G#m Guitar Chord Playing Hand Position

How to Play the G#m guitar chord? For Beginners and Advanced

G#m may seem like a difficult chord at first, especially for beginners. It might be one of those chords you dread in a song and might make you want to change the key altogether. But there is more than one to play G#m. There are a few, and some are easier than others. If you are a beginner worried about your ability to play a chord both in a sharp key and minor, rest assured this chord looks harder than it is and isn’t much harder to learn than other chords.

Fundamentals of G#m

A G#m triad is made up of the notes G#, B, and D#. All the variations of the natural G#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 G#m

Like many chords based on sharps, the standard version of a G#m chord is a barre chord. If barre chords sound daunting, it may help to know that you only need to know a few ‘shapes,’ or finger arrangements, to play most bar chords. So once you know one, you practically know them all.

Minor barre chords all have a similar shape. To make a G#m barre chord, you need to ‘barre,’ or stretch, your first finger across all the strings on the fourth fret. Then stretch your third finger to the sixth fret on the A string, and your fourth finger to the sixth fret on the D string.


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.

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As you can see, the bottom and top notes of the chord are F#, and the only notes within the chord are G#, B, or D#. This is what makes it a G#m chord.

Here is a picture of the hand shape.


Here is another version of a barre chord much further up the neck of the guitar. This version may be better if you are playing other versions of chords closer to this part of the neck, or if you want a


chord with higher-pitched voicing. To make this chord, barre all the strings on the eleventh fret with your first finger. Then put your third and fourth fingers on the D and G strings respectively, on the thirteenth fret, and put your second finger on the B string on the twelfth fret.


If you know a basic Am chord, this chord is basically the same shape but with your finger barring the top fret instead of the end of the fretboard being the top of the chord. While this technically is a standard barre chord, G#m is the probably highest chord you would play with this chord shape. This is because the  Image

next key up is Am, which you could easily play at the top of the fretboard as a simple Am chord. While this may seem impractically high for most situations, it is important to know this position for G#m since it follows a standard barre chord pattern.

Here is a photo of the hand shape. Image

Variations of the Barre Chord

If the barre chord still seems daunting, or you just want to quickly learn an easy version of the chord to play a certain song, you can simplify this barre chord (or any barre chord) by leaving off the last two or three strings/notes. This makes it easier for your left hand because you have to press fewer strings down, but it means you have to be more precise in strumming with your right hand because playing open string notes could change the quality of the chord. For example, playing the open A string with the rest of the chord would essentially be adding a flat second scale degree to the chord, which in laymen’s terms means it will sound weird (unless that’s what you’re going for).

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The first variation requires you to only barre half the strings on the fourth fret and doesn’t require your fourth finger. Image Image

This is still a G#m chord but without the lowest G# and D#. These notes are played on lower, thicker strings, so without them, the chord lacks the body of the full barre chord, which may make it more suitable for quieter sections or picking.

Here is a picture of the hand shape. Image


If you want an even easier version of the chord you can drop the third finger on the D string and just play with the first finger on three strings.


This version drops the bottom G#m, making the lowest note B and reducing the chord to three notes. This makes the chord a G#m triad in the first inversion.

Here is a photo of the hand shape.


Other Variations

There is another version of the chord with a different voicing that is played starting at the sixth fret. It has a higher voicing and omits the lowest two strings, so it is ideal for picking. It involves putting each finger on a different string on a different fret, so it may take some practice to get the shape in the beginning.  Image Image

For this version of G#m, put your first finger on the D string on the 6th fret, third finger on the G string on the eighth fret, fourth finger on the B string on the ninth fret, and second finger on the E string on the seventh fret.

This version of the chord doubles the G#, emphasizing the root of the chord.

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Here is a photo of the hand shape. Image

Common Chord Progressions

Most songs only use a few chords in a certain pattern called a chord progression. The key of the song and certain music theory principles will dictate which chords will sound best together. Learning what these patterns are will give you an idea of what other chords will be present when G#m is in a song, and which chords you can practice with G#m as progressions. A common progression is G#m, E, B, F#. Another common progression is G#m, C#m, D#m. Both of these may be in different orders or have some variation, but generally follow the pattern. Practicing G#m in context with these other chords will prepare you to include G#m in your playing.

Final Thoughts

As with any guitar chord, there are several different ways to play the G#m chord. While they are the same chord, they all have a slightly different voicing and sound. At first, you may be limited by your skill level and only use the easiest version. But as you practice and become comfortable with more variations of the chord, you may come to appreciate the differences in each one and will be able to choose a chord based on your preference for a certain sound.

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