If it’s time for you to learn the Cm chord, it probably means you’ve come across the chord and didn’t know how to play it, or the song you’re currently learning utilizes the chord and you’re not sure how to approach it.
Either way, it will be necessary to pick up most chords at some point. Cm isn’t the easiest chord of the bunch, but not the hardest either. Of course, there are some things you should know as you look to learn how to play it.
In this guide, we cover how to play C minor on the ukulele.
How To Play The Cm Chord
All things considered; the Cm chord is relatively simple. The hardest part, as noted, is the barring.
Cm only requires one finger to play. You’ll want to barre / fret the first, second, and third strings at the third fret using your index finger.
Optionally, you can add your ring finger to the fifth fret of the fourth string, but this is not required, as the open fourth string is a G, and as we pointed out earlier, the Cm chord contains G. A second G in the mix does no harm.
Barring can take time to master, especially if you haven’t worked on it before. You will need to apply even pressure across the pad of your finger touching the strings / fretboard. Too little pressure, and the notes will come out sounding muted.
At first, it may seem like you need to apply a lot of pressure to get the notes coming through clearly, but with practice you will find that you don’t need to use as much pressure.
When practicing Cm, be sure to play each note in the chord (instead of strumming it) to ensure that all notes are coming through, and if any note comes out sounding muted, adjust your barring technique until it sounds right.
Also, for best results, be sure to make the chord, pick the notes, break the chord, and repeat this process. You won’t get better at the chord unless you practice making and breaking it.
What Is The Cm (C Minor) Chord?
The Cm chord can be classified as a barre chord, and barre chords are generally considered harder to play than open chords because they require you to lay one of your fingers flat across multiple strings, thereby fretting all of them at once.
The Cm chord contains three notes – C, Eb, and G.
And, in addition to being a barre chord, Cm is also a minor chord. Minor chords have a distinctive sound to them – namely a combination of sad, dark, or incomplete.
The Cm chord appears most commonly in songs in the key of Cm or Eb (especially given that Eb is the relative major to Cm), but it does appear in songs that aren’t in these keys as well.
We look at several songs that prominently feature the Cm chord below.
What Songs Use The Cm Chord?
Famous songs using the Cm chord are a little harder to find compared to more piano and guitar friendly keys like C, D, E, F, and G. After all, the relative major to Cm is Eb. But that isn’t to say there aren’t any. There are some very famous songs in Cm. So, let’s give the following a try.
“Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor
Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” is practically synonymous with the key of Cm. This early 80s classic rock hit was perfect for Rocky training montages because of its ability to get you fired up. For such a famous rock song, though, oddly, it doesn’t have a guitar solo!
Unfortunately, you can’t really find a ukulele version of the song in the key of Cm. Everyone in the community has adapted it to Am (as seen in the video below). Well, you can practice it in Am too, but Am simply won’t do for our purposes.
The main chords to learn here are Cm, Bb, and Ab. If you keep the “eye of the tiger,” you will figure it out.
“It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi
If there’s one thing, we can count on Bon Jovi to do well, it’s to write memorable anthems. “It’s My Life” sounds like the voice of a generation as much as anything else.
As with many pop and pop-rock songs, “It’s My Life” is largely made up of four chords – Cm, Ab, Eb, and Bb. In addition to Cm, Bb is also a type of barre chord, and it appears in most if not all songs referenced here, so fair warning.
Refreshingly, the tutorial below shows the song being played in the proper key, so no further explanation required. Hit “play” on that video, pay close attention, take your time, and have fun with this one!
“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
This mid-90s melodramatic ballad quickly became just one of many standout moments on No Doubt’s third studio album, Tragic Kingdom, which delivered seven singles(!). That’s a monumental achievement.
The original “Don’t Speak” was in the key of Cm, and it’s still the best way to play it – especially if you’re a female singer or you happen to be accompanying one.
Where most pop songs have three to four chords tops, this song rotates through a bunch, so if you’re going to learn it in full, have some patience with it. I promise the end result will be worth it.
“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates
Besides The Beatles, the duo that set the template for pop music was Hall & Oates.
I probably shouldn’t be talking about them in past tense, though, because they are still active today, even after a career spanning over five decades.
“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is one of their most prominent songs, covered and emulated by artists and bands far and wide. Simply Red’s “Sunrise” (this song made it to the top of the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Party chart) was also clearly modeled after this tune.
This is a great song for every musician to study. It’s simple, but it contains many nuances that make it very memorable.
How To Play C Minor Chord On Ukulele, Final Thoughts
For better or for worse, learning the Cm chord will also mean learning chords like Ab, Bb, and Eb. That may seem like extra homework, but I promise it will be well worth the effort. If you want to be able to play in any key, you will need to learn all the chords anyway!
Learning a barre chord can take a while, so practice lots, have patience, and have fun.