Kick the Capo: 4 note chords – part 1

 

We’re going to move onto extension chords, starting with sevenths. Now, before we start looking at shapes I’m going to explain the theory behind each of the seventh chords.
So far, we’ve been looking at major and minor chords. These chords are made up of three notes, 1, 3 and 5. A major chord has a major third, while a minor chord has a minor third. The root note and the fifth are the same regardless of whether the chord is major or minor.
There are three different types of seventh chord, major 7th, minor 7th and dominant 7th. When we extend the chord to a seventh we get notes 1, 3, 5 and 7. We can find out the notes by simply counting up the notes of a major scale for a major 7th and up the minor scale for a minor 7th.

 

C major 7th = C  E  G  B
1   2    4   5  6   7   1
C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C

 

C minor 7th = C  E♭  G  B♭
1   2    3   4   5   6    7     1
C  D  E♭  F  G  A♭  B♭  C

 

As I mentioned before, the root and fifth are the same (C and G) and the thirds differ by a semitone (E and Eb).  We can also see that the sevenths differ. The major 7th chord has the interval of a major 7th, while the minor 7th chord has the interval of a minor 7th, or flat 7th.

 

So, what makes up a dominant 7th chord?

 

A dominant 7th chord has a major third but a minor or flat 7th.

 

C7 = C E G B♭

 

The root and fifth are the same as usual (C and G), the third is a major third (E) but the seventh is a minor seventh (B♭).
There’s the theory behind the chords, now let’s look at some shapes.

 

Major 7th :

 

Remember that a major 7th chord is a major chord + a major 7 note e.g. C major 7 would be C E G + B. The major 7 note is only a semitone down from the root note/octave so it’s always best to alter the octave note in the chord. Here’s what I mean.
Here’s a set of major barre chords that we’ve looked at:

 

D major: D F# A
E —10——5—————14——-
B —10——7——3——-15——-
G —11——7——2——14——–
D —12——7——4——12——–
A —12——5——5—————–
E —10———————————

 

Now if we alter each shape by moving the octave of the root note, down a semitone then we’ll have a nice set of major 7th chords:

 

D major 7th: D F# A C#

 

E —-x——-5————–14——–
B —10——7——2——14——–
G —11——6——2——14——–
D —11——7——4——12——–
A —-x——-5——5—————–
E —10———————————

 

Here are the fingerings:

 

E —-x—–
B —10—- <– middle finger
G —11—- <– little finger
D —11—- <– wedding ring finger
A —-x—–
E —10—– <– first finger

 

We’ve altered the chord by bringing the note on the D string down a semitone from a D to a C#, extending the chord to a D major 7.

 

E —5—————- <– barre first finger
B —7—————- <– little finger
G —6—————- <– middle finger
D —7—————- <– wedding ring finger
A —5—————- <– barre first finger
E ——————-

 

We’ve altered the chord by bringing the note on the G string down a semitone from D to a C#, extending the chord to a D major 7.

 

E ——————-
B —2————– <– barre first finger
G —2————– <– barre first finger
D —4————– <– wedding ring finger
A —5————– <– little finger
E ——————-

 

We’ve altered the chord by bringing the note on the B string down a semitone from a D to a C#, extending the chord to a D major 7.

 

E —14————- <– barre wedding ring finger
B —14————- <– barre wedding ring finger
G —14————- <– barre wedding ring finger
D —12————- <– first finger
A ——————-
E ——————-
We’ve altered the chord by bringing the note on the top E string down a semitone from a D to a C#, extending the chord to a D major 7.

 

Minor 7th:

 

The minor 7th will be similar to a minor chord but we will be bringing the octave note down two semitones/one tone in order to add the minor 7th note.

 

Here are our standard minor shapes:

 

D minor – D F A
E —10——5——13——-
B —10——6——15——-
G —10——7——14——–
D —12——7——12——–
A —12——5—————–
E —10————————-

 

Now, let’s take the octave down two semitones to create a minor 7th shape:

 

E —10—— <– barre first finger
B —10—— <– barre first finger
G —10—– <– barre first finger
D —10—– <– barre first finger
A —12—— <– wedding ring finger
E —10—— <– barre first finger

 

This can sound a bit muddy, here’s an alternative that derives from the same original shape:

 

E —-x——-
B —10—— <– barre wedding ring finger
G —10—– <– barre wedding ring finger
D —10—– <– barre wedding ring finger
A —-x——
E —10—– <– middle finger

 

E —5—— <– barre first finger
B —6—— <– middle finger
G —5—– <– barre first finger
D —7—– <– wedding ring finger
A —5—– <– barre first finger
E ———-

 

Again, this can sound a bit thick and muddy. Here’s an alternative shape derived from the same position:

 

E ———–
B —7—— <– little finger
G —5—— <– wedding ring finger
D —x——
A —5—— <– middle finger
E ———–

 

E —13—- <– wedding ring finger
B —13—- <– middle finger
G —14—- <– little finger
D —12—- <– first finger
A ———-
E ———-

 

Dominant 7th:

 

This should more closely resemble our major shapes, except that instead of the 7th being one semitone down from the octave of the root, it is two semitones:

 

E —10——- <– barre first finger
B —10——- <– barre first finger
G —11——- <– middle finger
D —10——- <– barre first finger
A —12——- <– wedding ring finger
E —10——- <– barre first finger

 

This can sound a bit thick and muddy so here’s an alternative, derived from the same position:

 

E ———-
B ———-
G —11— <– little finger
D —10— <– wedding ring finger
A —-x—-
E —10— <– middle finger

 

E —5—– <- barre first finger
B —7—– <– little finger
G —5—– <– barre first finger
D —7—– <– wedding ring finger
A —5—– <– barre finger
E ———-

 

E ———-
B —3—– <– first finger
G —5—– <– little finger
D —4—– <– middle finger
A —5—– <– wedding ring finger
E ———-

 

E —14—- <– little finger
B —13—- <– middle finger
G —14—- <– wedding ring finger
D —12—- <– first finger
A ———-
E ———-

 

So, in conclusion, let’s group all these shapes together in their C A G E D positions.

 

C Shape:

 
    D   D∆    D7    (there is no Dm or Dm7 shape that works here)
E ——————————
B —3——2———3——-
G —2——2———5——-
D —4——4———4——-
A —5——5———5——
E —————————–

 

A Shape:

 

  D    Dm   D∆    D7   Dm7   OR Dm7
E —5—-5——–5———5——5——————
B —7—-6——–7———7——6———–6—–
G —7—-7——–6———5——5———–5—–
D —7—-7——–7———7——7———–x—–
A —5—-5——–5———5——5———–5—–
E ——————————————————–

 

E Shape:

 

  D     Dm   D∆    D7 OR D7   Dm7 OR Dm7
E —10—10———x——–10————-10—————-
B —10—10——–10——-10————-10——-10——
G —13—10——–11——-11—–11—–10——-10——
D —12—12——–11——-10—–10—–10——-10——
A —12—12——–x———12—–x——-12——–x——-
E —10—10——–10——-10—–10—–10——–10——

 

D Shape:

 

  D    Dm   D∆   D7     Dm7
E —14—13——14——–14—–13——
B —15—15——14——–13—–13——
G —14—14——14——–14—–14——
D —12—12——12——–12—–12——
A ————————————————
E ————————————————

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