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Watch the Major and Minor Seventh Chords online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Chord Revolution: Foundations

Now we're going to talk about the major seventh. The seventh degree of the G major scale. If you add that note to a G triad you get G major 7. This is almost referred to as an extension, because you have your basic triad. One, three, five. Tonic, third, fifth. Now you're adding things to your major triad. Once you get past the octave, they're called extensions. Right now we're going to concentrate on the major seventh. Key of G. It's a very pretty chord. It's something you hear used a lot in jazz, particularly in standards. Most of those songs were written a long time ago, and today the major seventh chord is sort of past day almost. It's used very rarely. Still it's good for you to understand it, major 7. We mentioned the three major triads of the harmonized major scale, that's major. So G, C, and D. The other chords are the relative minors to those chords. I'm going to go C to A minor, D to B minor, G to E minor.

We've basically played all of the chords of the harmonized major scale. The only one we skipped is the seventh chord, which is diminished and that's not applicable here. So G, E minor, C, A minor, D, B minor. The G major scale runs right through all of these chords because those chords are comprised of the G major scale. If you're playing a song in the key of A minor what do you think the scale is? If you were to play it you're playing the G major scale starting on the second degree. A minor is the two chord in the key of G so you play the same G scale. You're just starting on the second degree. So, B minor, C. It's still just the G major scale. You're just starting on a different degree each time. That applies to every chord that we have here. Let's take a look at the two chord, the three chord, etc and spell them out as you would. The language is going to be a little bit different now, but it's all G major. Remember that. Every chord here comes straight out of the G major scale. So that's the scale that we're using. It runs through every one of these chords but the language changes a little bit, because technically we're in the key of A minor now. The scale is the G major scale, but if you spell the notes in the key of A minor you find that your root note, the second degree, the third is minor. It's a minor third in relationship to A. That's a minor third interval. That would be a major third interval. But we're in the key of G. So it's a minor third, fourth, fifth, sixth, flatted seventh. It's going to be G, because we're playing the G major scale.

We're just starting on the second degree, still G major. We're playing an A minor chord so interestingly, the language has changed again. We have a minor third and we have a flatted seventh. We can't call it a major seventh, because we're in the key of G. C is the minor third to A. G is the flatted seventh to A. It's a whole step down. So this is very important to understand as well. Now the B minor chord would also have a flatted seventh in it. Excuse me. Minor third, flatted seventh, minor third, flatted seventh. Now you might have noticed, it's got a real different sound to it. We'll go into that a little bit later on because you don't really hear people play like that too much. But suffice it to say, B minor also has a flatted seventh in it. There's B - the seventh is going to be down a whole step, C. That's a really nice sound.

I like the sound of that G major scale with a C in the root. It's got a real different sound to it. Now when you get to the five chord, D, also a flatted seventh. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, root. Major third, not minor third. So G major, A minor seven, B minor seven, C major, D seven, and now E minor. This also has a very different sound to it. That G major scale against that E minor. Now the seventh, same scale, just starting on the seventh degree. Also has a very different sound to it, whole different quality to it. Still G major throughout every one of those chords, but the chords themselves, when you name them, the two chord, the three chord, introduce minor concepts. So G major, the two chord is a minor chord. Now if you add the seventh to the G, four notes now instead of just the basic triad. The two chord, A minor 7, flatted seven, B minor seven, C major seven, D seven, flat seven, E minor seven and then the diminished chord, seventh chord which also has a flatted seventh in it. G major. So G major seven, A minor seven, B minor seven, C major seven, D flat seven, E minor seven, F# diminished, G major.