G#m Chord on the Guitar (A Flat Minor) – 10 Ways to Play (and Some Tips/Theory)

The G sharp minor chord is most often played as a root 6 bar chord, starting on the 4th fret. The chord itself contains the note B as the flat 3rd, which can be played on the open 2nd string. Therefore, G#m can technically be played as an open chord (see first shape in image below). However, the G#m chord is more commonly played as a bar chord. 

G#m is the relative minor of B Major and is also found in the key of E Major. As those two keys are relatively popular, G#m is a somewhat common chord itself.

Some Quick G#m Chord Theory

  • The G sharp minor chord contains the notes G#, B and D#.
  • The G# minor chord is produced by playing the 1st (root), flat 3rd and 5th notes of the G# Major scale.
  • The G# minor chord (just like all minor chords) contains the following intervals (from the root note): minor 3rd, Major 3rd, Perfect 4th (back to the root note).
  • G# minor is the relative minor of B Major.
  • G#m is the first chord in the key of G sharp minor. The seven chords in the key of G sharp minor are: G#m, A# diminished, B+, C#m, D#, E, Ax diminished

10 Ways To Play The G# Minor Chord

If you’ve come to this page just to view some chord diagrams for G#m, here they are.

G# Minor Chord - 10 Shapes

Standard G#m Chord Shape

The most common way to play the G sharp minor chord is as a root-6 minor barre chord, starting in the third fret.

G Sharp Minor Chord Guitar

Easy G#m Chord Shape

The ‘easy’ or ‘mini’ version of the G flat minor chord is achieved by playing the first three strings of the guitar, all in the fourth fret. This can be used as an easy alternative to the more difficult barre chord shape (pictured above).

Easy G Sharp Minor Chord Guitar

How to Play the G Sharp Minor Chord (Step by Step)

  • Place your first finger on the fourth fret of the sixth string and barre all six strings.
  • Place your third finger on the sixth fret of the fifth string.
  • Place your fourth finger on the sixth fret of the fourth string.
  • Strum all six strings.

The instructions above are step by step instructions for playing the common G# minor chord shape. Forming the chord through step by step instructions is a great way of ensuring that you are interpreting the chord diagram correctly.

G# Minor Barre Chord Shapes

The G#m chord can be played as a barre chord by playing a root 6 barre chord shape and starting on the 4th fret or by playing a root 5 barre chord Major shape and starting on the 11th fret:

G Sharp Minor Barre Chord

G# Minor Triads

Playing triads is a great way of exploring the minor chord and the guitar fretboard more generally. By arranging the notes of the chord systematically using permutations (root position, first inversion, second inversion), interesting and unique shapes and voicings are created. The three different voicings for the G sharp minor triad are:

  • G# minor Triad (Root Position) – G#, B, D#
  • G# minor Triad (1st Inversion) – B, D#, G#
  • G# minor Triad (2nd Inversion) – G#, B, D#

By playing these triads on two different groups of three strings, we can produce six different shapes.

G Sharp Minor Triad

Which Keys Have The G#m chord in Them?

The Abm chord can be found in the following keys:

  • The key of G# minor (G#m, A#dim, B, C#m, D#m, E, F#)
  • The key of C# minor (C#m, D#dim, E, F#m, G#m, A#, B)
  • The key of D# minor (D#m, E#dim, F#, G#m, A#m, B, C#)
  • The key of B Major (B, C#m, D#m, E, F#, G#m, A#dim)
  • The key of E Major (E, F#m, G#m, A, B, C#m, D#dim)
  • The key of F# Major (F#, G#m, A#m, B, C#, D#m, E#dim)

Alternative But Useful G#m Chord Shapes

The following shapes are alternative ways of playing the G sharp minor chord shape. They’re not the most common G#m shapes, but used enough to include here as interesting alternatives.

Alternative G Sharp Minor Chords Guitar

G#m Chord Substitutions

Most G# minor chords with extensions can be used as a substitute for the G# minor chord. For example, G#m9, G#m11 and G#m6 can often be used to add colour and emotion to the Ab minor chord.

The G#m7 chord is quite often used interchangeably with the G#m chord.

For more interesting substitutions, playing variations of the B chord (which is the relative Major of G# minor), such as B6, B69, Bmaj9 etc. can be used effectively as a substitute for the G# minor chord.

Which Scales Can Be Played Over the G# Minor Chord?

The most common and effective scales that can be used to solo/improvise over the G# minor chord, or to create melodies for the purposes of song writing are:

  • G# natural minor scale – This scale (also called G# aeolian) is the most commonly used scale for this chord.
  • G# minor pentatonic scale – This is probably the easiest scale to learn and get started on when improvising over the G# minor chord..
  • G# dorian mode – This scale can be used to add a slightly brighter sound to the G# minor chord.
  • G# phrygian mode – This scale can be used to add a darker sound to the G sharp minor chord.

Further Reading

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