What’s sharper than a machete? That’s right, an F sharp. And not just any kind of F sharp, oh no no no…
The F sharp minor 7th variant, the sharpest of them all. *Whisper* I’ve even heard stories that when someone touched it, they got a paper cut! Hmmpf, maybe that was actually just the paper...
Anyway, today I’ll be going over how to play an F sharp minor 7 chord on guitar so that you can ace that chord progression you are trying to learn!
F# Minor 7 – The E Shape
Because there isn’t any F sharp minor 7 open shape that any sane person uses, we’ll have to configure our own… And the best way to do that is through using bar chords.
If you’ve never touched them before, then don’t worry. They’re not that scary and they’re super useful.
So you’ll want to start by playing an E minor 7 chord – bear with me – like this:
Notice how the open E string note is our bass note in this chord, right? So if we shifted this chord shape up two frets so that F# becomes our bass note instead, we’d get an F# minor 7 chord.
However, to play all of those strings that were open once upon a time, we’ll have to use a “barring” technique.
To do this, you’ll want to place the underside edge of your index finger across the 2nd fret, and press down so that each string rings out clearly.
But HELLLLLLLLLLL no. That just ain’t gonna happen. And even I, as the best guitarist of all time, find that chord practically impossible to play.
So most of us will shorten the shape down a bit, and play the chord like this:
Or you can play it like this if it’s more comfortable:
Spot the finger with the paper cut…
So they’re a couple of common ones. But it’s also fairly common to see people skip the bass note, and just bar down the top 4 strings with their index finger.
So choose whichever one you like the sound and feel of the most. And remember, this is a safe place. I will neither judge you nor ridicule you for your choice…
Unless you somehow misread the labels in your cupboard and put sugar in your tea, just to taste it and realize that it was actually salt. Tee-hee, that’d be funny…
You’ve Just Learnt Every Minor 7th Chord!
Yup, you heard me correctly. So here’s why…
When we made the F sharp minor 7 guitar chord shape, we found the E minor 7 variant first, then shifted it up so that F# became our bass note. From there we rearranged the chord a tad to make it more playable, right?
So using that logic, if we moved this shape up to fret 7 and used the B note there as our E string bass note instead, we’d get a B minor 7 chord!
In fact, this will work for any minor 7 chord we want to create.
Wanna make a C#m7 chord? – Just shift this shape up to the 9th fret.
Wanna make a Gm7 chord? – Just slap it on the 3rd fret.
Wanna make a Dbm7b5#9#13b11+23÷4.5 chord? – Then go take a maths class, music won’t help you here.
But in order to know which new variant of each chord you are making, you kinda need to know the notes on the E string.
That way, when you want to make a specific chord, you know exactly which fret to play the shape on.
I also really recommend learning the notes on the A string whilst you’re at it. This’ll help you massively with the second minor 7 shape.
F# Minor 7 – The A Shape
Alright, so knowing one bar chord shape is great and all… But knowing two is wayyyy better.
Because the chances are, F sharp minor 7 won’t be the only barred guitar chord you play in a progression.
Often, you’ll play entire songs with bar chords and hop around to each different one as they come.
And that’s fine, until you start having to make hella gigantic leaps from the 9th fret to the 2nd fret when changing from C#m7 to F#m7… Boy! I’m wincing just thinking about it…
But that’s where the A shapes come in. So start by playing an Am7, like this:
Then slide this shape up 9 frets until your 3rd finger is chilling right next to the 12th fret double dots, and rest down your index finger across the 9th fret.
And since our bass notes for this shape are on the A string, we can skip out the low E string when barring. So we only need to press down the highest 5 strings in this shape!
Bada-bing, bada-boom. There’s your second way to play an F#m7 bar chord. And it works because we use the F# on the 9th fret of the A string as our bass note.
How do I know that? Well, a good magician never reveals his secrets… But I’m a terrible magician, so I’ll tell you anyway.
I only know there’s an F# there because I learnt the notes on the A string too. So now, like with the E string, we can shift this shape to any fret we want and create different chords.
That’s why you need to learn the notes on those lowest two strings, kids!
And the best thing about this is shape is that we don’t even have to change it because it’s pretty friendly already. Hoorah!
Tips for Practising Bar Chords
Bar chord are cool, but they do take a bit of practice.
So here’s a tip or two to help you out with all that:
- Bouncy ball time!
What better way is there to get good at bar chords than squidging a bouncy ball? That’s right, there isn’t any!
So dig out that bouncy ball that’s been under the sofa glaring at you for the past 7 years, and squeeze it. Like this:
Why do I want you to do this seemingly random and weird thing?
Well, it’s because this will help to train up your pincer muscle. And that’s the muscle that your index finger uses for strength when barring.
So do reps like these for a couple of weeks, and those bar chords should feel like a piece of cake in no time!
Imagine if bar chords actually felt like cake…
- Use The Switch Method
If you wanna quickly learn a new chord shape, then use The Switch Method, baby!
OK, that just came across as cringy and a bit excessive… But it’s only because I just loooove the switch method!
So here’s how you do it:
- Find 2 chords that you are trying to learn. E.g. C#m7 (E shape) and F#m7 (A shape)
- Switch between them continuously for a few minutes. C#m7 to F#m7 to C#m7 to F#m7…
- Have a break and do it again until these changes feel comfortable.
- Add an extra chord to the mix. E.g. Bm7 (E shape)
- Switch from C#m7 to F#m7 to Bm7 to C#m7 to F#m7 to Bm7 for a few minutes
- Once this feels comfortable, add another chord. E.g. Em (A shape)
And after you’ve given that a go and all those changes feel easy, then congrats! You have successfully earned your Beast Mode Guitar licence to play Minor 7 bar chords.
I bet you thought this day would never come.
Wrapping It Up
Phew, that was a tough one… I had to stay sharp the entire way through haha!
Crowd Member 1: Boooooooooo!
Oooh, well someone’s being a bit cutting hoho!
Crowd Member 2: Hissssssss!
Alright, alright. I’ll just have to go back to sharpening my pencils!
Crowd Member 3: Get off the stage you twit!
The fact I’m a guitarist and not a stand-up comedian still amazes me to this day.
Anyway, errr yeah, F sharp minor 7… Just do what it says in this post, and you’ll get good at it pretty quickly.
I’ve been Sam Olverson,