The Am7 guitar chord is the symbol for A minor with flat 7th. We show how to use the Am7 in several contexts, to understand how to apply it to any key.
First, it is important to notice that this is a four note chord, or tetrad, with is formed from the harmonic field of the A minor scale or C major.
On one hand, this chord can be part of the A minor key, where this chord if the first one in the harmonic field.
But frequently this is also used in the In the C major key, this is the 6th chord, the relative minor of C.
In this page, you’ll find basic information about the Am7 chord, but also some more advanced techniques to take advantage of this chord in your songs.
The Basic Am Chord
Before we deal with the Am7 chord, let’s recap the basic Am chord. The Am chord is a triad, that is, it has only three notes: A, C, and E. These three notes are separated by thirds, and the first third interval is a minor interval: therefore, this is a minor chord.
To build the Am chord in the guitar, we need to find configurations for the triad A, C, E in the fretboard. Here are some common possibilities used by guitar players:
How to Play Am7 on Guitar
Apart from the basic position, there are many options that you can use to play this Am7 chord. Another common possibility for this chord is building the root on the 5th fret:
Am7 Guitar Chord: Easy Way
If you’re just starting playing the guitar, you may look for some easy ways to play the same chord. There are plenty of other ways to play this chord in a way that may easier for your.
And here is still another easy way to play this chord, this time starting on the 4th string, 7th fret. The advantage of this method is that you don’t need to use a bar chord:
Positions for the Am7 Chord
The Am7 guitar chord can have several formations, depending on the desired position on the guitar neck.
The most common position is the open position with root on the 5th string:
Another common position for this chord is with the key note in the sixth string, 5th fret:
Still another position for the Am7 chord starts on the 4th string:
Am7 Guitar Chord: Easy Way to Play
Another easy way to play the Am7 chord is to exploit the open 5th string to simplify the finger position.
A common way to create new chords in the guitar is to use one or more open strings. This way, you can get a useful sound without bending your fingers…
Here is an example with the Am7 chord:
You need to use the open 5th string, and a single bar to hold the other strings in the 5th fret.
Am7 Chord as a Tetrad
Tetrads are used to create more colorful versions of the basic chords. And you create a tetrad chord by adding the third after the 5th, which is the seventh.
The Am7 chord contains, therefore, a tetrad that contains the three basic notes A-C-E, which are the fundamental, third, and fifth. But it also contains the 7th, which in this case is G.
Uses of the Am7 Chord
The Am7 chord is very versatile, and can be used in several situations. You should learn to use the Am7 in several contexts, to understand the way it can be applied in different keys.
For example, in the C major key, the Am7 is a 6th chord. This can be used, for example, in the 1-6-2-5 chord sequence. Several songs use this type of movement.
In the E minor key, the Am7 is a 4th chord.
On the other hand, in the G major key, the Am7 is a 2nd chord of the harmonic sequence.
Moreover, in the F major key, the Am7 may appear as a 3rd chord.
In the A minor chord, the Am7 is a root chord.
Finding the Harmonic Context for Am7
As you see, the use of this chord will change depending on the harmonic context. To analyze the correct harmonic context of Am7 you need to do the following:
- Determine the tonic of the song you’re playing.
- Determine if there was any change in the tonality inside the song.
- Based on this, measure the interval between the tonic and the chord Am7 that you’re playing.
- With this information, you can determine if you’re plain a forth, second, or other interval.
Also notice that the Am7 chord can only appear where a minor chord is usable. For example, if the harmony is asking for a dominant chord, then you cannot use the Am7.
Famous Songs Containing the Am7 Chord
Here is a quick list of famous songs that contain the Am7 chord:
Variations of the Am7 chord
This chord has several variations, forming a family of chords, including the following:
Am7/9: This chord includes the minor seventh and ninth. It is a slightly dissonant chord that can be used in many songs and variations.
Am7/5b: This minor chord is used as the 2 in the 2-5-1 sequence, when the 1 is the G minor chord.
The Am/G and Am7/G Guitar Chord
This is yet another variation of the Am chord. It is used frequently when moving from Am7 to F. This way, you can use Am7/G as a middle step between these two chords.
Am7/G: This form of the A minor 7th chord. Guitar players frequently use it when the moving bass is going down, so it works well as a passage chord.
Different Ways to Notate The Am7 Chord
That’s why there are different ways to represent the Am7 chord. It can be notated as:
- Am7: the most common way in north America.
- A-7: another notation, where the minus sign is used to denote the minor chord.
- Amin7: this version is used in a few song books, to make it clear that you’re referring to a minor chord.
- The number 7 can also be placed above the chord symbol, as a superscript.
- a7: In classical music notation, it is sometimes used the lower case a as representing the minor chord (the major chord with seventh would be A7).
All these ways are valid notations for the same chord. So, you may find this in the songs you’re reading.
Where the Use the Am7 Chord
The simple version is that the Am7 chord can be used in practically any place that the Am chord is also used.
The reason is that the 7th note in this chord is compatible with practically any situation where the Am triad works. There are very few places where the Am7 would not work as well, or better, than the Am7 triad.
Other Important Chords
Here are some other important related chords that you also need to learn:
Notice that these chords are all part of the harmonic field of the major or minor scale. If you really want to become proficient in these chords you have to get a good grasp of the harmonic fields, which gives you a large number of chords you can choose from.
Check How to Play This Chord
The following video gives you a little more clues about how to play this chord:
Here is another video that demonstrate the Am7:
Learning to Play the Guitar
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