What is the F#m guitar chord?
The letter F#m is the seventh chord in the C-Major scale. F#m guitar chords are typically played with these notes: F# - A - B - D - E
Also commonly used, the notes from a G-Major chord can be used to form a variation on an F#m guitar chord. This would be played as G - B - D - F#. The same applies to a Bbmaj7 chord, which uses the same notes but adds an Eb note above each string.
How to play the F#m guitar chord easily?
The F#m chord is most commonly used as part of a guitar power chord. When playing this chord, your index finger should cover the first fret and your ring finger should cover the third fret on each string. This means that your hand will be covering all six strings, as with standard power chords such as A or E.
There are several methods on how to play the F#m guitar chord.
This version allows you to play both open strings simultaneously, which will give you a slightly fuller sound. Use your index finger to cover the first fret on all six strings, and use your ring finger to cover the third fret of the A-string. Your other fingers should be placed behind these two fingers so that only the bottom ends of their pads are touching the next string down like this:
If you find that the fingers of your fretting hand are too close together, try moving your second finger further away from the first by one or two frets. Doing so will give you more room to move and avoid any possible 'misclicks'.
The previous method is very commonly used for power chords (played on both guitar strings at once), though if you want an easier way to play an F#m chord, use this version instead. Start off with your index finger placed on the "first" fret (which isn't actually the first).
The actual space between this first string and third-string is referred to as a semitone (half-step) which is represented by one flat symbol (-). Place your middle finger on the third string, second fret.
Place your ring finger on the fifth string, third fret. Hint: If you can't reach all those notes from an open chord position, try using a barre as seen in the picture to the right. In this case, you'll place your index finger behind both first and second strings at the first fret).
It is similar to Method 2, but with different positioning of fingers for each chord strum. You still have a "first" note which isn't really a note. The distance between that note and the next real note is considered a semitone (half-step) which is represented by one flat symbol (-). Start off with your index finger on the "first" fret.
Place your middle finger on the fourth string, second fret.
Place your ring finger on the sixth string, third fret. In this way, you can play F#m using a barre chord as demonstrated in the picture to the right. It shows that an index finger is placed behind both first and second strings at their first frets.
You might want to try playing a D-chord with your index finger covering the first fret for all six strings and your middle and pinky fingers gripping onto adjacent strings at either side of it like so:
Then slide these three fingers down two frets so they lie across those same six strings but one octave lower with your pinky now touching the third string at its second fret. You've now formed an F#m chord that's quite easy to play because it doesn't involve lots of stretching or any barre chords.
This is not a proper way to play this chord, but you might want to try it out anyway. Place your index finger on the fifth string, first fret and let your other fingers fall where they may. You should be able to manage an F# minor chord using these three notes somehow, though it will probably sound bad!
This is because the B note isn't really part of the F#m chord, so you're making the chord incomplete by playing just these three notes. If you want to be able to play a decent-sounding F#m chord, then use one of the other four methods presented above.
Place your index finger on the fifth string, first fret and let your middle finger fall where it may: And now strum all six strings. This is what most guitarists do when they can't be bothered trying out any of the other five ways of playing an F# minor chord.
It will sound pretty bad though as mentioned previously because that B note sounds very wrong and doesn't belong in an F#m chord at all! If you want to learn how to play this chord properly, use one of the other five methods listed above instead.
Finger positioning for this method: 1-index 2-middle 3-ring
This is for all six strings, but if you can't reach some of them, use your first finger to barre all notes at the third fret. This will allow you to play an F#m chord using just three fingers. It can be useful when playing songs that require other chords too and it would be a real pain trying to stretch further than that because of the distance between each string. The picture illustrates this method being used with a barré so as not to have to stretch further.
Advanced methods to play F#m chord
In this method, you need all 4 strings to be played simultaneously. With your index finger, you will place it on the 2nd and 3rd strings, ring\middle finger is on 4th string and pinky\ring finger should be placed on 1st string.
If you play this chord with a barred barre, the notes will be smoother. If you want to learn about barrés, check out our other articles on how to play barré chords. This is an advanced F#m guitar chord that requires four fingers to be placed on multiple strings at once and we wouldn't recommend using it unless your hand is really huge or if you just like experimenting with different types of chords.
