m7b5 (m7-5) chords

The Minor 7th flat 5th chord is an alternation of the minor seventh chord, and is also known as half-diminished or Minor 7th minus 5th. This chord is identical to a minor seventh except that the fifth is lowered one step. By comparing Cm7 with Cm7b5 we can see that the notes change from C, Eb, G, Bb to C, Eb, Gb, Bb.

The easiest way to play these chords are by using the movable shape presented in the diagrams below (Am7b5 is partly an exception, with two open strings).

Minor 7th flat 5th (root in 5th string)


  • Cm7b5 chord diagram


  • C#m7b5 chord diagram


  • Dm7b5 chord diagram


  • D#m7b5 chord diagram


  • Em7b5 chord diagram


  • Fm7b5 chord diagram


  • F#m7b5 chord diagram


  • Gm7b5 chord diagram X 10 11 10 11 X


  • G#m7b5 chord diagram


  • Am7b5 chord diagram


  • A#m7b5 chord diagram


  • Bm7b5 chord diagram


Am7b5 could of course also be played as x 12 13 12 13 x.


Alternative chord names

Cm7b5  Cø
C#m7b5 C#ø / Dbø
Dm7b5  Dø
D#m7b5  D#ø / Ebø
Em7b5  Eø
Fm7b5  Fø
F#m7b5  F#ø / Gbø
Gm7b5  Gø
G#m7b5  G#ø / Abø
Am7b5  Aø
A#m7b5 A#ø / Bbø
Bm7b5  Bø

Notice that this fingering sometimes is played as a rootless dominant 9th chord. For example X2323X as G9.

Chord formula

The minor seventh flat fifth is built with the formula 1-b3-b5-b7. This includes the root (1), the minor third (b3), a lowered fifth (b5) and the minor seventh.

Chord construction

Cm7b5  x - x - C - Gb - Bb - Eb
C#m7b5  x - x - C# - G - B - E
Dm7b5  x - x - D - Ab - C - F
D#m7b5  x - x - D# - A - Db - Gb
Em7b5  x - x - E - Bb - D - G
Fm7b5  x - x - F - B - Eb - Ab
F#m7b5  x - x - F# - C - E - A
Gm7b5  x - x - G - Db - F - Bb
G#m7b5  x - x - G# - D - Gb - B
Am7b5  x - x - A - Eb - G - C
A#m7b5  x - x - A# - E - Ab - Db
Bm7b5  x - x - B - F - A - D
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

Cm7b5  C - Eb - Gb - Bb
C#m7b5  C# - E - G - B
Dm7b5 D - F - Ab - C
D#m7b5  D# - F# - A - C#
Em7b5  E - G - Bb - D
Fm7b5  F - Ab - B - Eb
F#m7b5  F# - A - C - E
Gm7b5  G - Bb - Db - F
G#m7b5  G# - B - D - F#
Am7b5  A - C - Eb - G
A#m7b5  A# - C# - E - G#
Bm7b5  B - D - F - A
The intervals are 1 – 3b – 5b – b7

Movable shape with root on sixth string

The half-diminished with the root note on the 6th string can be played as shown in the diagram below. Am7b5 is played 5X554X. To help you memorize, compare with the shapes Am7 (5X555X) and Am11 (5X553X).

7b5 minor chord moveable

Example of chord progression:

Bbmaj7 - Dm/F - F#m7b5 (2X221X) - C/G - D7 - G6

Movable shape with root on fifth string

This is the same shape as presented above and might be the most recognizable of the shapes for the half-diminished chord.

7b5 minor chord moveable

For example, Ebm7b5 is played as X6767X with this shape.

Movable shape with root on fourth string

And last, a movable alternative with the root on 4th string.

7b5 minor chord moveable

For example, Gm7b5 is played as XX5666 with this shape.

Example of chord progression:

Fmaj7 (XX3555) - Em7b5 (XX2333) - Dm7

m7b5 in open position

Here are additional shapes in open position for this chord category:

C#m7b5: X45450
Dm7b5: XX0564
Em7b5: 010030 / 012030
F#m7b5: XX4210
A#m7b5: X12120

Example of chord progression:

Am7/E (XX2210) - Fmaj7 - F#m7b5

C - G/B - Em7b5 - Am11

Chord inversions

Here are fingerings of inversions for this chord category:

Bm7b5/D: XX0201
Em7b5/D: XX0353
Gm7b5/Bb: X1302X
A#m7b5/E: XX2324

How and when to use half-diminished chords

These chords are, for example, used as an in-between chord. It can be used both in its own key or in other keys which its tones partly match.

In jazz, for example, m7b5 are often used in minor harmonies as the ii chord:

Am7b5 - Dm7 - Gm7

It can substitute 7th or 9th chords, for example, and especially the V chord. An example in which Em7b5 substitute the V chord:

Gmaj7 - Bm7 - Em7 - Em7b5 - Am7

Chord progressions

Progressions including this chord type:

Am7 - Bm7b5 - E7

Am7 - Abm7b5 - G7

Dm7 - Dm7b5 - G7 - Cmaj7

C7 - Em7b5 - A7 - Dm7 - G7

Fmaj7 - Bm7b5 - Em7

Minor seventh flat fifth is often used as in between chord in blues and jazz progressions.

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