Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chord "Deux" Jour Challenge: Fmaj7 and Am7

I want you to learn two chords every day, until the last day of the season (December 20). If you've missed a day, please refer to this list. You have your choice between the guitar and the piano (keyboard), or both. If you're a beginner, I'll show you relatively simple ways to play each chord. If you're more advanced, you'll have the entire fretboard and/or keyboard to explore.

Simple guitar chord voicings are marked with a number representing the recommended fingers to use for fretting a chord:

1 index finger
2 middle finger
3 ring finger
4 little finger
o play open string
x do not play open string
( bar one finger over more than one string
T that rare occasion that I recommend you use your thumb to fret a note

Here's the F (major) major 7th chord (Fmaj7). If you pronounce Fmaj7 as F major 7th, other musicians will understand what you're talking about:

Beginning guitarists often find that the F chord is the hardest to fret because their fingers are just getting tough enough to press on the strings -- at least that was true for me. In the struggle to play a proper F, I probably played an accidental Fmaj7. To intentionally play an Fmaj7, just take the F chord, and leave the high E string open. Strum the D, G, B, and high E strings.

Keyboardists, any combination of F, A, C, and E notes will create the Fmaj7 chord. Be careful to keep the F and E notes about an octave or more apart; otherwise, you might have a more dissonant-sounding chord than you might want.

Here's the A minor (minor) 7th chord (Am7). Just call it A minor 7th:

Guitarists, there are two ways to look at this particular iteration of Am7: Take the C chord, and raise your ring finger off the A string. Or take the Am chord, and raise your ring finger off the G string. Strum the A, D, G, B, and high E strings.

Keyboardists, any combination of A, C, E, and G notes create the Am7 chord.

If you are a beginner, please keep practicing these chords, as well as previous chords. If you are more advanced, please discover new voicings. We'll have two more chords tomorrow. Cheers!

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