How to Play 7th Guitar Chords

Guitar chords can make or break an entire song, with seventh chords playing an instrumental part. Seventh chords were so essential in shaping blues music genre that entire genres like it were founded upon it!

There are various 7th chords, but those you are likely to come across most frequently include major seventh, dominant seventh and half diminished chords. Each adds one note that gives it its unique character.

Major 7th Chord

Seventh chords are extensions of triads that add a seventh interval above the root note – for instance, a major 7th chord contains C-E-G notes.

To build a major 7th chord, start from its root note and count up until reaching its seventh interval – for instance a G major seventh chord requires counting from G to F# as part of its construction process.

Major seventh chords combine the benefits of both triad and seventh chord, producing a distinctive sound when played. They can create an atmospheric or soothing experience and can often serve as resolution in progressions.

There are five distinct kinds of seventh chords, and each has a special place in our musical arsenal. From major sevenths’ cozy charm to diminished sevenths’ unsettling tension, these chords give us powerful tools for creating emotion and telling stories through music.

Minor 7th Chord

Minor 7th chords contain a minor third, perfect fifth and a seventh (two semitones below the root), making them a staple in jazz music as well as rock and funk such as that performed by Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Wonder. There is a slight dissonance between major third in first octave and minor seventh in second octave that adds another level of excitement when playing it – making this chord truly enjoyable to play!

To identify the notes of a minor 7th chord, begin by looking at the table below for scale degrees and counting how many half-tones or semitones separate each note to identify its quality and name.

Dominant 7th Chord

Once you’ve gained a thorough knowledge of major and minor triads, it’s time to move on to dominant 7th chords – an essential chord found across many styles, especially blues. Similar to its minor seven flat five counterpart, but with its seventh note lowered by half-step – they provide another essential sound you will use frequently in all styles.

A dominant 7th chord combines the roots, third and fifth notes of a major triad with a flattened dominant seventh note to produce an emotive and bluesy chord sound.

As with other 7th chords, inverting any of the notes within it to alter its shape and tone. Dominant voicings such as F7 dominate tend to have more dissonant qualities while raising or lowering (enharmonically written +9 or -9) its seventh adds further complexity – C7#5 and F7#9 both offer strong jazz qualities.

Half Diminished 7th Chord

Musicians frequently employ chords as the foundation for melodies and rhythms. A seventh chord is one such type of harmony that musicians frequently employ; these series of notes can be played together to produce distinct sounds and structures.

A half diminished 7th chord is a type of seventh chord with its third note removed, creating a symmetrical form you can play anywhere on the fretboard with any note becoming the root.

This chord can also be known as an M7b5 chord or flattened dominant seventh chord and it is frequently employed as a dominant function leading up to minor tones in minor cadences or as part of minor chord progressions.

All seventh chords possess distinct note interval qualities based on the quality of triad chords they are built from, as outlined below in the table. In brackets are short interval names/abbreviations associated with them.