5 Different Types of Seventh Chords on Guitar

seventh chords on guitar

Seventh chords are an integral component of music, from blues to pop. There are five different kinds of seventh chords with their own individual characteristics.

Each seventh chord consists of four notes – its root, third and fifth tone as well as the seventh note – but this can be altered to create various sounds and effects.

Major Seventh

As you begin learning the guitar, it is beneficial to familiarize yourself with different chords. This enables you to play more songs easily and build up your skill set as a guitarist.

Cmaj7 chord is an excellent place to start learning chords, as it is frequently employed in popular songs by Soundgarden. Additionally, you will find this chord throughout genres and styles from pop standards to alternative rock classics.

This chord contains the root, major 3rd, and perfect 5th notes from C major scale, as well as adding in its distinctive sound a major seventh note that makes this chord stand out from standard open C chords.

This chord can be created using E and A shapes on the 6th and 5th strings respectively, creating a flexible chord shape which works well on both bass and lead strings, producing a nice clean jazz sound.

Minor Seventh

Minor seventh chords combine a minor triad with a flattened third to create a melancholic and mellifluous sound, often with bluesy overtones. To play one on guitar you need to modify an open G chord by lowering its third note to major sixth and playing its high E string on fret one instead of fret two – all while keeping its open G shape.

Minor seventh chords, like dominant seventh chords, can be constructed using the formula 1-b3-5-b7; alternatively they may also be constructed by altering the notes of an existing major seventh chord.

At its heart lies two ways of creating minor seventh chords: stacking thirds or lowering fifths. Both variations have their own benefits and drawbacks, yet can produce different sounds – as seen with Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On; The Beatles’ Ain’t No Sunshine and Heart of Gold by Neil Young being examples.

Dominant Seventh

Dominant seventh chords can be created by adding a flat seventh to a major triad. This creates a tritone (six half steps between third and seventh) giving them a powerful sound which makes them feel stronger than major chords.

Voice-leading can also help resolve dominant seventh chords into tonic triads; for instance, an E7 chord could be converted to a C major chord by moving note G up a semitone to F and down another semitone to A (see diagram).

The dominant seventh chord is often associated with blues music and can be heard prominently in tracks like “Heartbreak Hotel” or “That’s All Right”. You’ll also find this chord used in rock and pop songs. Learn all the common open voicings for dominant seventh chords and practice them in various keys; additionally, familiarize yourself with some songs which incorporate these chords, learning their key songs so you can sing them as fluently as possible.

Half-Diminished Seventh

The half-diminished seventh chord (or minor 7 flat 5) is an easy and common way to create simple seventh chords that you’ll find across most music styles. Based on the major scale, its notes consist of B – D – F – A and is sometimes known as Locrian mode or locrian chord.

A diminished chord consists of stacking intervals of a third on top of each other. A triad is composed of three intervals of a third with a seventh above, while a seventh chord comprises of one seventh, one minor sixth, and one diminished fifth chord.

Half-diminished seventh chords come in many different forms, but one that stands out is when its root lies on A string with fifth on G string – this allows muted root tone that creates a distinctive sound to this particular dominant seventh chord.

Practice different chord shapes across all six strings is crucial if you want to master how to express them across the fretboard. Once you know these voicings well, experimentation with various combinations of strings and notes can produce unique sounds.