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

The G flat minor chord is enharmonically the same as the F minor chord. The Gbm chord actually contains a B double flat (Bbb). This is because the Gb Major chord contains Bb as its 3rd. Therefore, when we lower the 3rd by another semitone, it becomes Bbb (B double flat), which is the same note as A. 

The Bbb can technically be played on an open string (5th string), but because it is so low, it sounds muddy and is impractical. Therefore, Gbm is not practical as an open chord. Instead, the chord is usually played as a bar chord, on the 2nd fret (root 6) or 9th fret (root 5).

Some Quick Gbm Chord Theory

  • The G flat minor chord contains the notes Gb, Bx and Db.
  • The Gb minor chord is produced by playing the 1st (root), flat 3rd and 5th notes of the Gb Major scale.
  • The Gb 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 flat minor is the relative minor of B Major.
  • Gbm is the first chord in the key of G flat minor. The seven chords in the key of Gb minor are: Gbm, Ab diminished, Bbb+, Cbm, Db, Ebb, F diminished

10 Ways To Play The Gb Minor Chord

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

Gb Minor Chord - 10 Shapes

Standard Gbm Chord Shape

The most common way to play the Gbm chord is by playing the root-6 minor chord, starting on the second fret. This is essentially the standard F minor barre chord, but moved up one fret.

Gbm Chord Guitar

Easy Gbm Chord Shape

The ‘easy’ or ‘mini’ version of the G flat minor chord can be achieved by playing the first three strings of the guitar, all on the second fret. By playing the easy version of the chord, it makes it possible to use the chord in songs, without needing to perfect the more difficult barre chord version.

Easy Gbm Chord Guitar

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

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

The instructions above are step by step instructions for playing the common Gb 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.

Gb Minor Barre Chord Shapes

The Gbm chord can be played as a barre chord by playing a root 6 barre chord shape and starting on the 2nd fret or by playing a root 5 barre chord Major shape and starting on the 9th fret:

Gbm Barre Chord

Gb 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 flat minor triad are:

  • Gb minor Triad (Root Position) – Gb, Bbb, Db
  • Gb minor Triad (1st Inversion) – Bbb, Db, Gb
  • Gb minor Triad (2nd Inversion) – Db, Gb, Bbb

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

Gb Minor Triad

Which Keys Have The Gbm chord in Them?

The Gbm chord can be found in the following keys:

  • The key of Gb minor (Gbm, Abdim, Bbb, Cbm, Dbm, Ebb, Fb)
  • The key of Db minor (Dbm, Ebdim, Fb, Gbm, Abm, Bbb, Cb)

Alternative But Useful Gbm Chord Shapes

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

Alternative Gb Minor Chords Guitar

Gbm Chord Substitutions

Most Gb minor chords with extensions can be used as a substitute for the Gb minor chord. For example, Gbm9, Gbm11 and Gbm6 can often be used to add colour and emotion to the Gb minor chord.

The Gbm7 chord is quite often used interchangeably with the Gbm chord.

For more interesting substitutions, playing variations of the A chord (which is the relative Major of G flat minor), such as A6, A69, Amaj9 etc. can be used effectively as a substitute for the Gb minor chord. Keep in mind that technically speaking, the relative Major of G flat minor is actually Bbb Major (B double flat), which is the enharmonic equivalent of A Major. Considering that Bbb is so obscure, it’s easier to simply refer to it as A.

Which Scales Can Be Played Over the Gb Minor Chord?

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

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

Further Reading

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