Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In a previous lesson I taught you several minor seventh chords—Am7, Em7, and Dm7—and this time we’ll go over a few more.

The Work

As you know, a minor triad is built from the root, the minor third, and the fifth. Example 1 shows the notes in an F# minor triad (F# A C#). To make it a minor seventh chord, just add the minor seventh (in this case, E), as shown in Example 2.


While most of these lessons include both open and barre shapes, this time the chords are most practical to play with barres only. Example 3a shows how to get to F#m7 from F#m using second-position voicings, while Example 3b depicts a couple of alternate shapes. For the first chord in Ex. 3b, all you need to do is add your fourth finger to the F#m shape, doubling the minor seventh (E) on string 2; the second F#m7 is a compact shape favored by jazz guitarists. Example 4 shows how to form F#m7 at the ninth fret.

F#, C#, and Bm7 chord notation tab lesson

Repeat the above process with C#m7 and Bm7 chords, as shown in Examples 5–8. For Exs. 6 and 8, try the alternate voicings shown in Ex. 3b, but in ninth and seventh positions, respectively, as I demonstrate in the video.

The Result

You should now be able to make various F#, C#, and Bm7 shapes from their minor-triad counterparts. One song that makes use of all three of these chords is “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. In the next lesson we’ll revisit dominant ninth chords.

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