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7 Simple Ways to Play an F Minor 7 Chord on Guitar

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You can download and print all the F Minor 7 guitar chord shapes mentioned in this post for free by clicking here.

So you just found a song you’d love to play, you looked up the chords, and everything is fine and dandy, right? No! Darn that pesky F minor 7 chord lurking in the backend of the bridge section…

So today I’m going to make all your wishes come true and get you back to playing that song asap. You’ll also be able to play this chord in different parts of the neck too for any wacky chord progression that could arise in the future.

Let’s go!

Make Your First F Minor 7 Guitar Chord Shape

Righty ho, so that you can actually remember this thing once you’ve flown the Fm7 nest, we’re gonna build this chord together.

To start, we’re going to play an E minor 7 chord like this:

Yup I’m using a weird finger, you’ll see why in a second.

(For those who haven’t seen an Em7 before, normally we would fret that A string note with our 2nd finger)

Anyway, this shape uses the low E string as its bass note. From there, we build the rest of the minor 7 shape on top of that.

That means if we use an F note as a bass note, then build the same shape on top, we will get an Fm7 chord.

Luckily, there is an F note on the 1st fret of the low E string. If we want to turn this into an Fm7 chord, we just need to copy and paste the Em7 shape up to this fret!

That means just sliding this entire shape up a fret.

Making Fm7 using the E shape

Normally we would use our first finger to “barre” down all those notes on the first fret like a capo. These notes used to be played open in the Em7 shape. But, since we are shifting the whole shape up a fret, all the open strings need to move up a fret too. That means shifting them from the 0th fret, to the 1st fret.

However, with this shape, you’d need a finger the width of Dwayne Johnson’s bicep in order to press down all those damn strings…

Soooo lots of people cheat and make their own interpretations and skip certain notes to make it easier to play.

I’ll let you decide which version you like the most:

  1. Skip the low F bass note

Now you can focus your energy on just barring those higher strings.

  1. Shorten it down to just the top 4 strings.

It’s easy to play, can slide about nicely, and kinda has a different sound. If you’re looking for a quick way to play Fm7 for a song coming up tomorrow, this is your guy.

  1. Play the bass note and barre the middle notes

Yes, this shape looks as ugly as a gorilla in lingerie. But I actually find it weirdly comfortable and use this shape the most. Most jazz guys opt for this shape too, particularly if you want to hear that low bass note move as you shift chords.

  1. Move the 7th to a higher string

Now this one sounds just lushhh. Although it is a bit trickier.

It works because we’ve moved where we are playing the minor 7th note in the chord. Previously, we were playing it on the 1st fret of the D string, but here we use our pinkie finger to play this m7 note on a higher string instead.

I find that way you can properly hear this minor 7th note without it sounding muddy.

Anyway, all these F minor 7 chords are categorized under the E shape. And that’s because we used an E chord to make it! See, guitar does make sense…

^^Make sure you make a note of this, skimreading people!! It is very important for later on! ^^

How to Play an F Minor 7 Chord Elsewhere on the Guitar Neck

So we used the logic earlier of starting with an E minor 7. Then we shifted the same shape up the guitar fretboard to an F bass note, creating a new F minor 7 chord.

We can actually use the same logic with the A minor 7 chord shape. This will allow us to create another F minor 7 chord further up the guitar.

E.g. If most of the chords you are playing in a progression are around the 5th fret/7th fret area, you don’t want to have to slide all the way down the Mr Fret 1 over there.

So to make another shape, start with an A minor 7 chord, played like this:

Then slide your 3rd finger up to the 10th fret and your 2nd finger up to the 9th fret.

After that, smack your first finger across the 8th fret to squish down all those strings that would have just been left open in the A minor 7 chord.

Voilà! There’s your next shape. Surprise surprise, this one is called the A shape. But a very nice sounding chord if I do say so myself…

No cheating in this one I’m afraid, so you’re just gonna have to get used to that barre.

Make sure that you do not play the low E string in this shape. The whole reason it works is that we are now using the F note on the 8th fret of the A string as our bass note.

If you don’t believe me, then play the 1st fret of the E string, then the 8th fret of the A string. They’re the same note! Just the A string note is an octave higher.

Using this new F bass note, we can make this shape too:

And this one is kinda cool because we can make a super fancy Fm11 chord just by barring that higher string too.

F minor 11 chord diagram image

Give it a play, and you’ll realize how cool it sounds. In most cases, you should be able to use that in place of the normal minor 7 chord. So throw it in a song and see if it works 🙂

You can download and print all the F Minor 7 guitar chord shapes mentioned in this post for free by clicking here.

