15. Dominant 7th chords

So what you’re saying is chords have some sort of battles and the 7th round is all about who dominates the most?

1. Topics of discussion

In this tutorial, we will be taking a look at dominant seventh chords and how to play them. So, let’s have some fun.

2. Note durations explained

Dominant 7th chords are formed by using the major triad, on top of which we add the flatted seventh note of the major scale formed on the root note. For example, if we want to play the C7 chord, we would add the B♭ note on top of the C-E-G triad. As a result, the chord formula for dominant seventh chords is the following:

1 3 5 ♭7

Let us play the C7 chord in 5 different shapes, using the CAGED system, as you might expect. First off, the C form:

E|-------|
B|---1---|
G|---3---|
D|---2---|
A|---3---|
E|-------|

Here it is played back:

Finger wise, we play it like this:

C7_Cform

Let’s move on to the A form:

E|---3---|
B|---5---|
G|---3---|
D|---5---|
A|---3---|
E|-------|

Here it is played back:

Finger wise, we play it like this:

C7_Aform

Let’s move on to the G form:

E|---6---|
B|---5---|
G|---5---|
D|---5---|
A|---7---|
E|---8---|

Here it is played back:

Finger wise, we play it like this:

C7_Gform

Let’s move on to the E form:

E|---8----|
B|---8----|
G|---9----|
D|---8----|
A|---10---|
E|---8----|

Here it is played back:

Finger wise, we play it like this:

C7_Eform

Let’s move on to the D form:

E|---12----|
B|---11----|
G|---12----|
D|---10----|
A|---------|
E|---------|

Here it is played back:

Finger wise, we play it like this:

C7_Dform

Last time I said that it seemed a bit counter-intuitive to move on to dominant 7th chords instead of minor seventh. Why I chose this direction is simple. Major seventh and dominant 7th both rely on adding a note on top of the major triad and the main difference between them is in that flatted 7th note.

Anyhow, that about covers it for this tutorial. Next time around we are going to discuss minor 7th chords. See you then.

Chord charts generated using this chord generator

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