Minor Seventh (m7) Chord Shapes - Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2 & 4 Voicings
What are minor seventh chords ?
What are Minor Seventh Chords ?
Minor seventh chords are made up of a root (1), minor third (b3), perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). You can build minor 7 chords by stacking minor and major thirds. Keep in mind that minor thirds spanning three semitones and major thirds four semitones. Let's take for example the Dm7 chord. It is built with D, F, A and C. The interval between D and F is a minor third (3 semitones). The interval between F and A is a major third (4 semitones) and there is a minor third between A and C.
|D minor chord||D||F||A||X|
|D minor seventh chord||D||F||A||C|
Abbreviated Chord Symbols
There are many ways of writing the same chord. It is often very confused for a jazz student to become familiar with all the nomenclature for writing chords. The main symbols for minor seventh chords (example in C) are Cm7, C-7, Cmin7, Cmi7.
Drop 2 minor seventh chord voicings
What are Drop 2 Chords ?
Drop 2 chords are are built by dropping the second highest note of a four-notes close voicing to the bass. Minor seventh close chord formula is 1-b3-5-b7 giving the following drop 2 chord formula 5-1-b3-b7. Drop 2 voicings are very important devices used for jazz chord arrangements.
What is An Inverted Chord ?
It means that the notes of the chord are inverted. The root of an inverted chord is not in the bass. As you can see in the guitar diagrams above, there can be a minor third, a fifth or a minor seventh in the bass. Here are four drop 2 minor seventh chord voicings (The therm "voicings" is the order of notes in a chord), including three inversions.
|1st inversion (minor third in the bass)||b3||b7||R||5|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||R||b3||b7|
|3rd inversion (minor seventh in the bass)||b7||b3||5||R|
Drop 2 minor 7 chords
These three illustrations show you how to play the four drop 2 voicings on guitar with the lowest notes on the fourth, fifth or sixth string. Each position is represented by a specific color. The root voicing is marked in black, the first inversion is in blues, the second in red and the third is in green.
Drop 2 Minor 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 6th string
Root position # 1
Drop 2 Minor 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 5th string
Root position # 2
Drop 2 Minor 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 4th string
Root position # 3
Minor 7 guitar chords - Drop 3 voicings
Here are four drop 3 minor seventh voicings with guitar diagrams. If you want to learn more about drop 3 voicings, please check out this blog lesson.
|Drop 3 root position||R||b7||b3||5|
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||b3||R||5||b7|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||b3||b7||R|
|3rd inversion (seventh in the bass)||b7||5||R||b3|
Drop 3 minor seventh voicings
These two guitar neck diagrams show the relationships between the four drop 3 voicings previously seen in the formula chart above. The first has chords with the lowest note on the fifth string, whereas the second has the lowest note on the sixth string. Also, you can see that each voicing is marked with a different color. Black for the root position, blues for the first inversion, red for the second and green for the third.
Drop 3 minor 7 chords - Bass on 6th string
Drop 3 minor 7 chords - Bass on 5th string
Drop 2 and 4 minor 7 Voicings
Drop 2 and 4 voicings are not the most used in jazz music, but can be very useful when you want to create new sonorities. They also provide an effective way to learn your guitar freatboard. Drop 2-4 chords can be used in place or to complement drop 2 and drop 3 chords in solo or duo, when you need to accompany a singer or a soloist.
Drop 2 & 4 min7 Voicings
To build a Drop 2 & 4 voicing you have to take a close position voicing and drop the second the fourth note an octave down. Thereby giving a new voicing which is R - b3 - 5 - b7. This new minor 7 voicings will produce three other inverted voicings that are :
- b3 - b7 - 5 - R
- 5 - R - b7 - b3
- b7 - b3 - R - 5
You can see that the first inversion has the minor third (b3) in the bass, the second inverted voicing has the fifth in the bass (5) and the third inversion has the minor seventh in the bass.
Drop 2 and 4 minor 7 Guitar Shapes
The two shapes below show how to play minor 7 drop 2 and 4 voicings on guitar. The root position is in black, the first inversion is in blue, the second in red and the third in green. The chords in the first shape have there basses on sixth string whereas the chords in the second diagram have basses on the fifth string. Please notice that drop 2 & 4 voicings occur a string skip between the second and third highest note. This is the particularity of Drop 2-4 voicings.
Related minor modes and scales
Here are the minor scales related to the minor seventh chords. By stacking the root, the minor third, the perfect fifth and the minor seventh of each minor mode below we obtain a minor seventh chord. It means that you can improvise over any m7 chord using these following scales.
This is the second mode of the major scale.
|Formula||1||2 (9)||b3||4 (11)||5||6 (13)||b7|
This is the third mode of the major scale
|Formula||1||b2 (b9)||b3||4(11)||5||b6 (b13)||b7|
Aeolian mode (natural minor scale)
Sixth mode of the major scale (natural minor scale).
Harmonic minor mode IV :
Dorian #11 (minor).
Dorian b9 (minor).
The second mode of the melodic minor scale.
Dorian bebop scale
Compared to the dorian mode this scale has an additional note, a major third, between the minor third (b3) and the fourth.
Minor pentatonic scale
Minor blues scale
|Formula||1||b3 (b10 or #9)||4 (11)||b5 (#11 or #4)||5||b7|
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Last edited: 12/24/2018