Use These Shapes to Make Every Chord Ever!

Alrighty readers, get your musical thinking caps on because this going to take a bit of brain yoga. But trust me, it’ll be worth it!

Okay, let’s think about how we made those shapes earlier, particularly the E shape.

We found a minor 7 chord that could be played with open strings, then we shifted the shape up the fretboard. We did this using the concept of bass notes.

By finding an F bass note, we could then stick the rest of the chord shape after it, using our index finger to barre any strings down that used to be open, like a capo.

So what if we moved this E shape up to use a different bass note? For example, the G note on the 3rd fret of the E string?

Building a Gm7 using the E shape

Well, congratulations! You have just made a G minor 7 chord. It is the exact same shape as the F minor 7 chord, but with a G bass note instead.

In fact, you can use this to make ANY minor 7 chord, granted you are using an E string bass note as your starting point.

Notes on the guitar fretboard/neck

Above is a diagram of all the notes on your guitar fretboard. You can see the F on the 1st fret of the low E string, and a G on the 3rd fret.

If we look at the 7th fret of the low E string, we see a B note. Soooo, shift this E shape up to fret 7, and you get a B minor 7 chord! Shift it up to fret 8, and you get a C minor 7 chord. Shift it up to fret 100?! That’s right! You get… Oh, forget fret 100…

Anyway, I hope what I’m saying makes sense.

We can use the same logic with our A shape too.

You can see on the 8th fret of the A string, there is the F note that we used as our bass note earlier.

So, slide this A shape down to the B note on fret 2, and you get the other way to play B minor 7. Slide it to the C note on fret 3, and you get C minor 7 again, etc.

That way, you haven’t just found 7 ways to play an F minor 7 chord on guitar… you’ve found 7 ways to play ANY minor 7th chord on guitar!

Phew, that’s some complicated stuff. Reread this section if you need to.

If it doesn’t make sense to you, then just ask me. You can comment, message me on Pinterest, or email me at [email protected]. Understanding this now will ensure you don’t need to look up another minor 7th guide ever again 🙂

Tips for Practising These Chords

You’ve come to learn these chords because you want to play them in a song, right? Great! Because this section happens to be full of tips on how to get you doing that fast.

  • Tip 1 – Get a bouncy ball!

Finding barring down all those notes quite tiring on the old index finger?

Good, that means you are normal.

In order to make bar/barre chords easier to play, we first need to strengthen our pincer muscles. These are the muscles that do all the flattening for us.

Bouncy ball bar chord practice GIF

By squidging a bouncy ball between our index finger and our thumb – as show above – we can help to build up these muscles.

Can you see the pincer muscles around the thumb working? Doing a few reps of this at random points throughout the day should make barring chords more effortless.

  • Use The Switch Method

Anyone who has read my posts on playing chords in the past knows I would marry The Switch Method if I could. Alas, stuck in the friend zone…

So what you want to do is as follows:

  1. Find 2 chords that you are trying to learn. E.g. Fm7 (E shape) and Fm7 (A shape)
  1. If we play the Fm7 (A shape) on the 1st fret of the A string, we get Bbm7. For the purpose of ease, we’ll practise the A shape here instead.
  1. The task is to continuously switch between these chords for a few minutes. Fm7 to Bbm7 to Fm7 to Bbm7…
  1. Have a break and do it again at random points in the day until these changes feel comfortable. After that, BOOM! You’re ready to play an F minor 7 chord on guitar in a real life song 🙂
  1. If you want to learn other F minor 7 shapes, you can extend the exercise by adding more shapes to the sequence. You could even place these on the 3rd or 4th frets to force yourself to get used to moving about. E.g. Fm7 – Bbm7 – Gm7 (E shape 3rd fret)

Feel free to add any more chords you want to learn to the sequence too.

Anyway, this is a super efficient way of getting your fingers to plonk down where you want them. Soon enough, your fingers will be flying through these chords faster than Sonic in speedos.

Wrapping It Up

See? You came here wanting to learn a single chord, and now you know all of them!

Jee, Beast Mode Guitar is just the gift that keeps on giving…

Have fun playing those wonderful chords.

I’ve been Sam Olverson.


P.S. If you want to know how to play the other bar chord variations, such as major, minor, and the other 7ths, then click here to view my post on that!


Sam is a guitar teacher and educator, with his main goal being to give people advice that they can truly rely on. He strives to teach through modern and effective techniques that actually provide results. Getting good at guitar was always his dream, and this blog outlines the steps he took to achieve total guitar freedom from scratch.

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