7th Chords in the Open Position

A 7th Chord consists of any triad, plus the note immediately before its octave.  For instance, a Major chord would have a Root, a 5th and a Maj 3rd; A Maj7 chord would have these three, with the addition of the Maj 7th. A Min7 chord would have it’s Root, 5th, min 3rd, and min 7th.  In total, there are 4 different types of 7th chord in the Natural Major Scale, and I’ve outlined the makeup of each below:

As you can see, the Maj7 and Min7 are fairly straight forward, using entirely Major or Minor notes. Between them, these 2 types of 7th chords account for 5 the 7th chords within the Natural Major Scale. Luckily for the beginner, the  Ø and 7 chords only appear once each. I will now outline the points at which each of these chords appears within the Natural Major scale:

I will now show you the easiest way to play these chords. I have chosen C Major, not only because it is the easiest to learn being as there are no accidentals, but also because most of the chords are playable in the open position. I will hopefully outline how to play 7th barre chord shapes in my 5th barre chord lesson, although one of these shapes will appear now.

I’ve colour-coded these chords in the same way as my other lessons. The new colours represent the following: Pink = Maj7; Purple = m7; b5 = Dark Green. Also, please remember that unless given a fret number, these chords are all open.


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