Bonus Report #3

Richer, Fuller-Sounding Chords!

Once you've learned the 12 major and 12 minor chords, then it's time to move on to more advanced, richer sounding chords. In fact, after you've complete the 9-week chord exercise, the most logical next step is to start adding the 7th to your 3-note major and minor chords.

What Are 7th Chords?

Seventh chords are where you add an extra note to either the major or minor chord. These are called dominant and minor 7th chords. There are other types of 7th chords, but the dominant and minor 7th chord groups are the most logical chords to learn next...and they will add a richness to your playing that will be immediately noticeable to anyone listening to you play.

Building 7th Chords?

Generally speaking, the 7th is just 7 scale tones up from the root note of the scale.


The C scale is C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C. If you started counting from the beginning of the scale, C would be the first scale tone, D would be the second scale tone, E would be the 3rd, F is the 4th, G is the 5th, A is the 6th and B is the 7th.

So by now you should know the C major chord, which is: C - E - G

The C major chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the scale. If you remember from the 9-week chord exercises, you convert a major chord to a minor chord by lowering the 3rd of the major chord, a half step.

So to make C major a C minor chord, you lower the E to an Eb. Therefore, a C minor chord is: C - Eb - G. Just a little review.

Okay -- now let's add the 7th to the C major chord. Remember, we're just working with general scale tones at the moment so you understand why we call these particular 4-note chords, 7th chords. We'll get more specific a little later, as well as on the video below.

Of course, most students by now have figured out where I'm going with this. The 7th from the scale above is the B, so I'm going to take this note and add it to the C major chord, creating what is called a C major 7th chord.

Cmaj7: C - E - G - B

By the way, this is one of the nicest sounding chords in all of music, in my opinion...but I'll probably say the same thing once I start teaching you 9th chords.

In any event, the 7th chord that I just built is a major 7th chord...but that's not the chord we want...not yet anyway. This will be the next chord group I'll be teaching you, but for now, I want to show you how to build a dominant 7th chord.

The Dominant 7th Chord

You'll understand this much better once you watch the following video, but let me share just a little of the theory behind this chord.

C7: C - E - G - Bb

The 4 notes of the C7 chord are: C - E - G - Bb. Notice that the 7th is a Bb (flat), not a B natural. Now, there's an easy explanation for this and a more complicated one. I'm going to opt for the easier explanation for now.

In the simplest terms possible, the 7th of a dominant 7th chord can be determined by going backward two half steps from the root note (the C), which would make the dominant 7th a Bb (flat). This is true for every dominant 7th chord and every minor 7th chord, as well.

The video will give a more detailed demonstration of these two chord groups. Enjoy!