The G 7 chord (G dominant 7) is a less commonly known chord when first learning to play guitar. Like the G Major chord, the G 7 chord also has an easy open chord shape but there are many other ways you can play this chord throughout the guitar fretboard.
By knowing different G7 chord variations, you’ll be able to use them in different musical contexts. We’ll first go over some basic chord theory and then cover 10 ways to play a G 7 guitar chord which you can start to incorporate into your playing.
Let’s get started.
G 7 chord theory intro
The 7 next to the chord refers to a dominant chord that is built upon the chord tones 1, 3, 5, and b7. This is essentially a Major triad chord with the additional b7 chord tone. Dominant chords are often used as the 5 chord in a chord progression before resolving to the 1 chord of a key center.
For example, the G 7 chord has the chord tones G, B, D, and F.
Here is the dominant 7 chord formula below.
In contrast, minor 7 chords contain the chord tones 1, b3, 5, and b7. For example, a G minor 7 chord would contain the chord tones G, Bb, D, and F.
Now that you know what notes belong to the chord structure, let’s look at how to read the chord charts.
How to read the chord charts
The top horizontal line of the chord chart represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string. The vertical lines separate each fret. The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
The letters on the right of the charts tell you what notes you are playing on each string.
You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.
G 7 simple chord
For beginners, this would be the simplest way to play a G 7 chord. All you need to do is press down the 1st string, 1st fret with your 1st finger like this:
G 7 open chord
This chord starts similar to an open G Major chord but we have to rearrange our fingers to add the F note on the 1st string. This is one of the most common ways to play a G7 chord.
G 7 open chord with pinky
You can also play a variation of the previous shape by including your pinky finger to the 1st string, 3rd fret, and play the F note on the 4th string instead. It looks like this:
G 7 shell chord on the 6th string
Another way to play a G7 chord is using the following shell chord shape. A shell chord is a simplified shape that outlines the important notes in a chord which are the 3rd and 7th chord tones.
G 7 barre chord on the 6th string
This shape comes from the open E 7 chord shape, except you have to rearrange your fingers as you barre the 3rd fret with your 1st finger.
If this chord is not ringing out clearly, first try getting the notes from the 6th string to the 3rd string since they make up the majority of the chord structure. Then review and come back to try playing through all the strings without buzzing or muffled notes.
If needed, check out these 5 tips to get better at playing barre chords on guitar.
G 7 chord on the 5th string
This G 7 chord comes from an open B 7 chord shape.
G 7 chord on the 5th string variation
You can also add the pinky to the 1st string, 10th fret like this:
G 7 barre chord on the 5th string
This is a more advanced chord because it requires you to barre from the 5th string to the 1st string. If some notes sound muted or unclear, first try playing from the 5th string to the 2nd fret. Then as you develop more strength in your fingers, you can try adding the 1st string as well.
This shape comes from the open A 7 chord except you rearrange your fingers when barring this chord.
G 7 drop 2 chord
This shape uses a drop 2 chord voicing, which is a method of reorganizing chord tones by dropping the 2nd highest chord tone an octave below. In this case, the root note is moved down to the 4th string.
This shape comes from the open D 7 chord shape except you have to rearrange your fingers when adding the 1st finger.
G 7 drop 2 chord 1st inversion
This would be a G 7 drop 2 chord in 2nd inversion because the 3rd is in the bass note.
All these chords were mostly in root position, meaning the root note is in the bass. However, you have even more variations if you use different chord inversions. This is when you play a chord with notes other than the root in the bass.
It’s good to know many possibilities of playing the same chord because you have more flexibility to move around the fretboard. Also, you can use different chord variations when you need a certain note at the top to help define a melody that you are playing over.
I hope this helped you to broaden your understanding of how to play a G7 guitar chord and also how you can apply these shapes to other chords.
For improvisation ideas on what to play over a G 7 chord, check out these 7 jazz and blues licks over a dominant 7 chord.
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All the best,