How to Play the C Minor Guitar Chord: 4 Easy Ways

The C minor guitar chord is one of those awkward chord shapes… My students hate it! In its standard form it’s very difficult to play, but there are some good easy alternatives.

In this free lesson you will learn:

  • The standard way to play the C minor guitar chord
  • 4 easier ways to play the Cm guitar chord
  • A super-simple version of the C minor guitar chord for beginners

The standard way to play the C minor guitar chord

So why is the Cm guitar chord so difficult to play? Well, in its standard form it’s usually played as a “barre chord”. It looks 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!)

As you can see, this is far too difficult for guitar beginners to play. We need an easier option. So what are the alternative versions of the C minor guitar chord?

An easier version of the Cm guitar chord

This version of the C minor guitar chord is easier to play than the barred version:


This is a much better option that the standard Cm, but it’s still not EASY to play, so I prefer to recommend the following version of the C minor guitar chord to my students:

Cm guitar chord

This is a great chord shape to learn as it crops up often in the future. It’s not super-easy to play, but it IS a lot simpler than the standard version of the Cm guitar chord. This is my preferred version of Cm for my beginner students to learn.

There’s two other versions of the Cm guitar chord that I’d like you to bear in mind. Especially if you’re a beginner guitarist…


A 2-finger version of the C minor guitar chord

This version of the Cm guitar chord is a handy one to know:

guitar chords for beginners

This Cm guitar chord is much easier to fret, but remember that you must only play strings 2, 3 and 4. Strings 1, 5 and 6 must not be played. (String numbers are explained here.)

how to play c minor

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The easiest-of-all version of the C minor guitar chord

This version of the Cm guitar chord is a little bass-heavy, but it’s very easy to make the chord shape and less fiddly to strum than the above version. Check it out!

C minor guitar chord

As you can see, this is much easier than any of the other versions of the C minor guitar chord we’ve looked at.

Take care not to strum strings 1 & 2 though, or this won’t sound anything like a C minor guitar chord any more! (Strumming strings 1 & 2 would turn this into a different chord.)

Guitars have been around for a long time, but in all that time I don’t think anyone has found an easier way to play the Cm guitar chord than this! 🙂

The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord

My recommendation for your Cm guitar chords

I think you should try all of the above Cm shapes and see which one fits your current ability level AND the song you are trying to play. Some chords are well suited to specific situations and what sounds good in one context will often sound out-of-place in another.

If you’re a total beginner you should try the last two above versions of the Cm guitar chord, as all the other versions will simply be too tough for you to play. But if you have 15-20 hours of guitar practice under your belt already, I prefer for my students to learn the third version of the Cm guitar chord shown above. (Because that shape can be used for multiple other chords in the future.)

Here are some other cool-sounding Cm chords

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