5 Must Know Seventh Chords on Guitar...



Seventh chords are fantastic sounding chord types that will appear in many different styles of music. There's no need to get confused with their names, they are all just derivatives of the basic major and minor sounds...

If you narrow your focus down to getting to know how each seventh chord is built and the unique sound that each seventh chord creates, you'll find yourself playing seventh chords in all kinds of musical situations.

A lot of the seventh chord knowledge and application will come naturally if you know how these shapes look and feel across the fret-board. Here's a useful introductory video on 7th chords and what the extended "7th" chord degree actually refers to... "Understanding the 7th and Extended Chord Types."



7th CHORD TYPE #1). MAJOR 7th CHORDS
Major 7th chords have been described as "dreamy" and relaxed or resolved (i.e. lacking tension) and are therefore most often used for resolutions in chord progressions.

Remember that a major triad was the Root, 3rd and 5th notes from the major scale which means that a major 7th chord is the major triad with an added major 7th tone...

1 3 5 7 


The Root (1), 3rd (3), 5th (5) and 7th (7) form a major 7th chord. For example...

"A major 7th" chord contains "A, C#, E, G#." Analyze the chord voicing shown below and map out each chord tone to understand how the fingering is voiced on the neck.



7th CHORD TYPE #2). MINOR 7th CHORDS
Minor 7th chords are a minor triad (1 ♭3 5) with a flattted /minor 7th (♭7).

1 ♭3 5 ♭7 


Make a study of one of the most common Minor 7th chord forms, (shown below). Our example has its root located off of the fifth guitar string at the third position, (C Minor 7th)...

"C minor 7th" chord contains "C, E♭, G, B♭." Analyze the chord voicing shown below and map out each chord tone to understand how the fingering is voiced upon the neck.





7th CHORD TYPE #3). DOMINANT 7th CHORDS
Dominant 7th chords include a flatted /minor 7th (♭7) instead of a major 7th (7).

An easy way of visualizing this is if you lower the 7th chord tone from the major 7th chord voicing (its natural major scale position) by one semitone down in pitch (the equivalent of one fret), you will achieve the chord layout of Dominant 7th.

1 3 5 ♭7


Make a study of one of the most common Dominant 7th chord forms, (shown below). Our example has its root located off of the sixth guitar string at the fifth position, (A Dominant 7th)...

"A Dominant 7th" chord contains "A, C#, E, G." Analyze the chord voicing shown below and map out each chord tone to understand how the fingering is voiced upon the neck.




7th CHORD TYPE #4). MINOR 7th(♭5) CHORDS
The name "Minor 7th(♭5)" is also often referred to as the half diminished chord and it is made up of the diminished triad (1 ♭3 ♭5), plus an added minor 7th interval.

The half diminished chord is the diminished triad plus a flat 7th tone. It can be a bit of a confusing name because of it's title being applied differently by some musicians. Just make sure that you learn the elements that make up this chord to clarify it in your own mind...

1 ♭3 ♭5 ♭7

Make a study of one of the most common Minor 7th(♭5) chord forms, (shown below). Our example has its root located off of the fifth guitar string at the seventh position, (E Minor 7th ♭5)...

"E Minor 7th (♭5)" chord contains "E, G, B♭, D." Analyze the chord voicing shown below and map out each chord tone to understand how the fingering is voiced upon the neck.





7th CHORD TYPE #5). DIMINISHED 7th CHORDS
Diminished 7th chords involve the 7th being flattened twice from its natural major scale position. Incidentally, this puts it in the position of a major 6th. However, in the context of diminished chords (1 ♭3 ♭5) we label it as a double flat 7th (♭♭7), also known as a diminished 7th...

1 ♭3 ♭5 ♭♭7 


This chord can also be analyzed as a "Minor 7th(♭5)" chord (half diminished chord) with the 7th flattened one more semitone lower (dropped by one fret).

Make a study of one of the most common Diminished 7th chord forms, (shown below). Our example has its root located off of the fifth guitar string at the fifth position, (D Diminished 7th)...

"D Diminished 7th" chord contains "D, F, A♭, C♭." Analyze the chord voicing shown below and map out each chord tone to understand how the fingering is voiced upon the neck.

CONCLUSION:
Since the seventh quality chords are used in so many different styles of music, they are a "must know" group of chord quality to develop in your playing. From classical pieces, to jazz standards, as well as, soul music, Country music to R and B, (and almost everything in between), the seventh quality chord types tend to shine when music needs that smooth dreamy sound that only the seventh chord types can provide.

Spend time with a good chord book, or chord app to learn and then constantly review the different shapes. Work at planning out rehearsal examples for gaining the five different 7th-quality chord fingerings. Set an initial goal of developing a shape for each 7th-chord quality off of the lower three strings, (6th, 5th and 4th).

Once you are familiar with their shapes, place them to work in different songs. Jazz standards are one of the very best ways to fully develop 7th quality chords. Classic jazz numbers like "Autumn Leaves" or "Misty" will help you to apply most of these 7th chords in practical playing situations.

The Creative Guitar Studio "Advanced Guitar Players Program" covers all of these chord types in detail with practical playing studies to help players develop a high degree of skill with their fingering and application.


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