Seventh chords are a lot like regular chords, but with a little extra something. That “something” that might be described as tension, intrigue, or mystery. I found them a bit intimidating when I was first learning guitar. They seemed complicated. Advanced. Beyond my understanding.
But they’re not really. They are simply another color to add to your available palette of sounds.
This weeks musical idea talks about how 7th chords are woven together and where the different kinds of sevenths come from. For the most part 7th chords follow the principles of BEAD Guides Chord Flow.
If a 7th chord is called major or minor you can treat it in much the same way any other major or minor chord is treated with BEAD Guides Chord Flow
If it’s merely called a 7 chord, (like G7 for instance), that chord works like a one way sign towards the neighboring letter on it’s right. In G7’s case, C.
I often think of these chords as pointer chords, they point emphatically towards the neighbor on their right. (They’re called dominant 7s in classic music theory which speaks to their dominant sonic push in that direction). But you could choose to go somewhere else and leave the tension created by it just hanging.
Finally, there’s the minor 7 flat 5 chord, (also called a half diminished chord). The name is a little involved but ignore that and remember it’s a juiced up diminished chord which likes to move one fret up the fret fretboard the same way other diminished chords do.
That’s pretty much it. Are there other ways to use and play with 7 chords? Absolutely. But following the principles of BEAD Guides Chord Flow with them is a great place to start. If you haven’t tried playing around with 7th chords before, give one or two a try.
The Musical Idea:
Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above: