How to Play Em Guitar Chord: 4 Easy Ways

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

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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!

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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! 🙂

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