How Country Music Writers Are Using Seven Summers Chords

Chords act like flippers and bumpers, changing the trajectory of songs. That is why country writers have increasingly been willing to experiment with unfamiliar sounds in their writing.

Let’s examine Morgan Wallen’s seven summers chord progression. In this example, starting from a G-shape pattern as its basis and connecting it with other shapes using CAGED System’s linking process, this progression ultimately becomes Morgan Wallen’s seven summers chords.

1. C-shape

Nile Rodgers used this chord shape in his riff for Chic’s Good Times and it has also become increasingly popular in country and rockabilly styles. This closed position chord offers a comfortable, relaxed sound that can easily be moved around on the fretboard for an open sound.

Hendrix made this shape legendary on Purple Haze and Foxy Lady. This shape works exceptionally well in blues or jazz progressions and sounds great with an overdriven tone.

An alternative C chord variation – 13 sus 4 – try fingering it using only your third and fourth fingers while keeping first and fifth strings muted for an instantly Django Reinhardt or Bireli Lagrene-esque sounding gypsy jazz sound.

2. E-shape

E shape bar chords are an effective way of getting your fingers moving across the fretboard. By shifting the 3rd an octave up onto string 4(D), and then dropping it back two frets on string 1(E), E shape bar chords create a moveable D major triad shape (see diagram b).

Addition of a sus2 (or 13th) gives this shape its signature sound. Give it a go in rock riffs like those from Def Leppard’s Message In A Bottle or use it to play rhythms such as those heard on Starsky And Hutch theme tune.

Switching out G for D in order to form an add11 voicing can create an effective add11 chord progression (see diagram c). This voicing has great tension and could work perfectly as part of a rock chord progression.

3. D-shape

Once you have your C and G shapes under your fingers, it is time to use them in other keys. Ex. 7 provides a musical exercise designed to connect patterns across the fretboard while ending in a Cm9 chord voicing inspired by Andy Summers’ guitar work in The Police.

Note how the chords in this example are linked by shared or common tones – an effective compositional technique which aims to avoid leaving static notes when moving from chord to chord. Lower your sixth string a half tone if tuning for drop D for an aggressive powerchord sound.

4. G-shape

Mastering this shape may be challenging for some but if you can achieve success you’ll open up an endless universe of jazz and blues chords. Jimi Hendrix used an augmented chord like this in both Purple Haze and Foxy Lady which showcases it perfectly.

An unconventional major 7 chord with a flat 5 gives this chord its unsettling sound, making it suitable for rock and jazz styles alike. Nile Rodgers used this chord prominently during Chic’s Good Times album.

Police fans will recognize this chord from Andy Summers’ Message In A Bottle and Every Breath You Take, where it was used with variations on a G bar chord but by switching out its third position for an F note for an amplified sound.

5. E-shape

Major 7th chords possess an easygoing and soothing quality that can be heard throughout all genres of music. Our E shape doesn’t quite fit within the typical CAGED system shapes as it features a bass note on its fourth string that gives it more of a B shape feel.

Fans of Andy Summers from Walking On The Moon may recognize his version of this dominant 7sus4 chord which can be used in reggae rhythm guitar styles as well as Chic’s Good Times riff.

An Asus2 is an altered chord in which the ninth interval is switched out for a diminished 9th, creating a rich and dark tone in your playing. Consider swapping standard G chords in I-IV-V progressions with these voicings for an atmospheric and lush tone in your performance.

6. D-shape

Major 7th chords offer a distinctively relaxing sound, making them popular choices in folk, acoustic rock and other loose genres. If you want to recreate Morgan Wallen’s country hit Seven Summers then try using this D shape chord progression with open G and C chords for similar results.

Some may find this chord challenging, but for those with strong fingers it can add an intriguing flair to their chord progressions. This Eadd9 chord features two perfect 5th intervals joined with a minor 2nd to form what amounts to an unconventional minor 9th chord without its third component (1-3-5). Hendrix fans should especially enjoy this option!