A sample video from the Secret Guitar Teacher site: http://secretguitarteacher.com
Nick gives a brief description of the seventh chords produced by harmonizing the Major scale to four-note chords and demonstrates how to create these chords in both open and movable forms and understand their construction. Useful information for anyone wanting to understand basic Jazz chords.
Here is the abridged transcript:
Earlier in this series we took a brief look at the process for determining what chords belong to a given key.
We showed how to take the notes of a major scale and pile them up on top of each other to form a set of chords that I referred to as a diatonic series. For example, here is the diatonic series of chords in C major.
As we move more into the realm of Jazz the diatonic series tends to get extended to form four-note chords. You can see that this is done simply by piling another note on top of the chord, two steps above the previous one. You can also see that the resultant set of chords are all types of seventh chord.
Understanding the differences between each of the four types of seventh chord is the key to learning and remembering the chord shapes to use to play these chords. So, in this short lesson we’ll take you on a brief tour of those four chord types.
On the first and fourth steps of the major scale are built Major Seventh chords. These are made up of the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the major scale relative to the root notes (C and F in this key).
In open position we would simply take the C chord which already contains the notes C E and G – our 1 3 5 notes and lift our finger off the second string to convert one of the C notes to a B – the 7th note in the scale of C major . Similarly, with the F chord , we have the notes F A and C – 1st, 3rd and 5th in the key of F major – all we need to do to add the 7th is lift a finger off the top string to get the open E – the 7th note in the key of F.
Here are a few commonly used movable shapes for Major 7ths rooted off the 6th 5th and 4th strings.
On the second, third and sixth steps of the major scale are built Minor Seventh chords.
These are made up of the 1st, b3rd, 5th and b7th notes of the major scale relative to the root notes (D, E and A in this key).
In open position we can start with the D major chord take the F# note down to F to flat the 3rd giving us the shape for Dm, then take the D down to C to give us the flat 7th and this also gives us the D string movable min7 shape . Similarly, for the Em7 we can start with E major, flat the G# down to G by lifting this finger to make Em and lift this finger off the fourth string to turn the E note here into a D for our flat 7th. Alternatively, we can add the D on the second string like this.
Any of these options can be used for the movable shape rooted off the 6th string, but I favour yet another shape for this…
Muting out the fifth string and adding the fifth note in the key on the second string like this . For the Am7 in the open position, again we can work this out by taking the A Major chord , flatting the 3rd to turn it into Am then taking the A down to G by opening the third string to produce the flat 7 note . And again, this also gives us a useful movable minor 7th shape .
Here’s a summary of my favourite movable shapes for the Minor 7th rooted off each of the three bass strings…
Uniquely on the fifth step of the major scale is built the Dominant Seventh chord. made up of the 1st, 3rd, 5th and b7th notes of the major scale relative to the root (G in this key).
In open position we take the top G note down a tone to give us the F which is the flat 7 in the key of G . Lesser known alternatives include adding in the extra 5th here on the B string and the extra flatted 7th here on the D string at fret 3
Movable options for the Dominant seventh chord include this one rooted off the sixth string…which is a four-string version of the six-string barre chord . Off the 5th string, you can use the movable A7 shape , but I tend to prefer the movable C7 shape for many applications. notice that there is no 5th in this particular version of the shape, instead we have an octave note above the root here. If we need a fifth in the bass we can use this …and if we need a higher sounding one we might adapt the shape to include this note, which we know from the open B7 shape . Finally, we have the movable D7 shape .
Finally, we come to the chord built on the seventh step of the major scale
Once you have learned a few of the options for these chords, it is worth practicing them in order as a kind of scale of chords maybe like this…rooted on the six string, then rooted on the fifth string and on the fourth
Getting on top of these shapes is one of the entrance ways into Jazz guitar. On the Secret Guitar Teacher site, you will find further information of how to use these chords, as well as different exercises to help you become fluent with them. See you again soon!