How to play

How to play the Abm7b5 chord on guitar

Master this essential jazz chord, featured in hits like "Misty" and "Lush Life."

The Abm7b5 chord

The Abm7b5 chord, pronounced "A flat minor seven flat five" or "A flat half-diminished," is a complex and intriguing guitar chord. Notable for its somber and slightly dissonant sound, this chord often appears in jazz, funk, and R&B music to add depth and tension. Songs like "Michelle" by The Beatles and "Maiden Voyage" by Herbie Hancock prominently feature the Abm7b5 chord.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Abm7b5 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Abm7b5 chord

The most common way to play an Abm7b5 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 6th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play an Abm7b5 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 6th fret.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion to play all six strings simultaneously, ensuring that each string rings out clearly.

How to play an easy Abm7b5 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Abm7b5 chord, try playing the notes Ab, B, Eb, and Gb individually on the fourth, third, first, and second strings, respectively. This voicing is easier to play than a barre chord and still captures the essence of the Ab half-diminished sound.

How to play a Abm7b5 bar chord

The Abm7b5 chord does not have a standard barre chord shape that is commonly used. This chord is usually played using other voicings that do not require a barre.

Common Abm7b5 chord progressions

The Abm7b5 chord, also known as the half-diminished seventh chord, is often used as a passing chord to create a sense of tension and resolution in a progression, evoking a melancholic or introspective emotional feel. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the Abm7b5 chord:

  • i7 - iv7 - VII7 - III7 (Abm7b5 - Dbm7 - Gb7 - Cb7)
  • i7 - VII7 - VImaj7 - V7 (Abm7b5 - Gb7 - Fmaj7 - Eb7)
  • ii7 - V7 - i7 - VI7 (Bbm7b5 - Eb7 - Abm7b5 - F7)
  • i7 - bVI7 - iim7 - V7 (Abm7b5 - Fm7 - Bbm7b5 - Eb7) Used in "Misty" and "Alone Together"
  • i7 - iv7 - bVII7 - bIII7 (Abm7b5 - Dbm7b5 - Gb7 - Cb7)

Drills to master the Abm7b5 chord

To master the Abm7b5 guitar chord, try playing it in different progressions. Start by playing the chord in a simple ii-V-i progression, such as Abm7b5 - Db7 - Gbmaj7. Once comfortable, incorporate the chord into more complex progressions and different keys.

Another effective drill is to arpeggiate the chord, playing each note separately. This helps your fingers memorize the shape and improves your dexterity. Practice arpeggiating the chord in various rhythmic patterns and tempos to develop a strong muscle memory for the Abm7b5 voicing.

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Songs that feature the Abm7b5 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Abm7b5 chord.

  1. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G, Abm7b5, Dbmaj7)
  2. Misty by Erroll Garner (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Gb6)
  3. My Funny Valentine by Richard Rodgers (Am, Am(maj7), Am7, Abm7b5)
  4. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) by Nat King Cole (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Ebm7)
  5. 'Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Fm7)
  6. Infant Eyes by Wayne Shorter (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Bbm7)
  7. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? by Michel Legrand (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Ebm7)
  8. Lament by J.J. Johnson (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Cm7)
  9. Alone Together by Arthur Schwartz (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Dm7b5)
  10. Prelude to a Kiss by Duke Ellington (Abm7b5, Db7, Gbmaj7, Bbm7)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

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