Dominant Seventh Flat 5 Chords (7b5) | Guitar Diagrams and Voicings
What's a Dominant 7b5 Chord
The dominant seventh flat five chord (7b5) is a dominant seventh chord with a fifth lowered by a semitone. It is built with a root (1), a major third (3), a diminished fifth (b5) and a minor seventh (b7).
The dominant b5 chord is an extremely important sound in jazz music due to its dissonant and unresolved sound.
Difference With 7#11 Chords.
Because this topic is often confusing, it is important to make it clear. By taking a dominant 7 chord, R, 3, 5, b7, and lowering the 5th by a 1/2 step we obtain the following formula : R, 3, b5 (#11), b7. Because the flat fifth (b5) can be considered as a sharp eleventh (#11), 7b5 and 7#5 chords are often confused.
Dominant seventh sharp eleventh chord symbols (7#11) arise often in big band charts and standard tunes. But in theory, these two chords are completely different. Dominant 7b5 chords imply only 4 notes, unlike 7#11 chords are made up of 6 notes. However, all the 7b5 diagrams shown below can serve as dominant 7#11, but the ninth and the perfect fifth will be omitted.
- 7b5 chords are built with : 1 (root), 3 (third), b5 (flat fifth), b7 (minor seventh).
- 7#11 chords imply all of these tones : 1 (root), 3 (third), 5 (fifth), b7 (minor seventh), 9 (ninth), #11 (sharp eleventh).
Symbols and Notation
Dominant 7 flat 5 chords can be written 7b5 or 7(b5).
7b5 chords can be extended with : b9, 9, #9, b13, 13.
How to Play 7b5 Chords on Guitar?
7b5 Guitar Chord Shapes | Drop 2 Voicings
Here are the 4 dominant 7b5 drop 2 voicings related to the twelve guitar shapes below. One thing to know is that there are only two different fingerings for any 7b5 chord on any string set. You only need to learn two different fingerings per string.
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||3||b7||R||b5|
|2nd inversion (diminished fifth in the bass)||b5||R||3||b7|
|3rd inversion (minor seventh in the bass)||b7||3||b5||R|
7b5 Guitar Chord Shapes | Drop 3 Voicings
Drop 3 voicing is the process of taking the third highest note of a close voicing and dropping it an octave. This way you obtain a new voicing (R b7 3 b5) that you can inverse in three different ways :
- 3 R b5 b7
- b5 3 b7 R
- b7 b5 R 3
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||3||R||b5||b7|
|2nd inversion (diminished fifth in the bass)||b5||3||b7||R|
|3rd inversion (minor seventh in the bass)||b7||b5||R||3|
This four drop 3 voicings provide four 7b5 chord positions as shown in the diagrams below.
Substitutions in II-V-I progression
7b5 chords are often used in jazz standards, giving a distinct sound flavor.Try to substituting ordinary dominant 7th chords with 7b5 chords in your favorite songs.
The Tritone Substitution
A common chord substitution found in jazz is where the V of a II V I sequence is replaced by a dominant 7th chord whose root is a tritone below. Here is a first example with Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7. Db7 can be in place of the G7, thus giving Dm7 | Db7 | Cmaj7.
This is a great sound because with this kind of substitution, the root of the V chord is chromatic. We get a bass line descending by half steps (D to Db to C).
This kind of downward trajectory produces a pull towards the tonic chord. It is often a nice and featured sound in jazz. Now that is where the 7b5 chord comes into play. Indeed, you can play it instead of the Db7. In other words, you just have to lower the fifth by a semitone, giving Dm7 | Db7b5 | Cmaj7. This way the b5 of Db7b5 (G) is none other than the V of Cmaj7.
Another example using drop 3 chords, in the key of Bb with a chromatic descending bass line (C, B and Bb).
This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor II V I jazz licks.
This pdf method for guitar contains 40 II V I jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
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.
This package contains 3 PDF methods for jazz guitarists with tabs, audio files, analysis about the II V I progression.
This package contains a guitar method available as a PDF with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
Last edited: 06/10/2020