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HomeBlogMastering The Fretboard: Dominant 7th Chords

Mastering The Fretboard: Dominant 7th Chords

In our last Mastering The Fretboard lesson we went over Minor 7th Chords in all inversions and sets of strings.  This time we are talking about Dominant 7th Chords. So without further to do, let’s get straight to it!

The formula for a Dominant 7th chord:

Formula: Root-3-5-b7

We are going to continue to use the key of G as an example, so using this formula the notes in a G7 would be: G-B-D-F.

Let’s take a look at what a G7 looks like notated in root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion and 3rd inversion:

Dominant 7th


My method for mastering Dominant 7th chords:

As it has been for all of these lessons, my method is: play the root position voicing and both the 1st, 2nd and 3rd inversions on all possible sets of strings.

So what are the possible sets of strings? The first set is E (low)-A-D-G. The second set is A-D-G-B. The third set is D-G-B-E (high).

Let’s see what this looks like on the first set of strings:


Here’s the next set of strings:



Finally, here is the last set of strings:


How to practice these:

  • Practice the shapes on each set of strings slowly and make sure you can play them forwards and backwards.
  • Once you feel comfortable with one set of strings move onto the next.
  • Repetition is key and be able to play all sets of strings consecutively forwards and backwards.
  • Ultimately, if you want to master these dominant 7th chords you need to take them through all 12 keys. That is a huge undertaking, but if you take the time to do it you will really be opening up your knowledge of the fretboard!

In the next lesson we’ll move on and talk about Diminished 7th chords. Watch the blog often!

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."

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