Dominant 7th Chords (7) Guitar Diagrams and Charts | Drop 2 and Drop 3 Voicings

What are dominant 7th chords 

Dominant 7th chords are made up of a root (1), a major  third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and a minor seventh (b7). This is a basic major chord with a minor seventh added. Keep in mind that it is very important to make the difference between minor 7th, major 7th and a dominant 7th chords. Major 7 chords contain a major third and a major seventh. Minor seventh chords, a minor third and minor seventh.

Dominant 7th chords have a primary place in many jazz chord progressions (I-VI-II-V, III and VI-II-V or II-V-I) whose role is to drive to or resolve to the tonic note or chord. There are also obviously present in blues progressions on each degree (I-IV-V).

Formula 1 3 5 b7
G major chord G B D X
G dominant 7th chord (G7) G B D F

 

As it is shown in the chart above, dominant 7th chords are built by stacking thirds :

  • G and B = major third 
  • B and D = minor third 
  • D and F = minor third

Abbreviated dominant 7th chord symbol

Basically, dominant are chords with just a number, without any “major” or “minor” definition. For example, C dominant 7th will be written "C7".

Drop 2 dominant 7th chord voicings

What are drop 2 voicings ?

Drop 2 chords are the most popular chord voicings used in jazz guitar. They are usefull because they don’t stretch your fingers too much.They are built by dropping the second highest note of a four-notes close chord to the bass. Dominant seventh close chord formula is 1-3-5-b7 that gives the following drop 2 chord formula 5-1-3-b7. 

What is an inverted chord ?

The root of an inverted chord is not in the bass. In other words, it means that the notes of a chord are inverted. As you can see in the guitar diagrams above, there can be a third, a fifth or a seventh in the bass. 

Dominant 7 voicing chart

There are four dominant 7th voicings in it. The first correspond to the root chord. It has its root (R) on the sixth string. This is not a "close position" but an "open position". Dominant 7th close positions (1, b3, 5, b7) are quite difficult to play because they require an uncomfortable finger placement.

Then, you can see three inverted chords related to the root position. (The notes of an inverted chord are simply played in a different order).

  • The first inversion has the third in the bass.
  • The second inversion has the fifth in the bass.
  • The third inversion has the minor seventh in the bass.
Root chord  R 5 b7 3
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 b7 R 5
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 R 3 b7
3rd inversion (minor seventh in the bass) b7 3 5 R

 

Drop 2 chords - Positions on guitar

Check out the three diagrams below, they show how top play the four dominant 7 drop 2 voicings on guitar. Each voicing has an assigned colour. Black for the root position, blues for the 1st inversion, red for the 2nd inversion and green for the fourth. 

Lowest note on the fourth string

Drop 2 dominant 7 chords

 Lowest note on the fifth string

Drop 2 dominant 7 chords lowest note on 5th string

Lowest note on the sixth string

Drop 2 dominant 7 chords shapes lowest note on 6th string

Drop 2 Dominant 7 chords | Root position 1 and inversions | Bass on 6th string

Dominant 7th root position # 1

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 6 drop 2

Dominant 7th inversion # 1

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 6 drop 2

Dominant 7th inversion # 2

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 6 drop 2

Dominant 7th inversion # 3

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 6 drop 2

Drop 2 Dominant 7 chords | Root position 1 and inversions | Bass on 5th string

Dominant 7th root position # 2

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 5

Dominant 7th inversion # 1

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 5 2

Dominant 7th inversion # 2

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 5 3

Dominant 7th inversion # 3

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 5 4

Drop 2 Dominant 7 chords | Root position 1 and inversions | Bass on 4th string

Dominant 7th root position # 3

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 4

Dominant 7th inversion # 1

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 4 2

Dominant 7th inversion # 2

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 4 3 1

Dominant 7th inversion # 3

Dominant 7th guitar chord diagram 4 4

Drop 3 dominant 7th chord voicings

 What are drop 3 chords ?

