7th Chord Inversions

by Ivan Milenkovic

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  • Hi there GMC players, today we have some 7th chord to learn. Now the 7th chord is basically like a normal chord (root, third, fifth), but with the 7th note added. They are mainly used in jazz, but other musical genres can also add a nice flavor adding them in song progressions here and there. There are many ways to learn the 7th chords and here we have one of them. I’ve systematically put three inversions of 7th chords derived from a C Major scale, and in the end we have three examples of progressions (like the one from our intro video) utilizing those inversions.

    Don`t worry if things get little confusing, just follow the instructions and you are on your way to become a 7th chord expert believe me ;) . So to say again, in the start we have one main progression that is repeated using different shapes of chords in the last three videos. First 9 videos help you memorize all the voicings. I strongly suggest not to rush it and try to practice one video per day. This will give you time to know those chords better. If you already know the Cmajor scale in a and out it will be a lot easier, if not, you will learn it along the way.

    This lesson can effectively help you to develop your ear for different 7th voicings too. Let’s begin!

    Now the 7th chord is made from 1, 3, 5 and 7th note of the scale (in our case the C Major scale). If we put those notes on the fingerboard in that order we would get some "stretchy" shapes like this:

    String 1 7
    String 2 5
    String 3 3
    String 4 1

    These are not very easy (or fun) to play. But if we invert some of the notes we can get some of more easy playable shapes. For example we will use:

    String 1 1 3 7
    String 2 5 7 3
    String 3 3 5 1
    String 4 7 1 5

    The most important thing about these voicings are the top notes. All three inversions have different top notes and, while playing our ears will often pickup just these notes the clearest. These are the notes that can make the difference in playing, because we have to know all the inversions to make a nice melody while playing a desired chord progression.

    If you are new with jazz, and don’t know where to begin, or just looking for a way to spice up your songs you came to the right place. Let’s jam :)

    V IV








    II I VII V I


    C major scale.jpg
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