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Gino

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 #1 
I have been playing two instruments lately, I have just been working on scales and chord exercises. I have a book self with about 300 hundred songs in espanol with sheet music for guitar, piano, and accordion. My question is. Do I really need to play a chord exactly as the book says? For example, can I play just a Am instead of a Am7 or vice versa, is it ok to play a Dm7 instead of a Dm. I can only memorize so many chords and I would like to keep it simple by playing the chords I am familiar with......
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JoeBueno

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 #2 
If you'd like, you can downscale the chord. In place of a thirteen or ninth, use a seventh. You can play a Dm7 just as long as you don't alter the seventh. In my opinion, you can use a regular D chord instead of a D7, but keep the chord as it is. Those sevenths, elevenths, etc. can really spice up your playing. Just my two cents
Juan_del_Norte

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 #3 
Gino, expand your horizons compadre.  Like Joebueno said, embrace those 7ths and 11ths and everything in between.  They really, really, really add so much to your music.  They just take some getting used to.  You can also play the notes separately like a pasada instead of the chord. It sounds really cool.  
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Colombianguy_III

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 #4 
I do that all the time. I alternate chords and sometimes they sound better than the original. 7th chords are colorful, but sometimes just plain triads decorate just as nice.

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