These chords are named drop 3 because the 3rd note in a closed voicing has been “dropped”. They are built by taking the 3rd highest note in a closed position chord and lowering it by an octave. Here are four drop 3 dominant 7 voicings related to the eight guitar diagrams below.

Drop 3 root position  R b7 3 5
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 R 5 b7
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 3 b7 R
3rd inversion (seventh in the bass) b7 5 R 3

 

Drop 2 chords relationship on the guitar neck 

Here are four drop 3 dominant voicings with the lowest note on the 5th string. The black notes correspond to the root voicing, the blue notes to the 1st inversion, the red to the 2nd inversion and the green show how to play the 3rd inversion.

Lowest note on the fifth string

Dominant 7 drop 3 chords bass on 5th string

The next guitar neck diagram shows how to play the four dominant seventh drop 3 voicings with the lowest notes on the E string.

Lowest note on the sixth string

Dominant 7 drop 3 guitar chords bass on 6th string

Drop 3 Dominant 7 chords | Bass on 6th string

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 1

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 2

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 4

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 6

Drop 3 Dominant 7 chords | Bass on 5th string

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 3

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 5

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 7

Drop 3 dominant 7 chord 8

Dominant scales and modes

Here are some scales to play over dominant 7th chords when you want to improvise.

Mixolydian mode :  

This is the first and ideal mode when you want to improvise over dominant 7th chords. This the fifth mode of the major scale.

Formula 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
Intervals W W H W W H W

 

Harmonic minor mode V :

As its name implies, this is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor system. It has a minor second (b2) and a minor sixth (b6) in comparison with the mixolydian mode.

Formula 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7
Intervals H H+W W W H W W

 

Lydian dominant :

This is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale. It has a raised fourth (#4 or #11).

Formula 1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7
Intervals W W W+H H W H W

 

Mixolydian b13 :

There are two dominant modes in the melodic minor system. Here is the second.

Formula 1 2 3 4 5 b6 b7
Intervals W W H W H W W

 

Dominant bebop scale 

This scale is widely used by bebop players. It has the same notes as the mixolydian scale, including a major seventh (7), chromatic passing tone between the minor seventh (b7) and the root (1).

Formula 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 7
Intervals W W H W W H H H

 

Major pentatonic scale 

Formula 1 2 3 5 6
Intervals W W W+H W W+H

 

Mixo blues scale :

This scale can also be named Mixolydian blues scale or mixo-Dorian blues scale or even Mixolydian / blues hybrid scale. Anyway the result is the same, this scale is a combination of the minor blues scale and the Mixolydian mode.

Formula 1 9 b3 or #9 3 11 b5 (#11) 5 13 b7
Intervals W H H H HH H W H W

 

Half-whole diminished scale : 

It is built by alternating half-steps and whole-steps. This scale is usually used by jazz musicians to solo over dominant 7th chords, particularly 7b9 chords. It brings interesting tensions by highlighting the b9, #9 and #11. 
 

Formula 1 b9 #9 3 #11 or b5 5 13 (6) b7
Intervals H W H W H W H W
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines NEW

    This downloadable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • 25 pentatonic licks

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 20 II-V-I jazz guitar licks

    This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines with tabs and audio files both in major and minor keys
  • 5 Jazz blues arpeggio studies

    A printable PDF eBook with tabs and standard notation containing five jazz blues guitar studies. Learn how to use arpeggios over a jazz blues progression.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    Jazz guitar comping. How to play II-V-I chord progressions on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with analysis, tabs & standard notation.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chords, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • Mastering the altered scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis and scale charts.
  • 25 soul jazz guitar licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks with tabs and standard notation in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson.These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 dominant diminished licks

    This eBook PDF contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 25 minor jazz guitar licks

    This printable PDF eBook contains 25 minor jazz guitar licks with tabs, video links, analysis. How to play modes, scales & arpeggios over minor chords.
  • 5 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 5 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links and backing track links. Printable PDF eBook

Last edited: 29/09/2018

Comments

  • jazz-guitar-licks
    Glad you like it ;)
  • Mick
    • 2. Mick On 30/09/2018
    Very helpful, thanks.