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How to play the Cm7b5 chord on guitar

Unlock the jazzy sound in hits like "Autumn Leaves" and "Misty."

The Cm7b5 chord

The Cm7b5 chord, pronounced "C minor seven flat five" or "C half-diminished," is a versatile and expressive chord in guitar music. It's composed of the notes C, Eb, Gb, and Bb, creating a haunting and melancholic sound. This chord is often used in jazz, neo-soul, and R&B genres to add depth and emotion to progressions, and can be heard in songs like "Creep" by Radiohead.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Cm7b5 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Cm7b5 chord

The most common way to play a Cm7b5 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 3rd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Cm7b5 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of all six strings, forming a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the Cm7b5 chord. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to properly fret all the strings in the barre.

How to play an easy Cm7b5 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Cm7b5 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Leave the other strings open.

How to play a Cm7b5 bar chord

Playing the Cm7b5 chord as a barre chord allows you to easily transition between chords and play the chord at any point on the fretboard.

Here's how to play a Cm7b5 bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 8th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 10th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down.

Common Cm7b5 chord progressions

The Cm7b5 chord, also known as a half-diminished seventh chord, adds a haunting and melancholic flavor to chord progressions. It often serves as a transitional chord, creating a sense of tension and resolution. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the Cm7b5 chord:

  • i7 - iv7 - VII7 - III7 (Cm7 - Fm7 - Bb7 - Eb7)
  • i7 - VI7 - ii7 - V7 (Cm7 - Ab7 - Dm7 - G7)
  • i7 - bVI7 - bII7 - V7 (Cm7 - Abm7 - Db7 - G7)
  • ii7b5 - V7b9 - i7 (Dm7b5 - G7b9 - Cm7)
  • iii7b5 - VI7 - ii7 - V7 (Em7b5 - A7 - Dm7 - G7) Used in "Round Midnight" and "Solar"

Drills to master the Cm7b5 chord

To master the Cm7b5 guitar chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution and consistent tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders, such as C-Eb-Gb-Bb, C-Gb-Bb-Eb, or Eb-Bb-C-Gb. This will help your fingers become accustomed to the chord shape and improve dexterity.

Next, practice strumming the chord in various rhythmic patterns, starting with simple downstrokes and gradually incorporating upstrokes and syncopation. As you become more confident, try transitioning to and from Cm7b5 using common chord progressions to develop fluidity and muscle memory.

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Songs that feature the Cm7b5 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Cm7b5 chord.

  1. All the Things You Are by Jerome Kern (Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7, AbM7, DbM7, Cm7b5, F7, Bbm7, Eb7, AbM7)
  2. Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma (Cm7b5, F7b9, BbM7, EbM7, Am7b5, D7b9, Gm)
  3. Blue Bossa by Kenny Dorham (Cm7, Fm7, Cm7b5, F7, DbM7, Dm7b5, G7)
  4. Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra (Am7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, F7, Bm7b5, E7, Am7, Dm7, G7)
  5. Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim (F#m7b5, B7b9, EM7, C#m7b5, F#7b9, BM7, Bm7, Bbm7, Am7, AbM7, GM7)
  6. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat by Charles Mingus (Cm7b5, F7b9, BbM7, EbM7, AbM7, DbM7, GbM7, BM7, EM7, AM7)
  7. Misty by Erroll Garner (Ebm7, Cm7b5, F7, BbM7, Gm7, C7, Fm7, Bb7, EbM7)
  8. Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk (Ebm7b5, Ab7b9, DbM7, Cm7b5, F7b9, BbM7, BbmM7, EbmM7, Fm7, Bb7, EbM7)
  9. Satin Doll by Duke Ellington (Cm7, Cm7b5, F7, BbM7, EbM7, Am7b5, D7, GM7, Dm7, G7)
  10. Stella by Starlight by Victor Young (Cm7b5, F7b9, BbM7, G7b9, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7, EbM7, AbM7, DbM7)

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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