Dominant 7th Guitar Chords

7 chords

7th guitar chords are usually written as 7 chords. Sometimes you will see them written as dom7 which is a shortened form of dominant 7. However, the most commonly used is 7, e.g., G7, A7, B7 etc.

  • Unless stated otherwise, a '7' chord refers to a dominant 7th chord - a major triad plus a minor 7th (flattened 7th).
  • Consists of a root, a major third, a perfect fifth, and a minor 7th.
  • The chord formula for a 7 chord (dominant 7th) is 1 - 3 - 5 - ♭ 7.
  • The following is an example of how to calculate a C7 chord.
Calculating a C7 chord
  • 7th Guitar Chords consist of the 1st, 3rd, 5th and ♭7th notes of a Major Scale
  • 'C' chords, are based on the C major scale which consists of no sharps or flats.
  • The scale reads as follows: C - D - E - F - G - A - B
  • Formula for a 7th chord: 1 - 3 - 5 - ♭7
  • Substitute the notes into the formula (1=C, 3=E, 5=G, ♭7=B♭)
  • Therefore C7 reads as follows: C - E - G - B♭

The featured practice song for this session is Come Together by the Beatles.

7th Chords - Right Handers

7 OR dom7

Chord Chart Legend Chart Legend
Seventh Chords: A7 - C7

⏬ 7th Guitar Chords - Part 1

Remember that empty circles are optional notes. If you do play them, you will have to alter your finger positions in most cases. The following example will illustrate this.

B7 (1st position) is commonly played without the finger on the 2nd fret bottom E (empty circle). If you leave your finger off, you will need to avoid playing that string, as E is not part of a B7 chord (B - D# - F# - A).

If you choose to play that note, you will be playing an F#, which is part of the B7 chord (F# is also being played on the 1st string, 2nd fret with the fourth finger).

If you do play the extra note, you will have to use your second finger to cover both strings (2nd fret, 5th & 6th strings) as you will have run out of fingers!

Where barring occurs with an optional note, e.g., C7 - 2nd position, simply barre the whole 3rd fret with the first finger.

Seventh Chords: C#7 - E7

🡇 7th Guitar Chords - Part 2

Please note that the E7 chord - 1st position, can be played with fingers 1 and 2, however the 3 finger option 1, 2 and 4 gives the chord more presence. You can also add the optional note depending on your preference. Beginners tend to prefer the 1,2 finger option due to ease, but as you gain experience, the 1,2, 4 option definitely sets the chord apart ... you are adding another D-note 1 octave above the open D-string which makes the chord a 7th (leading tone), giving the 7th an extra strong presence. If you find this a little too strong you can add the optional note (E) buffering the intensity of the added 7th.

Play an E chord then play the 1, 2 finger E7
Play an E chord then play the 1, 2, 4 finger E7... notice the difference.

7th Chords - Left Handers

7 OR dom7

Chord Chart Legend Major Guitar Chords for Lefties


It is always important to take note of the sound of a 7th chord as opposed to a major chord and other forms of 7th chords sharing the same root note.

Play a C chord, then play a C7 chord followed by a Cmaj7 chord. You will notice a distinct difference in the sounds; the C7 has a dissonant sound with 'tension', leaving you hanging with a need for resolution. The Cmaj7 has a very soothing or calming sound and lacks 'tension'.

In time, you will hear certain chords and be able to distinguish the differences between them by their sound characteristics.

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