The Abm chord is a pretty rare one to come across but it is one of the minor chords so important to learn. You may find this is actually the very last minor chord you do learn.
Here, we'll go over:
The Abm chord is made up of the notes Ab, Cb and Eb.
Basically take the Am chord and make everything flat (take it down one note or semi-tone to the left). Then you'll get Abm. It is also exactly the same as G#m but more on that later.
You may wonder, as many do, why you are playing "Cb" instead of B? The Cb note is the B key on piano.
As minor chords are built on the first, third and fifth notes of the minor scale, which in this case would start on Ab, that infuences what we call the notes.
Bb is a note in this key signature and the second note of the minor scale. The third note is Cb and so that's why we call it Cb and not B.
Even with this chord having 2 black notes, you can play Abm piano chord with the same fingering you play other chords in root position.
The finger positions for Abm are fingers 1, 3 and 5. That's your thumb, middle finger, and pinkie.
Abm/Cb is a complicated looking slash chord. With this one, you play Cb (the B key) as the lowest note, or bass note, in your left hand. The rest of the notes, Ab and Eb, need to be played above this.
Usually Ab would be your bass note but writing a chord like this signals a slightly different sound.
The Abm/Eb chord is another type of slash chord and with this one, you play Eb as the lowest note in the left hand. Eb is to be your bass note. The rest of the chord notes should come above this.
This is where inversions get pretty handy.
Inversions help you to play chords in different positions and get your muscle memory in place so that you can quickly and easy switch between chords.
Abm chord inversions are most useful when thought of in terms of G#m. That chord comes up pretty often (much more than Abm anyway) so this is a useful chord inversion series to learn.
The inversions for Abm are:
Root: Ab Cb Eb
1st Inversion: Cb Eb Ab
2nd Inversion: Eb Ab Cb
If it were me, I would play these inversions thinking of G#m instead which has the notes G#, B, D#. So here are the inversions in those notes as well.
The inversions for G#m are:
Root: G# B D#
1st Inversion: B D# G#
2nd Inversion: D# G# B
I have mentioned Abm and G#m a few times now. Abm belongs to the key of Cb while G#m belongs to the key of B and also found in the key of E.
The reason there are two names for the same chord is because we play in either sharps or flats. The two don't mix (generally). So if you are playing in flats, the chord name will need to have a flat. While if you are playing in sharps, the chord will need to be named as a sharp.
This is important information for writing chords or writing your own music but if you're not, what's important for you is understanding which notes to play.
The Ab piano chord is really quite uncommon because it means you are likely playing in 7 flats - which is a lot! So you will come across G#m much more often.
If you need more help understanding key signatures, visit the key signatures page.
If you need to look up more chords, visit the Piano Chord Charts page or download your own copy below.
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