Dominant 7th Chords (7) Guitar Diagrams and Charts | Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2-4 Voicings

What is a Dominant 7th Chords 

A Dominant 7th chord is a major triad with an added minor seventh. The formula is :

  • root (1)
  • major  third (3)
  • perfect fifth (5)
  • minor seventh (b7).

What's The Difference Between a Dominant 7th Chord and a Major 7 Chord?

Major 7 chords contain a major third (3) and a major seventh (7) whereas Dom7 chords are built with a major third (3) and a minor seventh (b7).

What's The Difference Between a Dominant 7th Chord and a Minor 7 Chord?

Minor seventh chords are built with a minor third (b3) and a minor seventh (b7). In dominant chords only the seventh is minor.

Dominant 7 Chords Harmonic Function

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).

How Dominant 7 Chords Are Built?

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

  • G and B = major third 
  • B and D = minor third 
  • D and F = minor third
Formula 1 3 5 b7
G major chord G B D X
G dominant 7th chord (G7) G B D F

 

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 the following chart. 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

Dominant 7th Drop 3 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

Dominant 7th Drop 2-4 voicings

What Are Drop 2 & 4 Voicings?

Drop 2 and 4 chords are very important tools for arrangement, composition and can be useful for chord-melody playing. Drop 2-4 voicings are built by dropping down an octave the second and fourth note of a tetrad chord in close position.

Root Position R 5 3 b7
1st inversion 3 b7 5 R
2nd inversion 5 R b7 3
3rd inversion b7 3 R 5

 

The two guitar neck diagrams below show the four dominant 7 drop 2-4 voicings. The root voicing is represented by the black dots, the first inversion by the blues dots, the second by the red dots and the third by the green dots.
 

Dominant drop 2 and 4 guitar chords

 

Dominant seventh drop 2 and 4 guitar chords

 

  • 40 Minor (Dorian) Jazz Guitar NEW

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode for building effective improvised solos.
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation, audio files and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    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
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This guitar method is a printable PDF eBook contains 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation on how to play over II-V-I chord progressions using different kind of voicings.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, 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, audio files 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 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 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 6 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links. Printable PDF eBook.

Last edited: 06/18/2019

Comments

  • Mick
    • 1. Mick On 09/30/2018
    Very helpful, thanks.