Sad Sounding Guitars: Sad Guitar Chords To Play

Music performs loads of exceptional roles in our lives.

But at the end track is set on its deep emotion. The pleasant manner to connect to your listeners on a human stage is thru honest, emotionally invested song work.

However, conveying the proper feelings while you write songs isn’t easy. You need the right chord progressions that can evoke effective emotions proper away. And some chords can be downright expressive in terms of melancholy, sadness and can be depressing as well.

Writing a song is like cooking a good dish. To cook the perfect dish, you need the best ingredients. The same thing when you play sad music on the guitar, you also need sad guitar chords.

Let us break down the chords that can help you find the right combination to help listeners induce sadness and recall painful memories.

sad guitar chords

Minor Chords

To play sad and depressing guitar chords, use minor. Most melancholy tunes, minor chords are the hot sauce. They’re the closest thing to a melancholy guitar chord there is.

Many sorrowful guitar chord progressions can be made with minor chords. D minor is notoriously known as the saddest key by some musicians.  While E minor can also be a sad chord, it usually needs accompaniment of chords like G and C majors to create melodic yet sorrowful music.

D minor

The D minor chord (often written as Dm) maybe a chord that evokes a way of melancholy and contemplation on the negative aspect of things. Like several different minor chords, Dm will produce an important, serious atmosphere — and generally even creates a virtually transcendental sense of drama.

Here are some guitar chord progressions you can use with D minor:

Dm – Gm – C

Dm – Bb – F – C

Em7b5 – Am – Dm

Song that used D minor

The song “the Boxer”  by Simon and Garfunkel reportedly took over 100 hours to record and produce. The use of pedal steel guitars, piccolo, and other musical instruments is a masterpiece.

Once you understand the six basic chords in the key of C, you can play them wonderfully on an acoustic guitar (there’s a Dm in it, just to keep you on your toes!)

E minor

In terms of relative insufficiency of musical pieces in E major, it was addressed by the comparatively sizable amount of items in E minor.

This, it seems, may be a favorite key for guitarists, because it follows a guitar’s normal tuning; and, because it seems, it’s additionally a favorite key for significant metal music, not particularly renowned for its joyful lyrics.

You can incorporate these chord progressions in your guitar playing using the E minor chord:

Em – Am – D

Em – Am – Bm

F#m7b5 – Bm – Em

Song that used E minor

John Denver wrote many songs and many hits. However, this particular tune is famous for Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Leaving on the Jet Plane”. This is their last and biggest hit in 1966. When you start playing these five chords along with E minor, this is a great song, transitioning between each chord slowly and easily.

A minor

Normally being used in blues riffs, A minor chord sound tends to be plaintive while displaying any glimmering hope and optimism. This is probably the famous chord or scale used by Jimmy Hendrix, Santana, and other blues-influenced artists.

A good chord progression for A minor

Am – Dm – E

Am – Bdim – C – Dm – E – F – G

Song that used A minor

There are a lot of songs you can choose for the A minor chord progression, but for me, the easiest (and probably the coolest) song you can experiment with is Red Hot Chili Pepper’s B-single “Soul to Squeeze” which captivates good guitar picking (the bass line is a killer too).

Minor seventh chords

The minor seventh chord (abbreviated m7 in chord names) is a 4-noted chord, however, because of the traits of the guitar, the chords can contain 4 to 6 notes (in a few instances with duplicated notes). The minor seventh is just like the dominant seventh, however is outstanding with the aid of using its minor third.

The chord is constructed with the aid of using a root, a minor third, a 5th, and a minor 7th. There are many methods to play those chords. Below you could see m7 chords in normally open role supplied and with the aid of using scrolling down in addition you can additionally see minor 7th barre chords.

This chord generally produces a more ballad sound perfect for soulful, sad music. Rarely being used in love songs that express acceptance and solemnity.

A minor 7th

The Am7 (some of the time composed as “A minor 7” or “Amin7) harmony is worked to make strain and amp up the feeling in a tune. Like most seventh harmonies, it has a sound that is neither glad nor tragic. This is because of the way that there is both a minor harmony with a 7 span enveloped with the synthesis of a seventh harmony.

The final product is an adaptable harmony that can help with something dark and bittersweet when it shows up, loaning a clashing vibe to melodies when it’s played. We should dive deeper into this harmony and how to play it.

Here are some guitar progressions that can be used when using this kind of melody:

Am7 – D – G

F- Am7 – G

C- Am7 – F  – G

Songs that Uses Am7

While Nirvana’s “The Man Who Sold the World” perfectly captured the chord usage for Am7, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan (although I prefer GnR’s version) is one example being used properly through good fingerpicking.

C minor 7

The Cm7 chord (now and again written as C minor 7) embodies an expressive softness whilst played. It can elicit a sobering passion, longing, or solemnity. On the flip side, it could additionally offer a crisp, vibrant sound for an upbeat funk or pop song whilst paired with the proper development of important chords.

Proving its versatility, the soft, honest nature of the Cm7 chord makes it best for romance ballads or songs with a downtrodden feel.

C7 minor – Eb – G – Bb

Songs that Uses Cm7

One depressing song by Radiohead uses this chord on their song “Creep” which is all about a drunk man trying to get the attention of a woman but unfortunately low on self-esteem and confidence to make a move.

Major Chords

The terms ‘predominant’ and ‘minor’ describe the sound quality (or sound-character) of intervals, chords, scales, and keys. And often they are given the assumption that the “major’ chord is happy while the “minor” chord is sad.

But depending on how these chords will be put into use, the sound characteristics of a major chord if incorporate with a minor scale is fixed and always the same.

A major scale can be played quickly, slowly, loud, smooth, high-tuned, or resonant, on either any musical instruments like a piano or a saxophone, in a large musical hall or a compressed room – it is always a major progressive scale. This means that the sound quality can be directly objective.

D major

The D major chord progression consists of one major chord and one minor chord. While it is commonly coined as “happier tune”, depending on how the intervals and vocal melody, it may contribute overall to the song’s mood as well.

Also since there hasn’t been able to get a clear dominant chord (A major chord in this case) for a while and the pitch is a little uncertain.

D major is a versatile chord but if you want to use it for sad melodies, here are the progressions you can use in your guitar playing:

D – G (slow tempo)

D – A – G – A

Songs that Uses D Major

One of the perfect examples of D major being used in a sad melody is REM’s “Everybody Hurts” which uses a very slow D to G chording and guitar picking. The vocalist Michael Stipe was able to utilize the vocal mood for this title which connected perfectly with the D major tone.

Another interesting example is “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’Connor, as the chord progressions and melodies do not imply any particular sadness. Start with a long F major chord and continue the typical chord progression of I–V–vi (this key is F major, C major, D minor 7th).


So we continue to run in the context, the emotional aspect of a song will always vary depending on how we utilize chords and progressions.  There are only too many aspects and characteristics to define music in a simple switch between “happy” and “sad.”

In the music, the context is all. In totality, musical chords depending on its progressions may differ, depending on the use of feel, tempo, and vocal melodies.

By the time we tend to end this guide, you’ll perceive the way to produce unhappy songs yourself. What I’m attempting to mention is that this could be a guide for songwriters or aspiring songwriters. However, be at liberty to visualize the chord progressions and provide your own compositions created with unhappy chords I listed down below. Have fun!

Please feel free to ask questions about the topic.

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About Jayden Buckley

Hi, my name is Jayden and I am author/editor for PlayTheTunes. I remember the first time I hopped on the drums, I was hooked. Music has played an enormous part of my life, and I'm honored I get to share my experiences with you!