7th Chords for Guitar
We’ve talked a little bit about major and minor chords, and now I want to talk about the next most common category of chords – 7th chords.
Seventh chords are used in all kinds of music, but they’re most commonly found in rock, blues and jazz.
Putting the Pieces Together
A typical major chord is built on three tones, the root, third and fifth of a given major scale. In the case of a G major scale, the notes will be G B and D.
Seventh chords add one more note – you guessed it, the 7th. In this post we’ll look at the three most common types of 7th chords, the dominant 7th, the major 7th and the minor 7th.
Dominant 7th chords
Dominant 7th chords use the root, third and fifth notes of the major scale and add a flat seventh. In the G major scale the seventh note is F#, to get the flat 7th bring the F# down a semitone to F and you get a dominant seventh chord of G B D and F.
G Dominant 7th Chord, Open
I’ve repeated some of the major chord tones to give you 6 notes and a full open G7 chord.
Major Seventh Chords
Major seventh chords are constructed in exactly the same way as a dominant seventh chord except that the 7th note is not flattened. So a Gmaj7 chord uses the notes G B D and F#. It looks like this:
G Major 7th Guitar Chord
This is a slightly more dissonant-sounding chord, but it can add an interesting tone colour to a song when played in the right context.
Minor Seventh Chords
Minor seventh chords use the root, flat third, 5th and flat 7th notes of the chord you’re playing. So a G minor 7th chord is made up of G, Bb, D and F.
You’ll often see this chord played as a barre chord. To do this, cover all six strings at the 3rd fret with the first finger on your left hand, place your third finger on the 5th string, 5th fret and your fourth finger on the 2nd string, 6th fret:
G Minor 7th Guitar Chord
This one is a bit difficult, but as with anything, you’ll get used to it with practice. Play around with the different types of 7th chords and get used to the different sounds.
Adding 7th chords to your songwriting repertoire can really boost your creative options.