How to play

How to play the F#m7b5 chord on guitar

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The F#m7b5 chord

The F#m7b5 chord, pronounced "F sharp minor seven flat five" or "F sharp half-diminished," is a versatile chord with a distinctive sound. It's commonly used in jazz, funk, and R&B, as well as in genres like neo-soul and hip-hop. The unique, slightly dissonant quality of the F#m7b5 makes it perfect for adding depth and sophistication to progressions, and it frequently appears in chord substitutions.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common F#m7b5 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for F#m7b5 chord

The F#m7b5 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 2nd fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a F#m7b5 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 2nd fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.

To strum this chord, place your fingers in the correct positions and strum all six strings simultaneously. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to properly barre all the strings.

How to play an easy F#m7b5 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F#m7b5 chord, try playing a three-string version. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string, your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string, and your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd (B) string.

How to play a F#m7b5 bar chord

The F#m7b5 chord is most commonly played as a barre chord on guitar, rather than in an open position. Playing the barre chord version allows you to easily transition to other barre chords and play the chord in different positions up and down the fretboard.

Here's how to play an F#m7b5 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 2nd fret, covering all six strings (barre).
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common F#m7b5 chord progressions

The F#m7b5 chord, also known as F# half-diminished seventh, adds a haunting and melancholic flavor to progressions. It often serves as a passing chord or a substitute for the ii chord in minor keys, creating a sense of tension and emotional depth. Here are some common chord progressions featuring F#m7b5:

  • i - F#m7b5 - iv - V (F#m - F#m7b5 - Bm - C#7)
  • i - iv - F#m7b5 - V (F#m - Bm - F#m7b5 - C#7)
  • i - F#m7b5 - V7 - i (F#m - F#m7b5 - C#7 - F#m)
  • iv - F#m7b5 - i - V (Bm - F#m7b5 - F#m - C#7)
  • F#m7b5 - V7 - i (F#m7b5 - C#7 - F#m) Used in "All The Things You Are" and "Autumn Leaves"

Drills to master the F#m7b5 chord

To master the F#m7b5 chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clean fretting and consistent tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between F#m7b5 and other chords in the key of A major, such as A, D, and E.

Alternatively, incorporate F#m7b5 into chord progressions like ii-V-I in A major (F#m7b5 - B7 - Amaj7). This helps develop muscle memory and contextualizes the chord within common musical scenarios. With dedication and regular practice, you'll soon find yourself comfortably using F#m7b5 in your playing.

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Songs that feature the F#m7b5 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the F#m7b5 chord.

  1. All the Things You Are by Jerome Kern (F#m7b5, B7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Eb)
  2. Misty by Erroll Garner (Ebmaj7, F#m7b5, B7, G#m7b5, C#7, F#m7, D#m7b5, G#7)
  3. Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael (G#m7b5, C#7, F#maj7, D#m7, G#7, C#m7, F#7, Bmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, C#m7b5, F#7)
  4. How High the Moon by Morgan Lewis (Am7, D7, Gmaj7, C#m7b5, F#7, Bm7, E7, C#m7, F#7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Am7, D7)
  5. I'll Remember April by Gene de Paul (C#m7b5, F#7, Bmaj7, C#m7, F#7, Bm7, E7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7)
  6. I Should Care by Axel Stordahl, Paul Weston, and Sammy Cahn (C, C#dim7, Dm7, G7, C, C#m7b5, F#7, Fm7, Bb7, Eb, Dm7, G7)
  7. Polka Dots and Moonbeams by Jimmy Van Heusen (Em7, A7, Dmaj7, Bm7b5, E7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7, C#m7b5, F#7)
  8. Prelude to a Kiss by Duke Ellington (C#m7b5, F#7, Bmaj7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7)
  9. There Will Never Be Another You by Harry Warren (Ebmaj7, C#m7b5, F#7, Bmaj7, G#m7, C#7, F#m7, B7)
  10. What Is This Thing Called Love? by Cole Porter (Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Ebm7, Ab7, Dbmaj7, F#m7b5, B7, Emaj7)

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