E dominant seventh chords (commonly referred to as EDm7 chords, and pronounced “e-dom”) can be found across many genres and musical subgenres; you might recognize them from songs like Auld Lang Syne or in funk music.
To play an E seventh chord on guitar, put your index finger at the second fret of the first string and your pinky finger at the fifth string – this creates a closed E seventh chord shape.
E Major Scale
The E Major Scale is composed of seven notes that can be played from various locations on the fretboard. The first diagram provides instructions for playing this scale using typical chord voicings for this key.
The second diagram presents similar chord voicings from different positions, with note names for each scale degree clearly marked to help you visualize and memorize where these scale degrees reside on the fretboard.
Finally, the third diagram illustrates how a capo can help move this chord shape to any other key center by shifting scale degrees up and down until they match with the root note of that key center. This exercise can be an excellent way to build fretboard awareness! Make sure to listen closely for how each scale degree feels against the root note so as to understand their “color”, this will enable you to write and improvise more effectively.
G Major Scale
When starting to learn guitar, starting with the G Major Scale is an excellent place to begin. With only one sharp note and easy playing characteristics on any stringed instrument, this scale also serves as the starting point for numerous major chords.
An E7 chord can easily be created by adding a minor seventh to a standard E triad – giving it a deep blues-influenced sound. Though easy to play, this chord has the power of creating magic within any song!
To play the G major scale, begin with your thumb on the fifth fret playing G and work your way down using index finger playing A, middle finger 11th fret D and ring finger 13th fret F# chords with a metronome starting slowly and increasing pace until all chords have been memorized as quickly as possible. Doing this will allow your muscles to memorize these chords quickly!
B Major Scale
The B Major Scale is one of the most frequently employed scales when playing seventh chords on guitar. While its notes resemble those found in E Major Scale, its accidentals alter some intervals between certain notes – this lesson will show you how to build E7 chords around your fretboard using this scale.
An E7 chord can be constructed simply by leaving the top string (low E) open; this will produce a deep blues-inspired sound.
An alternative way of creating an E7 chord is using an open D chord shape shifted up a few frets (Example 3a). While this version may be harder to play, its sound can make up for its lack of ease of control.
The E7 chord is a dominant seventh chord, which adds a flattened seventh to its root triad. Although not as widespread, this chord can be found in numerous songs including classic spiritual compositions like Amazing Grace and Coca-Cola jingles such as Kum Ba Yah. Furthermore, heavy metal musicians often employ this chord.
D Major Scale
The D Major Scale is a seven-note scale with two octave pattern. It contains all of the notes of E Major scale plus one extra (flattened seventh E G# B). To play its first chord shown above, simply place your index finger on the second fret of D string while middle finger on third fret of A string before strumming all six strings simultaneously.
Practice these scales ascending and descending, or using the fingerboard diagram below. As you play these scales, focus on cleanly fretting the notes with appropriate finger placement while maintaining a steady rhythm – metronomes can be great tools for this purpose!
If you’re curious to gain more knowledge about chords and the fretboard, our free ebook Chord by Chord will be invaluable in expanding your understanding of harmony while teaching you all of the common guitar chords.