Em Guitar Chord – 4 Easy Ways To Play This Essential Chord

The Em guitar chord is one of the most common guitar chords of all. There’s several different ways you can play it and I’m always urging my students to learn them all because they all sound great!

In this free lesson you will learn:

  • How to play a standard Em guitar chord
  • 3 easy ways to play the Em guitar chord (ideal for beginners)
  • A super-simple 1-finger version of the Em guitar chord

40,000+ guitar learners get our world-class guitar tips & tutorials sent straight to their inbox: Click here to join them

The standard way to play the Em guitar chord

You’ll play the E minor guitar chord (usually written as “Em”) thousands of times during your guitar journey. It’s everywhere! In its standard form it looks like this:


Em Guitar Chord

(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 the Em guitar chord is a simple 2-finger shape. Make sure you play all 6 strings so the chord sounds properly balanced. (This is important as we want to hear the full voicing of the chord with both high and low notes.)

It’s important that you use the correct fingers to play Em.

This will ensure you already have your first finger in the correct place when moving from Em to a G chord, which is a transition you will make many times. (The two chords are closely related and often appear together.)

The Em guitar chord is a nice simple one, enjoy it! 🙂

Other cool ways to play the Em guitar chord

I love this chord. A commonly used version of the Em guitar chord is Em7 (pronounced as “E minor seven”). This is a very handy chord to know as it makes the transition to and from a G chord much easier.

It also works well for transitions to Cadd9 which can often be used as a substitute for C.

With this one simple addition to an Em chord you put yourself on easy street to play Em, C and G. (Three of the most-played guitar chords of all!)

Here’s what Em7 looks like:


guitar chords for beginners

Note that this is now a 4-finger chord. How is this ’easier’ than the standard version of Em? In isolation, it’s not. But when the other chords in the song are G or C (which is often the case with Em) then playing an Em7 allows you to anchor fingers 3 and 4 on strings 1 and 2 (learn about string numbers here).

This is HUGE as it allows you to play Em, Cadd9 and G while keeping your hand in almost exactly the same place. This is much easier than playing Em, C and G. Listen carefully to this advice, it will save you many hours of frustration!

Learn the 12 EASIEST beginner chords with our famous FREE guide.

 Stop struggling. Start making music.

  Learn 12 beginner-friendly versions of every chord.

  This is our most popular guide and it will improve your chord ability quickly. Click here to download the guide.


Listen to the Learn Guitar Podcast

Learn from the world's best guitar teachers: Listen to the Learn Guitar Podcast now

A 1-finger version of the Em guitar chord

Check out this easy version of the Em guitar chord, using just 1 finger!

Em (1-finger version)

E minor guitar chord

The Best Easy Versions Of This Chord

The easiest of all ways to play an Em guitar chord

Believe it or not, you can play an Em guitar chord by simply playing strings 1-3. Take care not to play strings 4-6! (String numbers are explained here.) This might be the easiest guitar chord of all time!

Em (no fingers needed!)


Are there any other ways to play the Em guitar chord?

There are lots more ways to play the Em guitar chord, but they’re not suitable for beginners. Let’s learn the easy ones first.

Have fun playing your Em guitar chords, they sound good whether they’re played on the cheapest budget guitars or the most expensive and best in the world. Enjoy! 🙂

Find Out What You Should Learn Next With Our Guitar Map

If you want to understand where you’re up to in your guitar journey you should take a look at our Guitar Map. It will show you what you ‘should’ know by now (and also what you need to learn next to move forward as a guitarist).

Most people find that the Guitar Map shows them how everything fits together and best of all, it will help you identify gaps in your knowledge that are holding you back.

(There is often just one piece of information that holds people back, 1 key insight that they need to know so they can continue moving forward and improving in their guitar journey.)

We made the Guitar Map so people like you can quickly identify what you don’t know, that you need to know next. We hope that makes sense!?

NOTE: The Guitar Map is now included in our free special report: 'The 7 Steps To Guitar Mastery'.

What Type of Guitarist Are You?

Take our 60-second quiz and see your results now: Take The Quiz

Want free guitar tips and video lessons delivered to your inbox?

Join over 30,000 other guitar learners and subscribe to our guitar-tips-by-email service. (It's free.)

We'll send you a series of lessons that will move you to the next level of your guitar journey.

Learn how everything fits together quickly, easily and effectively. We share ninja tips (for instant fun!) but also timeless fundamentals that will deepen your understanding.


If You're Struggling, Try Something NEW.

Are you tired of trying to learn guitar from YouTube with no structure and poor-quality videos?

As I often tell my students: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”. (That sounds trite, but it’s true.)

To move to the next stage of your guitar journey you need to try something new.

Here’s 2 new things you can try NOW:

1) Join our email list and get our 7 best guitar lessons sent straight to your inbox today. (We will never send you spam & you can unsubscribe in 1-click.)

2) Spend some money on your guitar education. The best stuff isn’t free. You have to pay for it. Do you want to learn or not?

I always recommend JamPlay to my students and I do this for 2 reasons:

  • Their lessons are fantastic. They have great teachers who communicate clearly. Their videos film each hand separately which I love.
  • The second reason I recommend JamPlay is they offer a 7-day money-back guarantee, so you can check it out and get your money back immediately if it’s not for you. I like that kind of freedom & it makes them easy to recommend: Check out JamPlay here

Popular Lessons

How To Learn Guitar: An 11-Step Programme For Beginners

10 Easy Songs For Beginners

How To Strum A Guitar

How To Choose The Perfect Beginner Guitar

Guitar Notes Explained: A Guide For Beginners

How To Play Lead Guitar

3 Easy Ways To Play Bm


More Cool Stuff

Learn about the National Guitar Academy: About Us

Join us on Facebook for daily guitar tips.

Listen to our Learn Guitar Podcast for rapid guitar progress.

Check out our free chord lessons.


Thanks for stopping by, speak soon! 🙂

00. Mike Kennedy Profile Pic (Circle)

Mike Kennedy - National Guitar Academy Founder

Enter your email address to learn our best guitar tips and tricks today!