Get­ting Started With… Mi­nor 7th chords

Round­ing off our se­ries look­ing at 7th chords, we turn our at­ten­tion to the moody sounds of the mi­nor va­ri­ety

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

“How are mi­nor 7s dif­fer­ent to ‘ma­jor 7’ and ‘7’ chords?”

Well, each chord has its own sound: ‘7’ chords (aka dom­i­nant 7ths) such as E7 or A7 have a typ­i­cally tense at­mos­phere, per­fect for blues or any song in need of a bright, edgy sound; ma­jor 7ths have a mel­lower sound suited to bal­lads and laid-back jazz or folk. Mi­nor 7ths sound sim­i­lar to ba­sic mi­nor chords (like Dm or Em) but with slightly a less moody feel. Played with a clean tone, mi­nor 7ths are a great start­ing point for funk and disco rhythms, or you can dial in some drive for an indie or alt-rock vibe.

“Can you give me some ex­am­ples?”

Noel Gal­lagher made great use of Em7 as the open­ing chord in Won­der­wall. Jerry Cantrell em­ploys the same shape in Nut­shell by Alice In Chains. Also lis­ten to Chic’s Good Times – the open­ing chord is an Em7 barre chord. These are com­mon shapes used in ev­ery style of mu­sic.

“That’s great! How do I get started?”

Start by look­ing at the mi­nor 7th shapes on the right. They’re all easy to play and if you al­ready know some ba­sic ma­jor and mi­nor open chords then these should be easy enough. Re­mem­ber, the dots tell you where to put your fin­gers on the fret­board, the num­bers tell you which fin­gers to use and black dots are root notes.

“Let’s start play­ing some mu­sic!”

Take a look at the tab ex­am­ples be­low. The first one is an arpeg­gio, which means you’ll be play­ing one note at a time. Hold down all the notes of the Em7 chord then fo­cus your at­ten­tion on pick­ing the strings as in the tab.

“It’s a lit­tle tricky. Any tips?”

Fret right on your fin­ger­tips so that you don’t ac­ci­den­tally mute out any ad­ja­cent strings. Try us­ing all down­strokes or a ‘down up down up’ pick­ing pat­tern. You may find one method eas­ier than the other.

“How shall I tackle the sec­ond ex­am­ple?”

Prac­tise the chord change first, with­out wor­ry­ing about the strum­ming rhythm. Once you’re comfy with the chord change, play in time with the back­ing track.

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