Last updated on August 31st, 2023
The A minor 7 chord is a less commonly known chord when first learning to play guitar. You may also see this written as A min 7, Am7, or A – 7 on sheet music.
Although this chord has an easy open chord shape, there are many different ways you can play it throughout the guitar fretboard. By knowing different chord variations, you’ll be able to use it in different musical contexts.
Let’s first go over some basic chord theory and then cover 11 ways to play an A minor 7 chord which you can start to incorporate to your playing.
Grab your guitar and let’s get started!
A minor 7 chord theory intro
For example, the A minor 7 chord has the chord tones A, C, E, and G. This is essentially an A minor chord with an added b7 chord tone.
Here is the formula for minor 7 chords below.
In contrast, Major 7 chords contain the chord tones 1, 3, 5, and 7. For example, A Major 7 chord would contain the chord tones A, C#, E, and G#. However, we will only be covering the different minor chord variations in this post.
Now that you know what notes belong to the chord structure, let’s look at how to read the chord charts.
How to read the chord charts
For the charts below:
- The top horizontal line of the chord chart represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string.
- The vertical lines separate each fret.
- The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
- The letters on the right of the charts tell you what notes you are playing on each string.
- Circles on the left represent open strings.
- Red X means to avoid that string.
You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.
A minor 7 open chord
This first chord shape is an easy way to learn to play an A minor 7 chord. You can also think of this as removing your finger on the 3rd string from an open A minor chord.
A minor 7 open chord adding pinky
For this chord, we are adding the pinky on the 1st string, 3rd fret to the previous shape.
A minor 7 open chord variation
Adding to the previous shape, we can also include our 3rd finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret.
A minor 7 easy barre chord
Before we get to the full barre chord, this is an easier way to play an A minor 7 using a barre starting from the 4th string, 5th fret.
A minor 7 barre chord on the 6th string
This is the full barre chord shape to play an A minor 7. This chord will require enough pressure to get all the notes to sound clean. If this too difficult, first try strumming from the 6th to the 3rd fret. As you review this chord and develop more strength in your finger, the notes on the 2nd and 1st string will sound clearer.
This shape originally comes from the open E minor 7 chord.
If needed, check out 5 tips to get better at playing barre chords on guitar.
A minor 7 barre chord variation
To add to the previous chord shape, we can also add the pinky to the 2nd string, 8th fret like this:
A minor 7 chord (no barre)
Another way you can play the A minor 7 chord on the 6th string without having to use a barre is to align your fingers vertically.
A minor 7 chord 5th string
This is a more unconventional way of playing this chord but it’s another alternative you can use on the 5th string.
A minor 7 drop 2 chord
This shape uses a drop 2 chord voicing, which is a method to reorganize the chord tones by dropping the 2nd highest chord tone an octave below. In this case, the root note is moved down to the 4th string. Adding the 5th string is optional since the open A note belongs to the chord.
This shape originally comes the open D minor 7 chord.
A minor 7 drop 2 chord 1st inversion
This next shape is an A minor 7 drop 2 chord in 2nd inversion. This uses a barre starting on the 4th string, 10th fret.
A minor 7 barre chord 5th string, 12th fret
If your guitar is suitable for playing chords higher up, you can also use this A minor 7 barre chord starting on the 5th string, 12th fret. If you can’t get the chord to sound clear, first try to get the notes from the 5th to the 2nd fret. Then as you develop more strength in your fingers, you can try adding the 1st string as well.
All these chords were mostly in root position, meaning the root note is in the bass. However, you have even more variations if you use different chord inversions. This is when you play a chord with notes other than the root in the bass.
It’s good to know many possibilities of playing the same chord because you have more flexibility to move around the fretboard. Also, you can use different chord variations when you need a certain note at the top to help define a melody that you are playing over.
I hope this helped you understand how to play an A minor 7 guitar chord or learn new ways of playing it. You can also try shifting the shapes that have all fretted notes to play other minor 7 chords on the same string.
If you’re interested in improvisation, you can learn how to play minor 7 arpeggios on guitar.
All the best,
JG Music Lessons