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 scale of C major 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♭)
  • C7 = C - E - G - B♭

The featured practice song for this session is Someone Like You by Adele. Almost every song contains a 7 chord, so there are plenty of songs to choose from.

7th (7) Chord Table
Chord (7) A A#/B♭ B C C#/D♭ D D#/E♭ E F F#/G♭ G G#/A♭
Root A A#/B♭ B C C#/D♭ D D#/E♭ E F F#/G♭ G G#/A♭
Major 3rd C# Cx/D D# E E#/F F# Fx/G G# A A#/B♭ B B#/C
Perfect 5th E E#/F F# G G#/A♭ A A#/B♭ B C C#/D♭ D D#/E♭
Dominant 7th G G#/A♭ A B♭ B/C♭ C C#/D♭ D E♭ E/F♭ F F#/G♭

7th Chords - RH / LH

Chord Chart Legend Chord Chart Legend
Right Handers
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.

Left Handers
7th Chords for Lefties

↓ Left Handed dom7 Guitar Chords - Part 1

Right Handers
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.

Left Handers
7th Chords for Lefties - Part 2
↓ Left Handed dom7 Chords - Part 2

About Seventh Chords

They are an essential component of music theory and harmony, adding complexity and depth to chord progressions. Here are some interesting facts about 7th chords:

Four Tones: Made up of four notes: the root, third, fifth, and a seventh interval above the root note. The type of seventh chord (major, minor, dominant, etc.) is determined by the quality of the third and seventh intervals.

Dominant Function: The dominant 7th chord is one of the most common types of seventh chords. It consists of a major triad with a minor seventh interval added. Dominant seventh chords have a strong tendency to resolve to the tonic (I) chord in many musical styles, creating a sense of resolution.

Major 7th and Minor 7th Chords: Major 7th chords have a major triad with a major seventh interval, while minor 7th chords have a minor triad with a minor seventh interval. Major seventh chords often evoke a dreamy and sophisticated sound, while minor 7th chords can sound mellow and introspective.

Half-Diminished and Fully Diminished 7th Chords: Half-diminished 7th chords (also known as minor 7th flat 5) feature a diminished triad with a minor seventh interval. Fully diminished 7th chords consist of a diminished triad with a diminished seventh interval. These chords add tension and often lead to resolutions.

Chord Symbols: Seventh chords are often represented with symbols. For example, a major 7th chord is written as "Cmaj7," a dominant 7th chord as "G7," and a minor 7th chord as "Dm7."

Extended Chords: Beyond the basic seventh chords, additional chord tones can be added to create extended chords like 9th, 11th, and 13th chords. These extended tones further enrich the harmonic palette.

Voice Leading: The movement of individual chord tones from one chord to the next, known as voice leading, is crucial in creating smooth and pleasing chord progressions. Seventh chords often provide interesting voice leading options.

Blues Progressions:  The blues progression often uses a series of dominant 7th chords, and the blues scale adds the characteristic "blue notes" that create the bluesy sound.

Jazz Harmony: Seventh chords are fundamental in jazz harmony. Jazz musicians use various types of 7th chords, as well as extended and altered chords, to create sophisticated harmonies and intricate chord progressions.

Modal Use: 7th chords, particularly those with extended tones, are used in modal music to explore harmonies beyond traditional major and minor tonalities. They can add color and complexity to modal compositions.

Inversions: Like triads, 7th chords can also be inverted, where a note other than the root is placed in the bass. Inversions affect the chord's overall sound and its role in a progression.

Functional Harmony: These chords play a significant role in functional harmony, contributing to the tension and resolution that define chord progressions in tonal music.

Contemporary Genres: 7th chords are present in a wide range of contemporary music genres, from pop and rock to R&B and electronic music.


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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