How to Play Seventh Chords on Guitar

The seventh chord is an integral component of musical language, adding depth and dimension to its sound.

Seven-chords can be found all throughout music, so it’s wise to have some different shapes in your repertoire. Discover these four types to enhance the harmonic landscape:

Major Seventh

Major seventh chords (commonly known as maj7) are formed by adding the seventh note from any scale to an already existing major triad, making use of jazz music a very frequent application for these chords.

These chords are constructed using flexible shapes that allow you to alter their positions up or down the fretboard to produce different inversions of the same quality, for instance an Emaj7 shape can be altered into an Fmaj7 by barring just the fifth string while leaving all others open.

This classic Ella Fitzgerald song provides the ideal example of how seventh chords add depth and character to a progression, whether that be jazz, rock, funk or another genre altogether. Explore our extensive library of songs for practicing Cmaj7 chords today with Yousician! Then sign up for your free trial of interactive online guitar lessons designed to make learning fun and motivating!

Minor Seventh

Minor seventh chord extensions are one of the coolest guitar chord extensions you can use to add emotional tension and melancholy to your songs. Patsy Cline made good use of it in her classic song “Crazy”, while Louis Armstrong used it in his rendition of the standard “I’m In The Mood For Love.”

Minor seventh chords can be created easily using dominant seventh chord shapes; simply move your fingers to the fifth fret of the first string, sixth fret of second string and fourth fret of first string for this particular type of chord.

As part of our introduction to minor chords on guitar, we will also teach you movable minor seventh chords so you can build them without using open strings. Once you are familiar with these fundamental chords, the next step should be learning how to combine them into song progressions – an excellent way of getting started with minor chords on the instrument!

Dominant Seventh

This chord can add some flair to your music. Combining the major triad with a minor seventh gives it a distinctively bluesy sound.

Dominant seventh chords often include sharp 11 (or diminished 7th) intervals above their root to add tension in songs, however be wary not to mistake this for a dominant 9 chord which has its own personality altogether.

On the guitar there are various movable dominant seven chord shapes; some with roots on low strings while others on higher ones. Below are diagrams displaying some commonly-voiced examples for these chords.

The last two diagrams demonstrate some examples of drop 2 voicings for these chords, which require string skipping by your bass finger. Practice until you can successfully play these chords without issue; it might take some time before mastering them but I believe the effort is well worth the time!

Minor Seven Flat Five

The minor seven flat five chord, commonly referred to as a half diminished chord, is an essential tool in your arsenal for jazz chord progressions and other genres alike. You will frequently come across it when looking to add tension and color; its use can add both tension and color while adding tension itself! Essentially it is an extension of sharpened subdominant diminished triad with flattened fifth, providing another option as either a replacement ii chord in minor ii-v-i progressions or as an alternate version for dominant seventh chords when used this way.

An extended triad is constructed by stacking minor thirds (3 to 5) and major thirds (5 to 7) over any root note, creating method two of construction as opposed to method one which involved building from a diminished triad.

Discover m7b5 guitar chord voicings easily using this printable PDF eBook with audio files. Featuring 25 soul jazz licks that mix jazz, blues and funky styles that are great for beginner guitarists!