Learn To Play The Em 7 Guitar Chord

The E minor 7th or Em 7 Guitar Chord, is a minor 7th chord as the name suggests. It has 4 notes. E G B and D. Em is the tonic of the key E minor, which has 4 sharps.

E minor sounds very melancholic and beautiful, and goes great with the chords Am7 and B7 .

In this article we will show you many ways to play the Em7 chord and breakdown the components of a 7th chord so you can play them on any root note.

We also have a frequently asked questions section so you can clear up any confusion you might be having. Keep reading to learn how to play the E minor 7 guitar chord.

Related: Guitar Chord Basics, Theory, & Mastery

em 7 guitar chord

Related: Learn To Play The A minor 7

How To Play The Em 7 Guitar Chord

The most common way to play Em7 is in the open position. Open position chords are the chords most guitarists learn to play first, so that is why they are the most popular.

BEWARE: THIS IS SUPER DIFFICULT! Try it out for yourself to see how it sounds:

Method 1 – Open Chord

open em7
  • Place your middle (or index finger, it really doesn’t matter) on the 2nd fret of the 5th string. (B)
  • The open strings are E, D, G, B, and E. All chord tones in Em7!

Em7 Barre Chord

The second most popular way is more advanced. Play these two different versions back to back to hear the substantial difference. 

Chord voicings are not about choosing which is more difficult to play, it’s about the sound you like. 

Method 2 – Barre Chord

Em7 guitar chord
  • Place index finger on the 7th fret and barre the top 5 strings. (E and D)
  • Place the middle finger on the 8th fret of the 2nd string. (G)
  • Place the ring finger on the 9th fret of the 4th string. (B)

Barre Chords Bonus Tip!

Having trouble with your barre chords? Believe me, you’re not alone. The difficulty that comes with barre chords is often caused by gripping the neck too hard.

Remember that It should never hurt to play the guitar. Many new guitarists avoid barre chords altogether because of their difficulty, but the solution is easier than you might think…

  • Place your index finger on all the strings on the 1st fret. Tuck your other fingers back so you don’t rely on them to produce sound.
  • Without pressing your finger down, strum the guitar. The strings should sound muted.
  • Slowly increase the pressure of your index finger and strum between every addition of effort.

The purpose of this small exercise is to experience just how much effort you really need to produce sound on the guitar. You will find that not much is actually required.

  • Using the minimal amount of effort, continue to barre every fret up the neck without the help of your other fingers. Every time you strum, you should hear each note ring clearly. 
  • Do this exercise anytime you are having trouble playing a barre chord.

Alternate Ways To Play

If those last 2 methods weren’t to your liking, try these out!

Method 3 – Beginner

Em7 chord
  • Barre the top 4 strings with your index finger!

Method 4 – Intermediate

E minor 7 guitar chord
  • Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th string.
  • Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string.
  • Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string.
  • Place your pinky on the 3rd fret of the 1st string.

Method 5 – Expert

Em7 chord

Definitely not the most ergonomic! This is an odd chord shape, but it just goes to show that as long as you have the right notes, you’re playing an Em7 chord!

  • Place your index finger on the  8th fret of the 2nd string.
  • Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 4th string.
  • Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd string.
  • Place your pinky on the 10th fret of the 1st string.

What Songs Use E minor 7th?

How many of these songs can you play?

Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On

Elliot Smith – Say Yes

Oasis – Live Forever

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd

Crumb – Locket

E minor 7 Guitar Chord Theory

Don’t let the word “theory” scare you from learning music. A little music theory never hurt anybody!

What Notes are in an Em7 chord?

Em7 has 4 notes: E G B and D. When playing with seventh chords, it is not uncommon to omit the 5th. This is because the 5th is implied. 

The root tells us which chord we are on, and the 3rd and 7th denote the quality of the chord. However the 5th doesn’t serve an essential purpose, so sometimes you might see an em7 chord with the notes E G and D.

What Is a 7th chord?

A seventh chord has 4 notes, root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th. They are very common chords and you’ll hear them everywhere from Bach to the Jonas brothers. 

There are actually 5 different kinds of 7th chords, but because Em7 is a Minor 7th chord, we will just focus on that one today.

A minor 7th chord has a flat 3 and a flat 7. That means that the 3rd and 7th of the chord are minor. 

Playing the different types of 7th chords on your guitar will help to train your ear to hear and feel the difference. Lucky for us guitarists, each 7th chord has its own unique shape, an additional way to differentiate the types of 7th chords.

The difference between a major and a minor 7th chord

Similarly, a major 7th chord has a major 3rd and a major 7th.

Related: Learn to play the F Major 7

The difference between and E minor 7 and an E major 7

A minor 7th chord has a minor 3rd and a minor 7th. A major 7th chord has a major 3rd and a major 7th. Here’s what that looks like applied to E:

E minor 7: E G B D

E Major 7: E G# B D#

Frequently Asked Questions

What notes are in the E Major Chord on guitar?

E G B D. It doesn’t matter what instrument you play, the notes will always be the same.

What does an Em 7 guitar chord look like?

It looks like a minor 7 chord. Oftentimes it is said to have the shape of the am7 chord in the caged system.

What Are The 3 Minor Chords?

Diatonic chords are chords whose notes are all in the given key. 

The Diatonic Chords in Major are I ii iii IV V VI viio.

This means that in a major key, the ii, iii, and vi are always minor.

The diatonic chords of a minor key are different: I iio III iv V VI viio

If you were in a minor key however, the i and the iv would be minor.

Related: Guitar Chord D Minor 7: All You Need To Know

Conclusion

Em7 is a minor 7th chord with the notes E G B and D. It has a melancholic and beautiful sound that will have you wanting to play it over and over again. 

There are 5 different types of seventh chords. The minor 7th chord is the stacking of the notes root, b3, 5th and b7. Just think of the Em triad and add a b7. 

Although 5 different ways to play were included, there are more ways to play Em7. Em7 is a beautiful chord that you are bound to see throughout your career as a guitarist.

Learning all the ways to play it can be extremely helpful, although just one way to start is okay, too. Have fun playing Em7 on guitar!

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