10 ways to play a G 7 chord on guitar


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.

Grab your guitar and 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. This is essentially a G Major chord with an added b7 chord tone.

Here is the dominant 7 chord formula below.

chart of G 7 chord structure

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

For the charts below:

  • 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.
  • Circles on the left represent open strings.
  • Red X means to avoid that 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 simple chord chart

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 chart

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 open chord with pinky chart

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 shell chord on the 6th string chart

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.

G7 barre chord on the 6th string chart

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.

G7 guitar chord on the 5th string

Easily look up guitar chords with the Essential Guitar Chords Chart!

This chart covers how to play:

  • Major chords
  • Minor chords
  • Major 7 chords
  • Minor 7 chords
  • Dominant chords
  • Half diminished chords
  • Diminished chords
  • Chords starting on all (12) root notes
  • Over 80+ chords!

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G 7 chord on the 5th string variation

You can also add the pinky to the 1st string, 10th fret like this:

G 7 chord on the 5th string variation chart

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.

G 7 barre chord on the 5th string chart

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.

G7 drop 2 chord chart

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.

G 7 drop 2 chord 1st inversion chart

Wrapping up

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 understand how to play a G 7 guitar chord or learn new ways of playing it. You can also try shifting the shapes that have all fretted notes to play other dominant chords on the same string.

If you’re interested in improvisation, you can learn how to play Dominant 7 arpeggios on guitar.

For other improvisation ideas on what to play over a G 7 chord, check out these 7 jazz and blues licks over a dominant 7 chord.

To learn other related chords, see these lessons on how to play a G Major 7 or G minor 7 chord on guitar.

Get the free guitar practice guide here!

All the best,

JG Music Lessons

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