Dominant seventh chords are very popular chords for blues, soul and jazz music.
In blues, dominant 7th chords are often used throughout an entire 12 bar blues song. Learning these chords is a great starting point for any player wanting to learn blues guitar.
These chords are made of a major chord with a lowered seventh from the major scale. The degrees are 1,3,5,7b. When reading chord charts the dominant 7th is referred to as the 7 (example E7) otherwise it will be specified if a seventh chord is major or minor.
Don’t worry if you are not familiar with building scales and chords, we will see how to play them.
Dominant 7th Guitar Chords Patterns
Now let’s see the different fingering patterns for these common guitar chords.
These chords patterns can be moved around to fit any specific key. If you already know your major chord shapes learning these patterns is simple since you are mostly moving one finger. This makes it easier to remember.
Dominant 7th Chords Patterns with Scale Degrees
Playing Dominant 7th Chords in a Blues Progression
In a typical twelve bar blues the chords are the 1, 4 and the 5. In the key of E this means E7th, A7th and B7th.
Chords from a 12-Bar Blues in E
12 Bar-Blues in E Typical Chord Progression
Check out my complete 12-bar blues guide for more information.
Blues Soloing Over Dominant 7th Chords
When playing lead guitar over a dominant seventh blues chord progression, you can use both the major pentatonic, the minor pentatonic or the minor blues scale.
You can easily switch between the two scales to add color to your playing. The major pentatonic will naturally give you a happier sound.
You could use the BB King scale and the BB Box to easily generate licks over these chords.
You can also use only the minor pentatonic scale to get a much “rockier” sound. I personally recommend starting with this one since it’s so popular and will never sound off or wrong.
I hope you enjoy this lesson.