Jul 062017

How to play and apply dom7th chordsThe dominant 7th chord is a chord that you will find in a lot of popular songs and many styles of music. In fact it’s the most essential chord type in blues music and one of the defining characteristics that defines the blues sound. But even if you’re not into blues, you want to make this chord part of your guitar vocabulary.

The dom7 chord comes in various shapes and sizes. We start with the “open” dom7 chords which are great for beginners and work our way up to more intermediate level dom7 chords: “The moveable chords”.

We’ll first take you through some basic dominant 7th music theory, we’ll show you the different types of dom7 chords and shapes, and then apply the chords to the song.

Let’s dive in!

The Dom7 chord is simply a major triad with a flatted seventh (b7).
The major triad consists of the root (1), the major third (3) and the perfect fifth (5).
So the Dom7 chord formula = 1 3 5 b7

Let’s take a Cdom7 (also called “C7”) chord as an example.
We look at the C major scale: C D E F G A B C and we take the root (1st), 3rd, 5th and b7th note of that scale and you get the notes: C-E-G-Bb. So a Cdom7 (C7) chord consists of the notes: C E G Bb

Let’s take another example: Adom7 (also called “A7”)
A major scale = A B C# D E F# G# A
Dom7 chord formula = 1 3 5 b7
Adom7 (A7) chord = A C# E G#

Open Dom7 chords
Open chords are chords that use open strings and are often the easy chords. Here are the most important open Dom7 chords:

A7-A7-B7-C7 chords

D7-E7-E7-G7 Chords

Moveable chords
The F chord (see below) is a closed chord shape (it has no open strings) which makes it a moveable chord. Open strings are barred, muted or simply not played.

A moveable chord can be moved up and down the neck and can therefor be played in all keys. The red note indicates the root note. The name of the root note also determines the name of the chord. In this case the root note is an F note so the chord is F major. Wherever you play this chord shape on the neck just find the root note and you have the name of the chord.

Example: If you move any of these closed (F) chord shapes up a whole step (2 frets) you get G major. Move any of the chord shapes up 2 whole steps (4 frets) you get A major.

F7 bar chords

In a chord progression the Dom7 chord is traditionally used for the V chord leading to the I chord. So you get V7 – I or V7 – i. (e.g. G7 – C or G7 – Cm) or (e.g. E7 – A or E7 – Am)

Having said that, the dom7 can be applied everywhere depending on the song and creativity of the artist.

The dominant 7th chord is also the key player in blues music and played throughout the 12 bar blues progression.

Here’s a 12 bar blues in the key of A:

/ A7 / A7 / A7 / A7 / D7 / D7 / A7 / A7 / E7 / D7 / A7 / E7 /

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Songs with Dom7 chords:
The verse of the song Can’t buy me love by The Beatles consists of solely dom7 chords. Check it out:
/ Em / Am / Em / Am/ F6 / G6 /
Can’t buy me love…..
/ C7 / C7 / C7 / C7/
I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend…
/F7 / F7 / C7 / C7 /
I’ll get you anything my friend…
/G7 / F7 / F7 / C7/
Cause I don’t care too much for money…

Sitting waiting wishing by Jack Johnson is also a beautiful example packed with dom7 chords.
/ Am / Am7 / G / G7 / F / F7 / C / C7 /
Well I was sitting, waiting, wishing, You believed in superstitions, Then maybe…
/ Am / Am7 / G / G7 / F / F7 / C / C7 /
The Lord knows that this world is cruel, I ain’t the Lord, no I’m just a fool…

Practice the chords and practice the songs.
Have a good one!

How to Play and Apply Dominant 7th Chords
Source: Guitarhabits