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How to Play C7 Chord on Guitar

Learn The C7 Chord On Guitar

7th chords can add a good amount of style and color in your chord progressions. Today I'm going to show you two variations of this chord. First I'll show you the version you'll probably use most of the time, and then I'll show you a different version that's a lot of fun to play.

There are 3 different versions of 7th chords by the way. Major 7th, minor 7th, and dominant 7th. This is considered a dominant 7th chord (written out it's 'C7' for a C dominant 7th chord). We'll get into the music theory of it later. The important thing now is to correlate the name with how the chord sounds. 

The Open C7 Guitar Chord

This version starts as a standard Folk style C Major chord. Let's go over that real quick and then turn it into a C7. Start by putting your index finger on the 2nd string 1st fret. Then put your middle finger on the 4th string 2nd fret, then your ring finger on the 5th string 3rd fret. The 1st and 3rd strings will be open. You wont play the 6th string.

Give it a strum and make sure it sounds good. Fret each note with your fingertips and try not to lay your hand flat. Adjust your thumb position if you need to get a better angle. Now, to turn it to a C7 chord simply put your pinky on the 3rd fret of the 3rd string. 

Especially once you add your pinky, you'll need to get those fingers in a really good place. Give it a strum and see how it sounds. If you have any buzzing notes move your fingers closer to the fret. If you have and muted notes adjust your fingers and hand until the notes ring clearly on all 5 strings.

Let's do a quick exercise to help your muscle memory. Start by letting your left hand hang down by your side. Count to 5 and finger the chord. Go ahead and try it.

It's a little tricky at first isn't it? Keep going that, give your self 5 seconds and then try to play the chord. Once you can do that and strum the chord cleanly give yourself 4 seconds, then 3. This wont all happen today, so give yourself some time. It may seem like an odd way to learn a chord but I promise it will help a ton.

You don't need to have the chord down perfectly to start using it in songs or chord progressions. But it's not useful until you can play it pretty decently. 

The Alternate C7 Guitar Chord

This version is less useful than the open version, but it makes up for it by being really cool. This version definitely adds a funky flare. It only uses two fingers too.

Start by barring the first 4 strings on the 5th fret with your index finger. Then fret the 1st string 6th fret with your middle finger. Strum just the first 4 strings. 

This one might be challenging if you haven't played barre chords. It's also a good way to work on your finger's barring strength. You might have to slide your thumb down the back of the neck a little more to get good leverage on the barre. 

If this version is too out there for you right now then just stick to the first version. Whether you do one or both of them, spend a few minutes every day practicing them. The more you practice them now, the easier they'll be when you want to use them in a song.


If you liked learning the C7 chord then you should check out yesterday's lesson I did on 7th Chord Exercises. It's a great way to get familiar with 7th chords and see how they function in a key. 

There's still time to submit your ideas for another lesson topic as part of this 30 day guitar coaching challenge! Leave a comment and let me know what topic you'd like me to cover.

>> Check Out Day #19 : How To Read Guitar Song Charts

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