the previous two lessons in this basic
learned the elementary major and minor open position chords, down at
the first few
frets. But it doesn't stop there! Now that we know the basic major and
minor forms, we can
modify these to create more
In this lesson we're looking at the open
7th chords. Don't
worry about what the "7th" means right now - in time you will
understand. The main thing to know is that 7th chords are not separate
from major or minor chords, rather they add notes to those
basic major and minor chords. In other words,
7th chords are still essentially major or minor.
By the end of this lesson you'll know which type of 7th chord
creates which type of sound. You'll also know how to instantly make
those basic major/minor chords more interesting. So, let's expand our
chord library even further...
Dominant 7th open chords
7th chords are used in place of regular major chords when the mood
fits. There's no hard and fast rule, but dom-7th chords generally
give the major chord a more unstable feel, and all because of one
note, known as the flat 7th.
You can tell a chord is a dominant 7th chord
because it will be written with a 7
(e.g. E7, D7, C7).
Remember in the last lesson I asked you to try and observe which
note/string we were changing to turn major into minor chords? Well,
it's a good idea to do the same here. Take a look at the dominant 7th
chords below and see if you can identify how the basic major chord has
been altered. The fingering shapes should seem familiar from the first
major chord lesson, with slight changes to
accommodate this new 7th tone...
the diagrams to hear
Use your index finger flat across the
D G and B strings. Make sure all
strings sound cleanly when fretted.
Minor 7th open chords
Now we're modifying the basic minor chords to
become 7th chords. Like above, adding the
same flat 7th note gives the minor chords a fuller sound. It's just
an easy way to
beef up those regular chords.
using your first (index) finger flat
those top 2 strings, making sure
each note in the chord sounds cleanly and in harmony.
Open major 7th chords
Not to be confused with the dominant
7th chords from earlier,
which were major chords with the added flat 7th.
Major 7th chords are
major chords with an added major
7th. Confused? I don't blame you! The
best way to tell the difference
at first is to see and hear it, so take a look and
below and see the difference between the major 7th and dominant 7th
chords. Again, it's just one single note responsible for the difference
(hint: with the E shape, it's the D string)...
After 3 lessons of chords, we now have a fairly
large pot from which
to pull a simple progression of our own. Use the below jam track
exercises to get an idea of how 7th chords can work with the other open
chords we learned to create meaningful music.
Just like in the previous
lessons, before you
play over the jam track below, use a
to gradually build up
and confidence with changing chords. Make sure the changes are smooth
and clean before you speed up a notch.
Also, as always with these lessons, try making
your own sequence
guitar chords we've learned so far. The more you practice changing
between chords, the sooner you will be ready to move on to using more
fingerings. However, don't feel like you're in a rush.
More basic guitar
chords to learn
Think back to when you'd just learned the first
couple of chords.
Now look at how far you've come! You may even be at the point where you
can just pick up the guitar and improvise with the chords you've
learned. Whatever stage you're at, these lessons are always here for
you to back track through and refresh your memory.
In the final lesson of this open chord series, we
will be looking at
even more interesting chords you can create simply by modifying the
basic major and minor open shapes. You may have experimented already by
adding and removing fingers/notes to chords and changing their sound.
Next lesson will build on this.