7 Chord for Guitar

What is a 7 chord?

Seventh chords are very common chords. Much of jazz is based upon 7th progressions. The seventh note is one of the notes that really defines the sound of the chord. It’s one of the strongest notes.

A seventh chord can be major, minor, augmented or diminished. Remember that the 3rd is the note that determines whether it is major or minor.

7 chord formation

The seventh automatically assumes the seventh note is a flatted seventh, or the note a whole step (2 frets) above the octave of your tonic. If it is not, if it’s only one fret above your tonic it’s called a major 7th chord. A minor 7th chord is your flatted third plus the flatted 7th. It sound a bit confusing but we’ll look at the charts.

Using the 7 chord

As far as use of 7th chords, the 7th is used a lot in jazz and in country music. It naturally sounds twangy, not as uplifting as the major chord (not the major 7th.) It’s a fun loving chord. And it’s better for comping or rhythm than melodic use.

Now the major 7th is decidedly jazzy. It has a very soft, soft jazz feel. And it’s pretty. It tends to work better melodically than the 7th.

The minor 7th also is very jazzy sounding, but it’s more complex sounding than the major 7th. As with all minors, it doesn’t lend itself to uplifting melodies. It is contemplative but can also be used to get your groove on.

The 7th chord formula is: 1 – 3 – 5 – b7

The major 7th chord formula is: 1 – 3 – 5 – 7

The minor 7th chord formula is: 1 – b3 – 5 – b7

So the root is 1, it tells you what chord letter to assign like A, B, C, D , E, F or G.

The 3 is a third above that the 5 is a perfect fifth above 1 the 7 is a flatted 7th above 1
A = C#
B = D#
C = E
D = F#
E = G#
F = A
G = B
A = E
B = F#
C = G
D = A
E = B
F = C
G = D
A = G
B = A
C = Bb
D = C
E = D
F = Eb
G = F
So together the 7th Chords are as follows: The minor 7th Chords are as follows:
A = A – C# – E – G
B = B – D# – F# – A
C = C – E – G – Bb
D = D – F# – A – C
E = E – G # – B – D
F = F – A – C – Eb
G = G – B – D – F
A = A – C – E – G
B = B – D – F# – A
C = C – Eb – G – Bb
D = D – F – A – C
E = E – G – B – D
F = F – Ab – C – Eb
G = G – Bb – D – F
The Major 7th Chords are as follows:
A = A – C# – E – G#
B = B – D# – F# – A#
C = C – E – G – B
D = D – F# – A – C#
E = E – G # – B – D#
F = F – A – C – E
G = G – B – D – F#

7th Chords (for minor 7th just flatten the 3rd …move it down 1 fret)

7 chords

7 chords

 

The charts above are a good quick reference.

But if you really want to know the fretboard and, the charts below are a much better way to learn them.

Guitar Theory: 7 Chord Charts

7 chords 7 chords

Check out 6 chords or 9 chords. Or if you want to really learn how to play guitar, check out Learn and Master Guitar.

Comments

  1. says

    Question …

    I have a good understanding of chord construction but occasionally see an anomaly like a A+7 chord. A7th chord has a b7th, a major 7th chord has a natural 7th and a minor 7th chord has a b7th. It seems that the +7 would be to raise the b7th one-half step to a major 7th. If that is correct, why not designate that chord Amaj7 to begin with? Or, is the A+7 is an out-dated term?

    • adam says

      Hey Bob, to my understanding the + is a sharp 5th. So it would be a regular 7 chord (dominant 7 or 2 frets lower than the octave) with a sharp 5th. A maj7 has a perfect 5th and a sharp 7 (1 fret lower than the octave)

      A+7 (a very uncommon chord)
      –0—-
      –2—-
      –0—-
      –3—-
      –0—-
      –x—-

      Amaj7
      –0—-
      –2—-
      –1—-
      –2—-
      –0—-
      –x—-

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