How to Play Guitar With Seventh Chords

Seventh chords add a distinct flair to basic triads. Their character depends on which notes are added above its root note.

As an example, stacking a major triad and minor seventh above the root will create a major/minor seventh chord – something the Rolling Stones did with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, an iconic blues-meets-psychedelic rock song from their catalogue.

Major Seventh

As its name implies, this seventh chord adds a rich sound to basic triads and also serves well as the IV chord in major key progressions.

There are various voicings of this chord, each offering their own distinctive sounds. Experiment by changing its root note until you find one that suits your music best.

Additionally, this chord offers the ideal opportunity to experiment with moveable shapes. Moveable chords allow for dynamic adjustments up and down the neck without opening any open strings.

One moveable shape is the drop 2 voicing of A Major 7. This technique changes the second highest note by one octave, creating four unique chord shapes for this chord on all six strings and providing your chords with their own distinct flavor and tension-inducing progressions.

Minor Seventh

By adding a seventh note to a minor chord, it creates a smoother and more sophisticated sound – this chord progression can be found across many genres of music; examples can be seen in songs like Long Train Running by Doobie Brothers or Neil Young’s Heart of Gold for examples of this type of chord progression.

Once you have learned all the minor barre chords, this chord becomes simple to play. The pattern is similar to the minor chord shape on the D string without pinky; by moving this pattern up the fretboard you get Em7, Fm7, Bm7 etc.

Min7 chord shapes are highly adaptable, enabling players to form them anywhere on the neck as long as they know where the root note lies – the lowest note in any chord determines its name – in this instance, it would be on A string at 5th fret which gives it its name Amin7.

Dominant Seventh

Once you master major triad shapes, dominant seventh chords can add tension to any chord progression – they’re also popular choices in 12 bar blues chord progressions.

In this lesson we’ll take a look at how to play inverted and diminished chords, as well as discuss why they sound so bluesy (when used correctly)!

A seventh chord can be defined as a triad with one additional note added 10 semitones above its root chord, such as adding B flat to C major (C-E-G). Thus a C dominant seventh chord or simply “dom7”, for instance, would become one of many possible diatonic scale seventh chords; it is most frequently utilized however; therefore this lesson will focus on dominant sevenths as our focus; other types, like diminished sevenths are covered elsewhere on this site.

Half-Diminished Seventh

Half diminished seventh chords are an invaluable addition to any progression, adding tension and adding variety. Sometimes called minor 7 flat 5 chords, half diminished sevenths are an excellent way of passing between other chords without disrupting their flow.

Minor 7 flat 5 chords can be easily identified through their alternative name: minor 7 flat 5. This signifies their composition as being similar to a minor 7 chord but with its perfect fifth interval flattened by one semitone so as to create dissonance that adds tension and emotion.

Construction of these chords can be accomplished using an easy pattern of intervals, similar to how other types are built by stacking minor thirds atop each other. With the formula 1, b3, b5, 7 you can build this above any note – these moveable shapes are simple and can even be played across the neck!