Drop 2 dominant 7th chords | Jazz guitar diagrams | Root positions & inversions

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). These are the chords who accepts the more extensions as 9, #9, b9, 11, #11 (or b5), #5,13, b13.

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 chords ?

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. 

How to read this chart ? There are four dominant 7th voicings in it. The first is the root position. 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 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

Related dominant scales and modes

Here are some scales to play over dominant 7th chords.

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 scaleIt 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
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Last edited: 06/03/2017

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