How to Play Open-Position Minor 7th Chords on the Guitar

If you know how to play minor 7th chords, you will be able to play music that is a little softer and jazzier. Minor 7th chords are the chords you hear in “Moondance” by Van Morrison and in the verses of “Light My Fire,” by the Doors.

The open-position minor 7th chords are Dm7, Em7, and Am7. Take a look at the following figure to see the diagrams and proper fingering for the three open-position minor 7th (m7) chords.

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Notice that the Dm7 uses a two-string barre, which means that you press down two strings with a single finger (the first finger, in this case) at the first fret. Angling your finger slightly or rotating it on its side may help you fret those notes firmly and eliminate any buzzes as you play the chord. The 6th and 5th strings have Xs above them. Don’t strike those strings while strumming.

You finger the Am7 chord much like you do the C chord; just lift your third finger off a C chord and you have Am7. In switching between C and Am7 chords, remember to hold down the two common tones with your first and second fingers. This way, you can switch between the chords much more quickly. And if you know how to play an F chord, you can form Dm7 simply by removing your third finger.

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