Minor Seventh (m7) Guitar Chords - Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2 & 4 Voicings

Minor seventh chords are four-note chords that consist of a root, a minor third, a perfect fifth, and a minor seventh.

They are commonly used in various styles of music, including jazz, blues, pop and have a rich and somewhat jazzy sound.

This guitar lesson provides charts, shapes to learn to understand them better.

Jazz Guitar Chords Tutorial - Drop 2 Voicings

Jazz Guitar Chords Tutorial - Drop 3 Voicings

 How To Build A Minor 7 Chord?

Minor seventh chords are very important chords, they are built by stacking minor and major thirds. They contain four notes (tetrad chords). The formula is :

  • Root (R)
  • Minor third (b3)
  • Perfect fifth (5)
  • Minor seventh (b7).

Keep in mind that minor thirds span 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. ?

Formula R b3 5 b7
D minor chord D F A X
D minor seventh chord D F A C


Minor 7 Chord Notation

There are many ways of writing the same chord. It is often very confused for a jazz student. The main symbols for minor seventh chords (example in C) are Cm7, C-7, Cmin7, Cmi7.

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 bb7.

You can see that the second highest note (the fifth) is now the bass note . Drop 2 voicings are very important devices used for jazz chord arrangements.

What is An Inverted Voicing ?

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.

Root chord  R 5 b7 3
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 chord Shapes

These three guitar neck diagrams 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 lowest note on 4th string
Drop 2 minor 7 chords lowest note on 5th string
Drop 2 minor 7 chords lowest note on 6th string

What Are Drop 3 Voicings?

A drop 2 chord is built by dropping the third highest note of a close voicing to the bass.

Check the following link to learn more about drop 3 voicings.

Here are four drop 3 minor seventh voicings with guitar diagrams.

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 lowest note on 5th string
Drop 3 minor 7 chords lowest note on 6th string

What is a Drop 2-4 Voicing?

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.

How To Build Drop 2 & 4 minor 7 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.

Root Position R 5 b3 b7
1st inversion b3 b7 5 R
2nd inversion 5 R b7 b3
3rd inversion b7 b3 R 5


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.

Minor seventh drop 2 and 4 guitar voicings
Minor seventh drop 2 and 4 guitar chords
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Last edited: 2024-03-12

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