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Unread 01-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Am7

I play this chord by barring the fifth fret and putting my third finger on the A string at the seventh fret. However, in videos I've seen people play this chord totally at the fifth fret by wrapping their thumb around the low E string and maybe muting the A string or letting it ring? Same with a Bm7 at the seventh fret.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 10:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

I bar the 1st through 4th strings with my ring finger (3rd finger?), and reach up and catch the low A (on the 6th (E) string) with my middle finger. That also mutes the 5th string.

If you are not playing the E note (5th of the Am7 chord) on the 5th string, 7th fret, then you definitely mute that string. Whether you play it like I described or wrap around your thumb.

I like the way I do it because I barely have to move my fingers to play the IV chord (D9).

Of course, all this applies to all the m7 chords, not just the Am7.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 12:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

I do it the thumb way. I've always played with my thumb and considered it to be technically incorrect but as I'm self taught and not a virtuoso it's never bothered me too much. Once I started watching videos, I realised a lot of the old blues guys play that way as does John Mayer so I reckon I'm in good company
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Unread 01-18-2013, 02:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

Why does this work, theory-wise, without the E note on the A string?
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Unread 01-18-2013, 02:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

If I understand your description correctly, there's an E on the second string?

Diagrams would help.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 02:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
I bar the 1st through 4th strings with my ring finger (3rd finger?), and reach up and catch the low A (on the 6th (E) string) with my middle finger. That also mutes the 5th string.
Me too. Makes it real easy to move to a root-five 7th or 9th chord and back.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 04:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

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Why does this work, theory-wise, without the E note on the A string?
As already mentioned, there is a 5 (E) on the 2nd string. But that's not a requirement.

While a full description of a chord like a m7 is root, m3rd, 5th, b7th. There's no law that says you have to play all the notes.

In fact in jazz it is VERY common to NOT play the 5th at all, and even common to not play the root. That is particularly true when there is a bass player or other instrument defining the root.

For example, a common way to play a D7 at the 5th fret is to play just three notes, A, F#, C (chord 5th, 3rd, b7th). These are played A (5th fret, 6th string), F# (4th fret, 4th string), C (5th fret, 3rd string).

All other strings muted or avoided.

FYI, this exact same fingering for this D7 can be viewed as an Am6 (A-root, F#-6th, C-m3rd.

Or an A diminished (A-root, F#-bb7, C - m3rd).

Context determines the most appropriate way to define it.

It's also very easy to move your finger off the A down to the D on the 5th fret, 5th string for an alternating bass.

Point is, there are lots of really great chords that are made like this without a 5th especially.

The 5th brings relatively little to define a chord since almost all chords have the 5th.

Obviously the music determines what is needed. I.E., gotta have a 5th if you're banging out power chords.

Something to those who haven't "discovered" these 3 note and similar chords (essentially jazz rhythm chords), they are really great sounding chords, and often time very, very easy to play. By not playing a full 6 note chord, and avoiding duplicate notes, like 5ths an octave apart, it leaves more room for soloing. And just generally a more open sound.

Like anything, it's not all things all the time, but another arrow, or ten, in your quiver.
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Last edited by spitfire; 01-19-2013 at 10:13 AM.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 02:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
...a common way to play a D7 at the 5th fret is to play just three notes, A, F#, C (chord 5th, m3rd, b7th)...
Typo:

F# is the major third (3, or sometimes M3), not the minor third (m3 or b3).

(Spitfire - I know that you know that, it's just a typo, I'm just pointing it out for anyone who didn't realise. )

But the info is good.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 10:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

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Originally Posted by huw View Post
Typo:

F# is the major third (3, or sometimes M3), not the minor third (m3 or b3).

(Spitfire - I know that you know that, it's just a typo, I'm just pointing it out for anyone who didn't realise. )

But the info is good.
Thanks for catching that. I had m3rd on the brain due to discussing Am7. I did go ahead and edit it to avoid misleading anyone else that reads that post.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 10:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

There's more than one way to skin a cat...dig into your theory and learn to fish, you'll get a lot more in the long run than having it spoon fed to you
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Unread 01-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

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Originally Posted by spitfire View Post
I bar the 1st through 4th strings with my ring finger (3rd finger?), and reach up and catch the low A (on the 6th (E) string) with my middle finger. That also mutes the 5th string.

Of course, all this applies to all the m7 chords, not just the Am7.
Likewise.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 05:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

Lots of ways to lay Am7--as long as you have the A and the G you will get some semblance of the chord. Of course the C is important if you want to have it as a m7 chord, and the E helps fill it out.

So since you asked about Am7-as long as you have some combination of A, C & G you have it--and you can add the E too.

I normally play it with a barre at the fifth fret and the 7th fret on the 5th string, but I will also sometimes add the 8th fret on the second string (which is a G)
I also often play it as an open chord--like an Am with the G added on the first string or on the third by playing that one open--and sometimes both.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 06:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Am7

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Originally Posted by twst1up View Post
dig into your theory and learn to fish, you'll get a lot more in the long run than having it spoon fed to you
What? Posing a question on this forum isn't digging?
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