There's enough room for error in this method because all 6 strings are played simultaneously so don't worry too much about placing your fingers in exactly the right position. Just make sure they're close to where they should go and try strumming all six strings at once after each time you move your hand around trying to find the right position.
Finally, you may mute the open string in the F#m guitar chord and put your index finger on the fifth string at its second fret, so it's touching the fret wire itself. The other 3 fingers fall in naturally to place.
If you didn't want to mute the open string when playing just an F#m chord then that's no problem because this note sounds too much like a B anyway! It could sound cool to have both notes being played at once through - just tune the open string up to B\flat\whatever sounded best when playing along with your favorite song(s).
What are the famous songs with the F#m guitar chord?
You might find yourself asking this question at some point. The answer is, not many songs use an F#m chord as a major aspect of their composition. F#m guitar chord example songs:
- Roxette - Listen To Your Heart (chord progression is made up from Bbmaj7 chord moving to F# minor).
- Roxette - It Must Have Been Love (chord progression is based on F#m chord for verses and Bb or F# maj7 for the chorus. You can hear this if you listen carefully.).
- Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (intro and verses use an Am/C/F# progression).
Some of the songs it's used in are slower ones like Roxette's. Nirvana's is fast and punchy, with a mixture of other chords too, but there isn't a distinct chord change from Am to F#m or anything.
In fact, if you play the intro with the C chord shape for all four chords it sounds quite good. Listen to both their songs though because they sound nothing alike! The chord progressions in each song are completely different. This article might be a bit short but we hope that you've learned at least one thing from it - how to play an F# minor guitar chord.
How can you practice playing the F#m guitar chord?
You may find yourself practicing this chord in some of your songs if you've got a slow one or even just strumming open chords for fun. Remember to try out all the different fingerings on each individual string. Don't just play it with your index finger because there's no point limiting yourself like that!
If you're playing along to Roxette then use either your first or fourth finger on the sixth string, whichever is more comfortable. Meanwhile mix up any other chord shapes you know for variety, perhaps D major (D-E-F#) and G major (G-B-D). Or try A major (A-C#m7, 5th fret - 5th string/A5), which will bring us nicely onto the next chord!
For practicing and developing your skills you can use apps on your phone or tablet. For example, there are many guitar-oriented apps available in the Apple Store, which you can make use of if you own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Do a quick search in the store using keywords like 'guitar scales', 'guitar chords' and so on - here's more information about how to get free apps for your iOS device.
Can you use a guitar cup when playing the F#m guitar chord?
One way of making sure your finger positioning is correct when you're playing any chord, including F# minor, is to use a guitar cup. That's right - an actual cup! You just place it on the strings where you need to put your fingers and then move them into place on top of it gradually until they're in exactly the right spot.
For example, if you are starting out with the fretting hand then it may be a good idea to get your index finger in place first. Put the cup over the strings at the second fret, which is where your finger goes in this chord shape, and just touch the side of it with your fingertip until you've got used to exactly what position it's in, how much pressure you need to apply and so on.
Then take it away and play that same F# minor chord without using cup - but don't forget! You can use the cup again when playing other chords too for extra accuracy.
How do I know if my guitar is in tune?
This isn't really related to learning about how to play the F#m guitar chord but we thought we'd answer it anyway as you may be wondering the same thing. You can tune your guitar using any iOS or Android app which gives you an accurate frequency for tuning.
The vast majority of electric guitars are in A 440 Hz, though some are slightly different so you should always check yours if you're not sure. For more information on how to ensure your guitar is in tune before playing, this article covers everything you need to know.
How long does it take to learn the F#m guitar chord?
This depends on a number of factors including previous experience and knowledge of other chords, age if learning for the first time, ability to pick up new skills quickly, etc. Generally speaking, though it shouldn't take too long to master thanks to its simplicity. There are only three notes and two of them are open strings.
Therefore, the transition from your first ever chord to this one should be a smooth one as they share a number of pitches in common with each other. If you show someone how to play C major (C-E-G) then you can move on playing F# minor by simply moving everything up 3 frets - no extra effort required!