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7th Chords


Hello, in today's lesson we will be learning 7th chords as well as looking at how they are constructed. There are three main types of 7th chords:

  • Major 7 Chords

  • Minor 7 Chords

  • Dominant 7 Chords

So what differentiates 7th chords from normal Major, Minor and Dominant 7 chords? A 7th chord is a 4 note chord which includes a 7th instead of just the 1, 3, 5 or 1, b3, 5 that you have with regular Major and Minor chords. We will first look at Major 7 Chords.


The Major 7 Chord


So what are Major 7 chords? Major 7 Chords are chords which use notes 1, 3, 5, 7 of any Major scale. So what notes make up a C major 7 chord? Well let's take a basic C Major Scale over one octave to work out the notes of a C major 7 chord:


Notes of the C major Scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

Structure of a C Major 7 Chord: 1, 3, 5, 7

Notes of a C Major 7 Chord: C, E, G, B


It really is that simple. To work out the notes of a C major 7 chord you simply just take notes 1, 3, 5, 7 of the C Major Scale and that gives you A C Major 7 chord. Here below are 3 C major 7 chord shapes for you to learn.



Don't be scared to shift these chord shapes around. The chord shapes are always the same, regardless of whether you want to play a C Major 7 chord, an F major 7 chord or a Bb Major 7 chord. Just shift them up wherever you want but the chord shapes remain the same regardless of which fret you're at.


The Minor 7 chord


Then we have Minor 7 chords. Minor 7 chords are chords which use notes 1, b3, 5, b7 of any Major scale. So what notes make up a C Minor 7 chord? Let's take a basic C Major Scale over one octave to work out the notes a C Minor 7 chord:


Notes of the C major Scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

Structure of a C Minor 7 Chord: 1, b3, 5, b7

Notes of a C Minor 7 Chord: C, Eb, G, Bb


So to work out the notes of a C Minor 7 chord you just take the notes 1, b3, 5, b7 of the C Major Scale and that gives you a C Minor 7 chord. Here below are 3 C Minor 7 chord shapes for you to learn, one over 6 strings, one over 5 strings and one over 4 strings.




The Dominant 7 chord


Then finally we have the Dominant 7 chord. A Dominant 7 chord is simply just notes 1, 3, 5, b7 of any Major scale. So what if we wanted a C Dominant 7 chord? Let's take a basic C Major Scale and we can work it out from there:


Notes of the C Major Scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B

Structure of a C Dominant 7 Chord: 1, 3, 5, b7

Notes of a Dominant 7 Chord: C, E, G, Bb


And that's it. To work out the notes of a C Dominant 7 chord you just take notes 1, 3, 5, b7 from the C Major Scale and that gives you a C Dominant 7 chord. Here below are three Dominant 7 chords for you to learn, one over 6 strings, one over 5 strings and one over 4 strings.



And that's it, I hope you've found this lesson helpful. Remember these chord shapes are the same regardless of the key, all you need to do is slide those shapes up to the frets you want, and that's it, you don't need to change fingerings. Have fun playing around with them and next week we'll look at how we can harmonise the Major Scale with these chords to make it easy to come up with your own chord progressions and songs. See you then!

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