Playing open 7th chords on guitar is really quite simple – especially if you have already mastered playing major and minor open chords.
And they can add a distinct flavor to your playing. Not to mention that a lot of songs you probably want to learn incorporate the use of 7th chords.
A lot of people associate “dominant” 7th chords with blues and whilst they are used a lot in blues they are also used in a lot of other genres.
What are 7th Chords
Without getting too technical 7th chords essentially have some form of a 7th note of the scale in them. There a few different types of 7th chords but this post will be discussing “dominant” 7ths which are the most common form of 7th chords.
The Open Major Chords
The following chords will be covered below:
If you aren’t sure about how to read the chord charts below then check out my basic open chords post at the link below. It explains how the chord charts work. And if you haven’t learnt the open major and minor chords then I encourage you to do that first before moving onto 7ths.
A little more background on 7th Chords
Major chords use the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale, whilst minor chords use the 1st, flat 3rd and 5th notes of the scale.
Dominant Sevenths use the 1st, 3rd 5th and the flat 7th notes of the scale. So they just bring 1 extra note -the flat 7th. These chords are usually simply written with a “7” – e.g. E7 – often with the 7 written smaller.
This is not to be confused with the major 7 which is written maj7 – e.g. Emaj7. That is a different kind of chord that uses the major 7th instead of the flattened 7th.
There are also minor seventh chords which bring in a flat 7th to a minor chord. So they use the 1st, flat 3rd, 5th and flat 7th notes of the scale.
Don’t worry if this explanation is above your understanding at this point – this post will be solely dealing with dominant sevenths the most common 7th chords) – so you will just be adding a flat seventh note into the chords. And I will only be covering a handful of “open” major 7th chords.
In another post I will cover making 7th chords from barre chords. And at a later date I will get into minor 7ths and some other variations.
O.k. so here are the 5 Easiest 7th Chords to get you Going
If you haven’t learnt any open major and minor chords or aren’t sure how to read the chord charts below check out the link below.
The E7 Chord
The A7 Chord
The D7 Chord
The C7 Chord
The G7 Chord
Over to You
So there you have the 5 most common open 7th chords. Remember that there are several types of 7th chords and that these are known as “dominant” 7ths and they are the most common of all 7th chords.
Next week I will go over forming 7th chords using barre chords.
I hope this post has helped you to discover 7th chords and that you can now use them to add color to your playing and expand your repertoire. If you have any questions or anything to add please leave a comment below.