How to Play A7 Minor Chord on Guitar

In today's lesson, we will go over 9 distinct ways to play the Am7 guitar chord, also known as the A minor seventh chord. This guitar chord is built from the A minor scale and is similar to the A minor chord but has a little extra spice that adds a little tension and makes it sound a bit sweet and romantic.

 
Throughout this lesson, we'll discover variations, common positions, and finger positions, each with its own chord diagram. We'll also discuss the chord theory, how the chord can be used, easy songs to practice using the Am7, and some tips and tricks so that the notes ring out.

Am7 Open position

There are three fairly easy ways to play the am7 chord in an open position on your guitar. The voicings are pretty similar, so the sound will also be relatively similar!

a7 minor open voicing 1

Am7 Chord Open Position Voicing 1

You can think of the first voicing as simply playing the regular A minor chord and then lifting up your ring finger. This way, the g string rings out and adds the G note to the chord, which is what we need to turn the Am chord into an Am7.

Place your:
Middle finger on the fourth string, second fret
Index finger on the second string, first fret
Strum from the fifth string down

a7 minor open voicing 2

Am7 Chord Open Position Voicing 2

Similar to the voicing above, play the Am chord you normally would with placing your:
Middle finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret
Ring finger on the 3rd string, second fret
Index finger on the 2nd string, 1st fret
Lastly, add your pinky to the high e string (first string) on the third fret

Adding your pinky finger to the 1st string, 3rd fret turns the Am chord into an Am7 chord.

a7 minor open voicing 3

Am7 Chord Open Position Voicing 3

In this voicing, we will remove the 3rd finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret, but add the pinky finger on the 1st string, 3rd fret. This will give this voicing two G notes, both in the mid-range and the high.

In all three voicings above, avoid strumming the low e string. Even though the E note is part of the chord, it will make it sound muddy.

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How To Play Am7 With Barre Chords?

Now we'll discuss 3 barre chord shapes for the Am7 guitar chord. Let's start with the easiest!

a7 barre chord easy

Am7 Barre Chord (Easy)

To play this guitar chord, you only need to place your index finger on the 5th fret of the D string (fourth string) and then bar across strings 1-4. That's it!

Technically, this would be a slash chord written like Am/G or Am7/G. This means you should play the Am7 but have the G note as the bass or the lowest note. If the root note (the A note) is the bass note, it would be written as Am7.

a minor 7th barre chord 2

Am7 Guitar Chord With Barre

Next, let's build off the Am7 guitar chord we just learned, but this time, we are going to play across all six strings.

Place your index finger on the 6th string, 5th fret
Then, your ring finger on the 5th string, seventh fret
At last, lay your index finger across all six strings and press it to the side

This will give you a nice, clean, and full sound because we use all the strings, and the root note is on the low e string.

a minor 7th bar chorde on 12th fret

Am7 guitar chord with Barre on 12th fret

Our last barre chord will be up an octave from an open position on the 12 fret. As this is so high up the guitar neck, it will make it easier to play the barre. However, if you are on an acoustic guitar without a cutaway, you may want to skip this one!

To play, place your:
1st finger on the 5th string, 12 fret
3rd finger on the 4th string, 14th fret
2nd finger on the 2nd string (B string), 13th fret
Then, as you squeeze in, press your index to the side to bar across the strings.

a7 minor barre chord with pinky on 12th fret

Remember to avoid strumming the low e string!

You can also add your pinky finger on the 1st string like this.

Am7 Guitar Chord Without Barring

There are 2 fairly easy variations to play the am7 chord that are not in the open position and without barring. You may come across these when playing songs, so I wanted to include them here!

am7 without barring

Variation 1

The first way to play the A minor 7 chord is going to be played as follows. Place your:

2nd finger on the 8th fret of the b string (the 2nd string)

3rd finger on the 8th fret of the 1st string

1st finger on the 7th fret of the D string

4th finger on the 9th fret of the G string

am7 without barring variation 2

The second way to play the A minor 7th chord without barring is (in my opinion) the hardest in today's lesson. The reason is that fingers 2 and 3 don't really stretch, and we need a little stretch out of them.

To play fret the:

4th string, 7th fret with your 2nd finger
Then fret the 2nd string, 8th fret with your 3rd finger
Now, place your index finger on the 5th string, 7th fret
At last, put your pinky finger on the 1st string, 8th fret

Yes, as you can see, we are using the open G note. This one sounds pretty cool because of the octave of the G note open and the G note on the b string, 8th fret.


If you are playing a song and need to play the am7 chord, this may be your last choice due to the awkwardness of your 2nd and 3rd fingers.

Am7 Guitar Chord Tips

Tip #1

The #1 mistake players make in learning a guitar chord is that they don't memorize it. If you have to constantly look at where to place your fingers, your mind/body won't develop proper coordination. Focus on learning just a few chords at a given time.

Tip #2

To learn the Am7 chord, play the chord very slowly so that all your fingers attack the strings simultaneously. The chord change will be slow if you place your fingers on the fretboard one at a time.

Tip #3

Make sure your thumb is behind your first and second fingers. You don't want your thumb on the outside of your index finger, as this will cause your hand to be unable to stretch or work properly. This goes for all guitar chords.

Easy Songs That Use Am7 Chord

The Scorpions - Wind Of Change
The Eagles - Hotel California
Dio - Last In Line

Why Is A Chord Called A minor Seventh Chord?

To understand how a chord gets its name, we need to understand what's going on inside the chord. So now, let's look at what notes make the minor seventh chord.

The notes of a chord are derived from its corresponding scale. In this case, The Am7 chord or A minor 7 is a four-note chord derived from the A minor scale.

A B C D E F G

When you number the notes of a scale, they are called SCALE DEGREES. So to make an Am7 chord, we need the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th "degrees."

1      2     b3      4      5     b6     b7
A     B      C       D     E      F       G

All minor 7th chords use the 1, b3, 5, & b7 notes of their corresponding scale. 

When these four notes are being played harmonically (played at the same time), you are playing an Am7 chord.

Now you may be wondering why did you add a "b" (flat) to the 3, 6, and 7? This is beyond the scope of this lesson, but for simplicity's sake, all minor scales have the 3rd, 6th, and 7th notes lowered down a half step compared to the major scale. We'll have other lessons to go in-depth on this, but let's just stick to learning the Am7 chord for now. 

Notice from the guitar chord diagrams I provided ONLY the following notes: A, C, E, and G are being used. If you have another note, such as a D or B note, it is no longer an A minor 7 chord!

That being said, you can have multiple A C E G notes, as shown in the chord diagrams, and they can be in any order. Listen how the different voicings sound, they are the same but slightly different. Think of it as different shades of the same color.

Now you know how to play the Am7 guitar chord in many different positions! Focus on memorizing a few voicings, then put them to practice by playing songs that use the Am7. I have listed a few songs below for you to check out.

How to use the Am7 guitar chord

By now, you've learned there are different types of guitar chords, but there are also different types of seventh chords! There are minor seventh, dominant seventh (sometimes called a dominant chord), major seventh, & minor major seventh chords.

The Am7 chord can be used as a chord substitution for the A minor chord. For example, In the key of C major, the basic chords are C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, and Bdim.

If we take a chord progression like C F Am G, we can create more interesting music by playing C F Am7 G.

Also, you may have noticed that when playing the Am7, you are adding a G note on the A minor chord, making the transition to the G chord flow better in this progression.

If you need to learn how to play these other guitar chords, click here to go to the
chord library.

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