View Full Version : Am7 chord and C6 chord ? Confused !

05-01-2011, 03:33 AM
Ok chaps im a little confused here , ive decided to work through Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp to help improve my chord changes and knowledges of keys of music . Anyway im really enjoying it and its a big help , one thing that puzzles me is why is a C6 chord and Am7 chord are both played entirely unfretted ? Ive used the Am7 in songs before and it shows as unfretted ie like this one http://alligatorboogaloo.com/uke/tabs/041010.html
But when i was investigating i came across this page http://www.ezfolk.com/uke/chords/A_major/Am7/am7.html ? I see that one of the examples shows it can be played unfretted too but this baffles me !! Is a C6 just another name for the same chord ??

05-01-2011, 03:48 AM
Technically, they are not the same chord, but they have the same notes.
C6 = C(1) E(3) G(5) A(6)
Am7 = A(1) C(b3) E(5) G(7)

Which one is used in a song generally depends on the song key.

05-01-2011, 03:53 AM
If you are at familiar with a keyboard. That is the only way it made sense for me is to see the keyboard to visually understand why they are the same. I can't explain it without having that visual aid. I know in my head but.... Good luck on this fabulous adventure. You are learning a second language.

05-01-2011, 06:00 AM
Hi minerwilly

Am7 and C6 both contain C E G A, but the difference is the way the notes are buildt up - From the lowest pitch, C chord has C E G A while Am7 is A C E G. Due to the limited availability of notes, on ukulele we sort of discard the sequence and just play whatever we can. And it works fine so no sweat.

If you're in an orchestra or a band, the bass player plays C for C6 chord and A for Am7. Surprisingly, human ears recognize the bass note and can distinguish the flavor (minor vs major chords).

Music is full of idiosyncracies (sp?). For example, E note is same as Fb, or D## (D double sharp).Music in written in 2/2 time signature can be thought of as 4/4, but 6/8 is *not* same as 3/4.......

No sweat. They are so unimportant. Having fun is important:D

Happy Pickin

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-01-2011, 08:33 AM
Technically, they are not the same chord, but they have the same notes.
C6 = C(1) E(3) G(5) A(6)
Am7 = A(1) C(b3) E(5) G(7)

Which one is used in a song generally depends on the song key.

Whoa, good answer!

Ukulele JJ
05-04-2011, 04:45 AM
All excellent answers above!

Part of the key of understanding what's going on here is the concept of a chord "inversion". Here's what I mean...

Let's say you want to play a regular old C major chord. You'd play these notes, in order from lowest-pitched to highest:


The "root" of the chord (the note that gives the chord its letter name) is the lowest note. This is "root position".

Now, notes "roll over" every octave. Meaning, if you play a note that's exactly one octave higher than a C, we still call that note a "C". The note gets the same letter name, and for all intents and purposes it functions pretty much exactly the same.

So... we can move that C note up an octave, which gives us this:


Now that's still a C major chord, even though the notes are out-of-order from the normal, root position way. This is the first inversion of the C major chord. If we do the same trick to the note that is now the lowest--move the E note up an octave--we get this:


Again, this is still a C major chord. It's in second inversion, but that's not too big of a deal. As long as the right notes are in there somewhere, in some order, it "counts" as the same chord.

The dirty little secret of ukulele chords is that the standard, basic chords you play every day are often not in root position. Many of them are really in some sort of inversion--the lowest-pitched note is not the "root" note of the chord. The F and G chords are really in second inversion, for example. The A, Am, and Am7 chords are all in first inversion.

(And yes, due to a quirk of music theory C6 and Am7 are all made up out of the same collection of notes. So certain inversions of one can be identical to different inversions of the other.)


05-04-2011, 05:26 PM
If this is too confusing, play the C6 unfretted and substitute Am for the Am7. It usually works, in Knocking On Heaven's Door I've started using Am instead of Am7 and it works fine.

05-05-2011, 11:34 AM
Thanks for all the responses , im glad too have you people around to answer my queries !

05-05-2011, 12:31 PM
For anyone who wants to get beyond the fear and mystery of the world of music theory, you can't do better than


It is a great book. It is very clear, easy to read and actually fun, which is something you'll never hear said about any other theory book.