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Home Blog Mastering The Fretboard: Minor 7th Chords

Mastering The Fretboard: Minor 7th Chords

In our last Mastering The Fretboard lesson we talked about Major 7th chords. If you haven’t checked out that lesson yet, I strongly encourage you to do it!

In this lesson we are going over Minor 7th chords.  It also might be helpful for you to go back and take a look at the lesson on minor triads.  Triads are important to study as they are the foundations of any chord.  From a minor triad we are simply adding an extension: a flatted 7th.

Let’s dive into this!

The formula for a Minor 7th chord:

Formula: Root-b3-5-b7

We are going to continue to use the key of G as an example, so using this formula the notes in a Gm7 would be: G-Bb-D-F.

Let’s take a look at what a Gm7 looks like notated in root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion and 3rd inversion:

 

Minor 7th

My method for mastering Minor 7th chords:

As it has been for all of these lessons, my method is: play the root position voicing and both the 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversions on all possible sets of strings.

So what are the possible sets of strings? The first set is E (low)-A-D-G. The second set is A-D-G-B. The third set is D-G-B-E (high).

Let’s see what this looks like on the first set of strings:

Minor 7th EADG

Notice that the lowest note on the neck we can start on is an F which is the b7 of the chord.  Therefore we start by playing the 3rd inversion of a Gm7 chord.  As always, all of the notes being used in each shape are the same.

Let’s look at the next set of strings:

Minor 7 ADGB

Here we are dealing with a completely new set of shapes. It will take a lot of repetition and practice to really get these down into your muscle memory. Be sure to practice these slowly and really get each set of strings down before moving onto the next.

Let’s look at the last set of strings:

Minor 7 DGBE

 

How to practice these:

  • Practice the shapes on each set of strings slowly and make sure you can play them forwards and backwards.
  • Once you feel comfortable with one set of strings move onto the next.
  • Repetition is key and be able to play all sets of strings consecutively forwards and backwards.
  • Ultimately, if you want to master these minor 7th chords you need to take them through all 12 keys. That is a huge undertaking, but if you take the time to do it you will really be opening up your knowledge of the fretboard!

In the next lesson we’ll move on and talk about Dominant 7th chords. Watch the blog often!

 

Brent Vaartstrahttp://www.brentvaartstra.com
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for learnjazzstandards.com which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."

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