When you pick up a guitar, you want to learn how to play your favorite songs as fast as possible. But before doing so, you must first learn basic chords. Of all the chords you will use, A7 guitar chords are the first you will learn to master. A common chord, the A7 chord is used in many types of songs, particularly those in the blues genre. If you’re ready to learn how to play your guitar and make yourself sound like a pro, here is everything you need to learn about A7 guitar chords.
What is A7 Guitar Chord?
Since you’re curious as to what is an A7 guitar chord, let’s give you the answer. To begin with, A7 is short for A dominant 7, also commonly referred to as an AM7 guitar chord. Perhaps the most important chord for guitars, it plays a crucial role in practically all keys.
To put this chord into perspective, it is simply an A chord with an added flat 7. Once you take the root (1), 3,5, and b7 of the A Major scale, you have an A7 chord, since it contains the notes A, C#, E, and G.
There are two main A7 chords, those being the Open position and the E7 barre shape. If you are just starting to learn how to play the guitar, you’ll learn the A7 Open position first, since it is the easiest. In fact, if you already know a standard A Major chord, learning the A7 becomes that much easier, since you’ll just need to remove your second finger from the chord.
The second A7 chord, the E7 Barre Shape, is based on an open E7 chord and is usually a bit too difficult for beginners. However, as you progress and begin to learn more about barring techniques, you’ll be able to incorporate this advanced A7 chord into your playing.
How Do You Play A7 Chord on Guitar?
Now that you know more about the A7 guitar chords, it’s time to learn how to play them on your guitar. When playing the A7 chord open position, you’ll start by placing your first finger on the second fret of the fourth string, which is the D string. Next, you will place your second finger on the second fret of the second string, which happens to be the B string. Once your fingers are properly positioned, you will strum the guitar from the fifth, or A, string.
If you are up to the challenge of playing an AM7 guitar chord using a barring technique, here’s how you can do it. To start, you will barre your first finger across all the strings of your guitar’s fifth fret. Next, your third finger will be placed on the seventh fret of the A string, which is the guitar’s fifth string. Finally, your second finger will go on the sixth fret of the D string, which is the fourth string. Once you have everything held down, you will strum all of your guitar’s strings.
What Does an A7 Chord Sound Like?
If you are a fan of blues music and have listened to countless songs over the years, there is little doubt you have heard many A7 guitar chords in your favorite songs. However, you probably didn’t even know it at the time. Often referred to as a guitar chord that has a “muddy” sound, it can also bring tremendous variety to a song, since the chord can be used in many different variations.
This is evident if you hear a song that has a guitarist using the A7 variation known as the One-Finger Barre Shape. A simpler aspect of the barre technique, it’s done by placing your first finger over the second fret of your guitar’s first four strings, then placing your second finger on the third fret of the high end string. What comes next is a style that stands out in any band, particularly those that play funk and soul.
What Chords are in Key of A7?
The A7 guitar chord resolves naturally to the D Major chord, and is the fifth chord in the key of D. Since there are actually 10 different ways to play the A7 chord using the notes A, C#, E, and G, the AM7 guitar chord functions as the chord that resolves to the first chord in a key.
Is A7 a Minor Chord?
If you have not figured it out by now, the A7 is a major chord. One giveaway is the fact that it is referred to as the dominant seventh chord, and just as it is with all dominant seventh chords, contains the intervals major third, minor third, minor third, and tone, which leads back to the root note from which it started. In fact, when a guitarist is soloing over the AM7 guitar chord, the A mixolydian mode can be used.
Ways to Play A7 Guitar Chord
To play the guitar chord A7, you’ll quickly see there are many different variations regarding A7 guitar chord finger position. For example, the A7 Three-Finger Chord is perfect for blues and other gritty songs. An easy chord to master, you do so by first placing your first finger on the fifth fret of the low E string. Next, your second finger will go on the fifth fret of the D string. Last, your third finger will go on the sixth fret of the G string.
For an A7 guitar chord featuring D7 shape, this will be called a “moveable” shape because the chord is part of the CAGED guitar system. Within this system, various guitar chord shapes can be moved around the fret board, leading to the creation of chords in new keys. To demonstrate this, examine the C7 Shape. Upon doing so, you’ll see the A7 guitar chord uses the same shape as the C7 chord. Thus, to play the A7 chord, all you need to do is move the C7 shape up to the 12th fret of the fifth string, which is the A string.
When attempting an A7 barre shape, it’s easier than you think. The same as a regular A7 open chord, you just move the chord shape to the 12th fret and add the barre. If this is too hard for you, don’t worry. Instead, discard the barre and just move the open A7 shape to your guitar’s 14th fret.
How Do I Practice the A7 Guitar Chord?
Like any musical instrument, the guitar requires hours and hours of practice to perfect. If you are wanting to become more and more comfortable with the many variations of A7 guitar chords, there are four main practice methods you’ll need to use on a regular basis.
First, each time you learn a new chord, try squeezing your fretting hand. By doing so, you’ll create muscle memory and teach your hand to remember that particular chord. However, before squeezing your hand, make sure you are playing the chord correctly. Otherwise, you’ll just be teaching yourself to remember the wrong chord. To ensure you are playing the chord correctly, use a chord box for reference to make sure your fingers are positioned correctly. Also, make sure each note in the chord sounds clear and correct, and ensure your fretting hand feels very relaxed. Should you be feeling any pain, you’re doing something wrong.
Next, practice your A7 chord without looking at your fingers. Once you’ve learned the correct way to play a chord, squeeze your fretting hand five times, then take it off the guitar’s neck. While you’re looking elsewhere, place your fingers back on the neck and try playing the A7 chord. Hopefully, you did it correctly.
Another great practice technique is to move back and forth among the seven various chords. To begin, play the open A7 guitar chord. From there, move on to the one-finger barre, three-finger chord, E7 barre shape, D7 shape, C7 shape, and the A7 barre shape. If you do this with little if any problem, give yourself a real challenge by doing it in reverse, since you’re likely to find this more difficult.
Last but not least, learn songs that use the A7 guitar chords. Since you will be playing actual songs, you’re likely to find this practice technique very interesting and fun. Once you start looking around for some favorite songs to play, you’ll quickly discover there are blues, soul, rock, and plenty of other songs from various genres that rely heavily on using the A7 guitar chord.
Songs with A7 Guitar Chord
As for songs that are excellent for beginners like you to practice on so that you become more and more comfortable with the A7 guitar chord, three stand out as ones that will give you an excellent sampling of just how great this chord can make any song sound.
First, there is the A7 Blues. When discussing an AM7 guitar chord, this is one that any guitarist will tell you is an excellent way to learn almost everything about this dominant chord. Featured heavily in almost all blues songs, it has a chord progression that is second to none.
Should you be a fan of legendary guitarist Eric Clapton, his classic song “Before You Accuse Me” puts the A7 guitar chord on full display, showcasing its true potential. Learning this song will be easy, since it only uses three chords from start to finish. Also, it’s the same from beginning to end, and lets you use a strumming pattern that helps you learn what the blues are all about.
Finally, the classic Beatles song “I Saw Her Standing There” is also a fine example of how an A7 guitar chord can take a song to the next level. Should you have been a fan of the Fab Four, listen to how the late George Harrison used the A7 to help make this song one that will forever be a timeless classic.
While it will take you plenty of hours of practice to master the many nuances of the A7 guitar chords, it will pay off once you pick up your guitar and find you are starting to sound more and more like Clapton and Harrison.