How to Play the Am Guitar Chord For Beginners

The Am guitar chord is one of the most most common guitar chords of all. I always tell my students that this one is non-negotiable, you must master it if you want to play the guitar! 🙂

In this free lesson you will learn:

  • How to play the Am guitar chord correctly
  • The best Am guitar chord for beginner guitarists to use
  • A simple 3-string version of the Am guitar chord
  • Bonus tricks you can use to make your Am chords sound better

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How to play the Am guitar chord correctly

Like all guitar chords, the A minor chord can be played in several different places on the fretboard. You’ll be pleased to hear there’s a few clear favourites for beginner guitarists – these chords are easy to play and sound great.

Firstly, the correct way to play Am is like this:



(If you don't understand the above image please read our article "How To Read Guitar Chordboxes In 60 Seconds". It will make everything clear!)

Even though this requires 3 fingers to play (and is therefore more difficult than chords like Em), most people don’t have too many problems learning to play the Am guitar chord.

But if you’re a total beginner you will find it difficult to ‘bunch’ your fingers together quick enough to play this A minor chord. In this situation you have two choices:

  1. You can tough it out and repeatedly make the A minor chord shape until you can do it quickly. (This isn’t much fun which is why I tell all my students to go for the option 2!)
  2. You can play an easier version of Am until you’ve developed better accuracy and dexterity in your guitar-playing fingers.

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The Best Am Guitar Chord For Beginners

The best version of Am for beginner guitarists to use is Am7. It looks like this:


Am guitar chord

As you can see this requires only two fingers, so it significantly easier to play. Am7 is a lovely open chord that sounds similar enough to A minor that we can substitute it without worrying about a big drop in sound quality.

Give them both a try and listen to the difference. They both sound cool, right?

If you opt to take the harder option of learning the Am guitar chord then more power to you, that’s great. The easier option is to play Am7 until your finger dexterity and control has improved to the point where you can play Am.

As you’ll read elsewhere on the site, I strongly believe in a ‘stepping-stone’ approach to learning guitar. The most important element of success in learning the guitar is motivation. The easiest way to stay motivated is to enjoy your practice time. The simplest way to enjoy practice time is to play songs. If you can’t shape chords quickly enough to play a song without constant interruption then you’re not making music – your banging your head against a wall and it can quickly become frustrating!

Adopt the stepping stone approach and you will be making music from the start. This increases the chances of you practicing regularly and thus improving and continuing along your guitar journey. Trust me, it works! 🙂

The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord

A Super-Simple 3-String Version of the Am Guitar Chord

For children or people with learning difficulties (or very small hands) this 3-string version of the Am guitar chord is a good option:

Am (3-string version)

am chord guitar

As you can see this is very straightforward to play. It doesn’t sound as good as a standard Am or Am7 of course, but it’s passable and does the job…. Just.  The key to making this chord sound its best is to ensure you only strum strings 1,2 and 3. Strings 4,5 and 6 must not be played.

The Am guitar chord is a great one to get under your belt, it crops up often and sounds great. (Check out this video of ‘Wild Wood’ by Paul Weller – the entire song is built around an Am shape.)

Here are some other cool-sounding Am chords

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