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

Jazz Guitar Chords Tutorial - Drop 2 Voicings

Jazz Guitar Chords Tutorial - Drop 3 Voicings

How Dominant 7 Chords Are Built?

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).

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 Triad

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".


Chord Comparison

Difference Between Dominant 7th Chord And Major 7 Chord?

Major 7 chords contain and a major seventh (7) whereas Dominant 7 chords implies a minor seventh (b7). That's the one and only difference between a maj7 and a dom7 chord.

Dominant 7 chords vs major 7 chords on guitar

Difference Between Dominant 7th Chord And 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 vs minor seventh chords on guitar

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).

Drop 2 Dominant 7th Chords

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, giving 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 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 3 Dominant 7 Chords

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 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 2-4 Dominant 7 Chords

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


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Last edited: 2023-11-12


  • Kevin Thuram
    • 1. Kevin Thuram On 2023-08-30
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  • Mick
    • 2. Mick On 2018-09-30
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    • jazz-guitar-licks
      • jazz-guitar-licksOn 2018-09-30
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