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Watch the Dominant Seven online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Chord Revolution: Foundations

Let's focus on dominant chords right now. The flat seven is probably the most widely used chord in rock n roll and blues. We're going to be in the key of E7. The scale is the A major scale. Every seventh chord is a five chord. This is something you really want to remember, and therefore, you know what the scale is that you're going to use. So scale that we're using is A starting on the fifth degree. So what do we play over an E7 chord? Well, you play all the things that you would play playing a harmonized major scale in the key of A. So those are your chord voicings. There's an E9 and I'm playing the B minor triad in the key of A. You just need to know what key you're in, and if you're in the key of E7 you're playing an A major scale, so theoretically and technically you're in the key of A. The major scale pretty much dictates what you're going to play, and all those triads that exist within the harmonized A major scale are what you're going to play.

So you have the basic triads. That seventh chord in the key of A is flat out E7. The third, fifth, flat seven. The chord preceding it would be F# minor. It's just a little prettier with that F# in there but it's the relative minor in the key of A. I use the E7 voicing quite a bit. This is also E7 with the third in the root. Tonic, fifth, and seventh above. Goes very nicely to the key of A, which is the four chord in the blues. A nice little walk up into the key of A. This is a very standard blues voicing. E7, this voicing, I don't hear people play it a lot, but I use it a lot. To even flesh it out a little more, there's the third, seventh, tonic, fifth on top. I'll play a chord voicing because I want to hear that note that's on top. This is something I talk about a lot throughout all of my work. There's always a theme, a little melodic theme, a rhythmic theme going on. These things are not played randomly. They're always played because there's something else happening. I'm playing with other people, or I'm playing to something. It will often be a choice made because someone's playing a lower chord voicing. So I'll play a higher voicing.

That alone is a good enough reason for me to play a higher chord voicing. So basically, here's an E7. We're moving up to the third. Only the seventh chords. We're not playing the chords in between, like E, F#, E. I'm playing E7, open D. Using my fingers. You probably don't want to do that. So I'll use my fingers when I play a chord voicing like that. Third on top, fifth on top, seventh on top. And I put the ninth in here accidentally. There's your traditional voicing. Tonic on top, third on top. There's kind of a cool voicing. Third, seventh, root, fifth. The same chord voicing as this one that we played a moment ago. I'm just playing it here. I'll also sometimes play this seventh voicing. Third, seventh, root, and the fifth down below. So those are some very basic seventh chord voicings. Also thirds and sixths. My father showed me that particular voicing. He played it down here. He was an open string kind of guy but I love that chord voicing.

You hear a little of that in The Rolling Stones, for instance. Keith Richards has got the guitar tuned of course, and it'll be played with a capo up here, but I don't know, that sounds so Rolling Stones to me. That's a very snappy little thing you can do. And also again, the harmonized chords, the harmonized scale, key of A. That is actually a nine chord. Sorry I did it again, but it's one of the triads that you have at your fingertips. You just play B minor with E in the root. That's an E9 chord. B minor 9 that's a six chord. That's the minor three chord in the key of A. There's a variety of chord voicings that you could use, and of course we have everything charted out. We'll have all these chord voicings available to you.