Are you new to playing 7th chords? Feeling confused about what the number 7 actually means? The number 7 means that we take the 7th note of the scale and add it to the existing 3 notes that make up a traditional chord.
Today we’re going to be focusing on the Bm7 guitar chord and the different variations found throughout the fretboard. As you’ve may have already learned from our previous article, B Minor / Bm Guitar Chord, the 3 notes that form a Bm chord are B, D, and F#.
If we want to play a Bm7, we need to add the 7th note of the scale to our existing 3 notes, which is the note A in the case of B minor. If we put these 4 notes together, we have a Bm7 guitar chord – B, D, F#, and A.
Why are 7th chords so awesome?
Ask any experienced guitarist, and you’ll find that their love of 7th chords will be endless! By using them, you can add more character to your playing style; whether it’s jazzy softness or dramatic tension, there will be a 7th chord that can do it!
You’ll commonly find them in all kinds of musical genres, such as neo-soul, blues, and hip-hop. So it’s essential that you learn how they’re formed (and played) so that you can have a well-rounded knowledge of chords.
3 Ways to play a Bm7 Guitar Chord (Without Barre)
Simplified Bm7 – 2nd Fret
This is, without a doubt, the simplest way to play a Bm7 guitar chord. It’s played on the 2nd fret, so it’s easy to combine with other open chords (such as D, G, and A), making it perfect for beginner guitarists looking to add a bit of flavor to their guitar knowledge!
When playing this variation of Bm7, make sure that you don’t play the low E string and prevent your fingers from accidentally muting the open D and B string. This chord’s finger positioning will help you play different variations of the Bm7 chord further up the guitar neck.
Check out how to play the simplified Bm7 chord here:
Bm7 – 2nd Fret (Variation)
If you’re comfortable with the simplified Bm7 guitar chord on the 2nd fret, then it should be a piece of cake learning this variation of the 7th chord! All you need to do is move your 3rd/4th finger from the high E string to the B string and up 1 position to the 3rd fret.
With this simple movement, you can now interchange between 2 different Bm7 chord shapes located on the 2nd fret!
Here is how the variation should look on your fretboard:
Bm7 – 7th Fret
This version of the Bm7 guitar chord is the bread and butter for most Jazz guitarists! The fact that this relatively simple shape can be moved up and down the fretboard (to play countless different 7th chords) makes it a must-know for guitarists.
Personally, this is one of my all-time favorite shapes on guitar because it can be combined easily with a host of other major, minor, and dominant 7th chords.
Take a look at the diagram below to learn the chord shape:
3 Ways to play a Bm7 Guitar Chord with Barre
Bm7 Barre Chord – 2nd Fret
As you might know, barre chords can take a while to master. However, if you’re familiar with the traditional B minor barre chord on the 2nd fret, then the Bm7 version should be no problem!
All you need to do is remove your 4th finger from the normal Bm barre chord, and you instantly have the Bm7. It’s that simple!
Bm7 Barre Chord – 7th Fret
If you were surprised by how easy it was to change the B minor into a 7th on the 2nd fret, then you’re going to be equally impressed with this chord. Again, all you need to do to form the Bm7 is to remove your 4th finger, and there you have it!
Bm7 Barre Chord – 7th Fret (Advanced Variation)
You might have noticed that many Bm7 guitar chords are located around the 7th fret, and that’s because the B note is located here on the low E string. To finish off, we have a much trickier variation that, when played correctly, offers a beautiful rich tone.
This chord shape can be uncomfortable to play because we have to position our 2nd finger 2 frets away from our 1st finger barre. This can prove difficult for many players learning 7th chords as it requires new finger dexterity and flexibility. Don’t worry if it’s hard at first; keep practicing, and the rewards will be worth it!
Try out this chord progression in the key of G major!
- G, Bm7, Am7
The Bm7 chord can be found on the 3rd degree of the G major scale and combines well with Am7 to give that relaxing jazz feel.
If you’re looking for some 4 chord inspiration, then check out this progression in D major:
- D, Bm7, G, A
So now that you’ve mastered the Bm7 guitar chord, you should keep on expanding your knowledge of major, minor, and dominant 7th chords. Be sure to visit our B Major 7 and B7 Guitar Chords article (coming soon), so you can perfect all the 7’s!
Feel like sharing? We always love to hear about your Bm7 learning experience (and how you use this new chord in your playing repertoire). Comment below with any questions/comments, and we welcome the discussion!