7th Chords on Guitar

seventh chords on guitar

Have a wide variety of seventh chords on your guitar will allow you to express emotions through music while creating progressions with greater ease. There are five kinds of seventh chords: major, minor, dominant major seventh, seventh major minor fifth and dim7 chords.

Each chord has its own sound. Converting triads into seventh chord counterparts requires nothing more than moving one note in the stack!

Major Seventh

Major seventh chords (maj7) are an extremely popular 7th chord used in jazz music. This type of chord consists of a major triad with an additional major seventh interval added on top.

To form a major seventh chord, simply add one major interval above your root note – for instance if it’s G, add F# above it – sometimes known as an Emaj7 shape or Amaj7 shape.

Any basic drop 2 maj7 shape can be expanded by adding in additional ninth (9), eleventh (11) or thirteenths (13). This variation of a basic drop 2 maj7 chord is known as maj9 chord, maj7add13 chord or maj7add11 chord; they provide great variations to add variety when playing maj7 progressions! Have fun exploring how you might use these in your music!

Minor Seventh

Minor seventh chords produce an emotive, melancholic sound, making them ideal for use with ballads and ballad-based songs. Furthermore, their deep tone works wonderfully when played alongside jazzy piano or horns.

These chords combine a minor triad and minor seventh interval for more relaxed but still dissonant chords.

An E minor seventh chord typically comprises the notes E, G, and B; however, by lowering both third and seventh frets one fret further this formation becomes an open Em7 chord with notes E-G-B-D.

Learn the following chord shapes to add depth and variety to your guitar playing. Practice them in various keys and use them in songs for greater chord diversity. It also makes an excellent fingerstyle candidate.

Dominant Seventh

Dominant seventh chords are an integral component of many genres of music and often used as the starting point for modulations techniques. Their extra dissonance creates an impetus towards the tonic of their current key, creating a powerful “push”.

Dominant seventh chords differ from major triads in that they feature an additional minor seventh note to create more dissonant tones that help create tension and resolution in musical compositions.

Dominant seventh chords have long been used as an effective musical element, such as Carl Perkins’ early hit “Blue Suede Shoes”. Elvis Presley himself made extensive use of dominant seventh chords when writing hits like ‘Heartbreak Hotel” and “That’s All Right”, both built around these toe-tapping chords.

Half-Diminished Seventh

Seventh chords are four note chords created by adding an interval of seven above any regular major or minor triad, creating an dissonant dissonant chord drenched with tension that adds emotion and drama to your music.

E half-diminished 7th chords provide a great starting point to understanding these types of chords. Being symmetrical chords, any root can be used.

Understanding this chord lies within its alternate name – minor7 flat 5. This indicates that this is a minor 7th chord with its perfect 5th interval flattened by one semitone to create diminished notes – perfect intervals that have been decreased by one semitone are termed minor, vice versa.

Mix & Match

As a jazz musician, you may encounter seventh chords that don’t comply with standard triad and seventh rules. This necessitates taking an alternative approach. Instead of using C7(#11) for dominant seventh chords, call them Db7(b9#11#5) instead.

Sevenths add depth and emotion to triads, which is why they can often be found in jazz, R&B and blues genres. While sevenths may still make an appearance occasionally in other styles that utilize diminished and full triads more frequently (e.g. rock music or metal), sevenths may not feature as prominently.