Useful voicings for your favorite m7b5 chord

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by feloniuspunk, Nov 8, 2004.


  1. feloniuspunk

    feloniuspunk Member

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    The title of this thread is of course tongue in cheek. Cm7b5 is one of those chords that is rarely played, if at all, by most guitarists. Of course the more obscure they are the more I love chords like Cm7b5. I actually play several tunes in the key of Dbmaj where Cm7b5 comes into play quite a bit. I digress.

    If you take the trouble to transpose this stuff presented here into other keys like E, A, D, G (the guitar keys), I think you'll find it quite useful. Remember that Cm7b5 can be thought of as a sub for Ebm6 and Ab7 too.

    So there you have it. Transpose this stuff into the key of E for instance (everyone's favorite SRV key) and you have a lot of neat voicings for a B7 chord. Plus don't forget that anytime a B7 is called for you can also play the more obscure Gbm6 and Ebm7b5 chords in its place as well. (Don't want to make thing too easy now do we.)

    Cm7b5 = C-Eb-Gb-Bb
    E) - x - - - - - - - - - - - - - Gb
    B) x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - C
    G) - - x - - - - - - - - - - - - Bb
    D) x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Eb
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    E) - x - - - - - - - - - - - - - Gb
    B) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Eb
    G) - - x - - - - - - - - - - - - Bb
    D) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Gb
    A) - - x - - - - - - - - - - - - C
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    (Like the innards of an Ab7 chord)
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    B) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Eb
    G) - - - - x - - - - - - - - - - C
    D) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Gb
    A) - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - Eb
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    E) - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - Bb
    B) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Eb
    G) - - - - x - - - - - - - - - - C
    D) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Gb
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    E) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - C
    B) - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - Gb
    G) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - Eb
    D) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - Bb
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    (Like the innards of a Bbm9 chord)
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    B) - - - - - - - - - - - - x - - C
    G) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Gb
    D) - - - - - - - - - - - - x - - Eb
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - x - - Bb
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    (Top four look like Ab9 chord)
    E) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Eb
    B) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Bb
    G) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Gb
    D) - - - - - - - - - x - - - - - C
    A) - - - - - - - - x - - - - - - Gb
    E) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - C
     
  2. Testudo

    Testudo Member

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    I was starting to jot this down when I realized I know m7b5 better as "half-diminished". It's a great chord! Plus a fairly simple substitute for a dominant that seems a little more anchored to the key than a full diminished.
    That's a good selection of voicings there, some of which are new to me.
     
  3. feloniuspunk

    feloniuspunk Member

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    In songs in the key of Bb major you sometimes encounter Cm7b5 and F7b9 for a 2/5 turnaround. Here's a useful voicing for a Cm7b5-F7b9 combination:

    Cm7b5
    E) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - C
    B) - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - Gb
    G) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - Eb
    D) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - Bb
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    F7b9
    E) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - C
    B) - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - Gb
    G) - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - Eb
    D) - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - A
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    Notice that only one note changes, the Bb to an A on the bottom string.
     
  4. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Great stuff! That is grouping chords as dominant or tonic! :dude
     
  5. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Some background theory:

    A Cm7b5 chord can be termed:

    C minor 7th flat five
    or
    C minor half diminished

    Why? Because a fully diminshed chord is composed of nothing but minor 3rds.

    Fully diminished 7th chord =

    m3+m3+m3 or C-Eb-Gb-Bbb (Gb to B double flat = minor 3rd)

    Whereas a half-diminished chord is built in minor thirds plus a Major 3rd between the 5th and 7th.

    Half diminished 7th chord =

    m3+m3+M3 or C-Eb-Gb-Bb (Gb to Bb = Major 3rd)

    More voicings of Cm7b5/Ebm6/Abdom9:

    E) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Eb
    B) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Bb
    G) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Gb
    D) - - - - - - - - - x - - - - - C
    A) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    E) - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - Eb

    E) - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - Bb
    B) - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - Gb
    G) - - - - x - - - - - - - - - - C
    D) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    A) - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - Eb
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    Felonius showed the dominant 7 9th chord substitution. I would like to point out that the root of 9th chord is missing. So C-Eb-Gb-Bb is missing the Ab which would be the root of the Ab dominant 9th chord.

    Look at his #2 example with my change:

    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute
    B) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Eb
    G) - - x - - - - - - - - - - - - Bb
    D) - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - Gb
    A) - - x - - - - - - - - - - - - C
    E) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - mute

    You may recognize this as the "Stormy Monday Chord" used by the Allman Bros. Just move it down 1 fret and you've got the G9 they use. Slide it up to 1st finger 7th fret and you've got C9.

    Just to add to the confustion, a couple more substitutions:

    Ab9 (no root) = Cm7b5 = Ebm6 = Gb13b5 = Bb11 9 #5

    :eek:

    Cool thread Felonius.
     
  6. Testudo

    Testudo Member

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    Very cool thread! Thanks Felonius and lhallam. I am just beginning my venture into jazz theory after a background in classical theory. I love this stuff!
     
  7. feloniuspunk

    feloniuspunk Member

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    Yea, ain't it great what guitar geeks find interesting? Bring this up at your next cocktail party and watch the eyes roll. But hey, a time for every season or whatever the saying is. This stuff IS important for getting the most out of your axe and hands and understanding what it is your doing.

    Find a place to stand and move the world!
     
  8. RobertMiller

    RobertMiller Member

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  9. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Personally, I can never resist the urge to stick an 11th in my half dimished chords (e.g., adding an "A" to an Em7b5 chord).

    Another cool little trick you can do - if you're using the m7b5 chord as part of a ii-V progression, raising the m7b5 voicinga minor third will give you a nice altered dominant V chord. For instance, if your ii chord is (lowest to highest) C, Gb, Bb, Eb (Cm7b5), you shift that up three frets and get Eb, A, Db & Gb (F7#5b9) for your V chord. Resolve that to D, Bb, C, F (just one idea) and you got yerself a nice little ii-V-I deal....
     

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