. Some may include more than one or even two of each note and have different inversions of the chord but the overall quality will remain the same if the only pitches involved are these three notes.

Standard F#m

The standard version of a natural F#m chord is a barre chord. Barre chords may sound scary, but they will get easier if you practice and work to harden the calluses on your fingers. It is also a very efficient chord to learn since it will allow you to play any chord in a specific barre position.

Minor barre chords all have a similar shape. To make an F#m barre chord, ‘barre’ or stretch your first finger fully across the second fret of the guitar. Then stretch your third and fourth fingers over the next fret to the A and D strings respectively.

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If you want to know exactly which notes you are strumming with this finger position, the full chord is shown below with its respective guitar tab.


As you can see, the bottom and top notes of the chord are F-sharp, and the only notes within the chord are F#, A, or C#. This is what makes it an F#m chord.

Here is a picture of the hand shape. Image

Here is another barre chord shape further up on the neck of the guitar. This version may be better if you are playing other versions of chords that are closer to this area of the neck. It is played on the ninth fret of the guitar, but the shape is also a standard bar chord shape that can be used to make a variety of minor chords up and down the other frets. The first finger bars the ninth fret, the 2 is on the B string one fret up (tenth fret) and the 3 and 4 are on the D and G strings on the next fret after that (eleventh fret).

If you are familiar with a Bm chord, you may notice it is the exact same shape, just on a different fret.


Because the notes are being played higher on the neck, this Image chord uses higher pitches. This gives it a higher sound than the other variations. If you are just learning this version you may need to practice finding the ninth fret since it is further up on the guitar.

Here is a picture of the hand shape. Image

Variations of the Barre Chord

If you are still working on your barre chords, you can play an easier version of this chord by leaving off the last two or three strings/notes. This makes it easier to play with your left hand since you have to press fewer strings down, but it’s more difficult to strum the correct strings accurately because if you mistakenly play the open strings it could change the quality of the chord. For this reason, these variations are ideal for picking.

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This version only requires you to barre half of the strings on the second fret and doesn’t require your fourth finger. Image


This is still an F#m chord, but without the lowest F# and C#. Because these notes are played on lower, thicker strings, it lacks the body of the full barre chord, another reason it may be more suitable for quieter sections or picking.

Here is a picture of the hand shape.


Here is another even easier version of the chord with the third finger dropped.

Image Image

This version drops the bottom F#m, making the lowest note an A. This version is still an F#m chord because it has an A, C#, and F#, but it is in the first inversion.

Here is a photo of the hand shape.


Harder Variations

Here is one more variation that is played closer to the tuning pegs. It requires quite a bit of stretching but has a higher voicing. Since it can be difficult to form quickly and cleanly and requires omitting strings, it is less ideal for strumming and more often used for picking. It is formed by barring the last four strings on the second fret with the first finger and then stretching your third finger over to the D string and stretching your fourth finger to the fifth fret on the E string. Image Image

This version of the chord doubles the third, which is A (a third above F#). This emphasizes the minor quality of the chord, so if you prefer that sound, you may want to use this version.

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Here is a photo of the hand shape.


Common Chord Progressions

According to music theory, certain chords are always played together in patterns called chord progressions. F#m contains the notes F#, A, and C#, so generally, songs in keys with those notes will use F#m. A popular example is A, F#m, D, E. Another common progression is F#m, Bm, C#m. Both of these may vary in order from song to song, but these chords are often found together. Practice Switching between F#m and these chords to prepare yourself to include this chord in your playing.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, although all of these variations are F#m and will sound appropriate anywhere a song indicates to play this chord, they all have slightly different inversions and voicings. Initially, you may base your choice of which variation to play based on your skill level and which variation is easiest to play. But as you practice and can more easily play different versions, you can start appreciating the sound of each one. Then you can choose different ways of playing the chord not just based on your skill level but on which version sounds best to you.

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