Last updated on October 2nd, 2023
The F 7 chord (F dominant 7 chord) is a less commonly known chord when first learning to play guitar.
Like the F Major chord, the F 7 chord doesn’t have an open chord shape but there are many ways you can play this chord throughout the guitar fretboard.
We’ll first go over some basic chord theory and then cover 10 ways to play an F 7 guitar chord which you can incorporate to your playing.
Let’s get started.
F 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 F 7 chord has the chord tones F, A, C, and Eb. This is essentially an F Major chord with an added b7 chord tone.
Here is the dominant 7 chord formula below.
In contrast, minor 7 chords contain the chord tones 1, b3, 5, and b7. For example, an F minor 7 chord would contain the chord tones F, Ab, C, and Eb.
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.
Easy F 7 chord
F 7 chord without barre
Another way to play the F 7 chord without a barre is using the following shape with the added pinky finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret.
F 7 barre chord on the 6th string
This shape is more difficult because it requires you to barre the chord (pressing down multiple strings with one finger). This shape originally comes from the open E 7 chord except you have to rearrange your fingers as you barre the 1st fret with your 1st finger.
If this chord is not ringing out clearly, try to first play the notes from the 6th string to the 3rd string since they make up the majority of the chord structure. After reviewing it, come back to it later and 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.
F 7 chord on the 5th string – shell voicing
Here is another easy way to play the F 7 chord starting on the 5th string. Again, this is called a shell chord because you only use the root, 3rd, and 7th chord tone.
F 7 chord 5th string variation
This chord comes from an open B 7 chord shape. This is similar to the previous shape except we are adding a note on the 2nd string, 6th fret.
F 7 barre chord on the 5th string
This shape requires you to barre from the 5th string to the 1st string. If some notes sound muted or unclear, 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.
F 7 chord – root position drop 2
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.
F 7 chord – 1st inversion drop 2
This would be an F 7 drop 2 chord in 2nd inversion because the 3rd of the chord is in the bass note.
F 7 chord – 2nd inversion drop 2
Here is an F 7 drop 2 chord in 3nd inversion because the 5th of the chord is in the bass note.
F 7 chord – 3rd inversion drop 2
Finally, this is an F 7 drop 2 chord in 3nd inversion because the 7th of the chord is in the bass note.
Most of these chords were 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.
IIt’s good to know many possibilities of playing the same chord because you can move more flexibly around the fretboard. Also, you can use different chord variations when you need a specific note at the top to help define a melody that you are playing over.
I hope this helped you understand how to play an F7 guitar chord or learn new ways of playing it. You can also try shifting these shapes 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 guitar improvisation ideas, check out these 7 jazz and blues licks over a dominant 7 chord.
All the best,
JG Music Lessons