7th Chords Inversions

My chord study kick continues, and now a short and sweet introduction to 7th chords and their inversions up the scale.

Ultimate Guitar
I felt like writing just a short fun lesson on something that I have been looking at before I go to bed, so onto the lesson! So now that we are all theory wizards, let's call out the degrees of a major 7th chord: 1st! 3rd! 5th! 7th! Now let's put that into perspective in G Major! Why? Because I'm giving the lesson and I don't feel like transposing my tabs. G! B! D! F#! So this is exciting, now let's try the G minor 7th chord: G, Bb, D, F. Minor third, minor 7th. We got that? Ok, now dominant 7th chord: G, B, D, F. Major 3rd, minor 7th. Now that we have that out of the way, let's see these inversions. I'll give you the inversions for all of these chords running up the G major scale. Practice them as you will, I would recommend remembering the number of the inverted shapes, i.e. root, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion, 3rd inversion. It helps when you play in different keys or want a chord other than G Major/Minor/Dominant 7th (or their inversions).
 Gmaj7                   Gmaj7/B                    Gmaj7/D                  
  Q     Q    Q    Q       Q       Q    Q    Q        Q      Q     Q    Q     

   Q        Q     Q     Q     

 Gm7                      Gm7/Bb                 
   Q     Q     Q     Q    Q      Q    Q    Q     

    Gm7/D                    Gm7/F                   
    Q    Q     Q    Q        Q     Q     Q     Q     

  G7                     G7/B                    G7/D                        
          Q    Q    Q    Q       Q    Q    Q    Q        Q    Q     Q    Q   

   Q     Q     Q     Q     
This isn't a theory lesson on what they are or how to apply them, but here is a nice starting point for them :) And just for the sake of doing it, here are Major and Minor 6th chords, same concept as a 7th, except the chord has the added 6th degree. Same story as before:
   Q    Q    Q    Q     

  G6/B                    G6/D                    G6/E                    
  Q    Q    Q    Q        Q    Q    Q    Q        Q     Q     Q     Q     
And here are your minor 6th inversions to take and play around with:
  Gm6                    Gm6/Bb                    Gm6/D              
   Q    Q    Q    Q       Q      Q    Q    Q        Q    Q    Q    Q  

   Q     Q     Q     Q     
So for a closing note, no example here, I just play these and try to play chord progressions with them. Try looking for some jazz sequences that use 7ths. The good old II-V is a simple place to start. Have fun :)

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I was actually waiting for an excuse to play some jazz since I bought the darkest pickup I know of - clearly withough actually being able to play any sort of jazz. So, thank you!
    These sound so dark and sinister in your metal compositions The best place to get dissonant classiness is by looking at Jazz
    Great lesson for someone who wants to put some flavor into their same old chords! If you're looking for a good excercise, try transposing to all 12 keys!
    This guy knows what's up! Then try playing this cycling through the circle of fifths. That one gets hairy. Then take your favorite chord progressions and use these 7th chords and their inversions to create the easiest and best sounding route to cycle through the chords. Get that brain active
    I just call a g a g not g major,weird a g seveth chord isn't called a gmajor 7 chord.most people say and major g a b etc that not have major on the name
    Look carefully bro. Those are Gmaj7 chords, which are different than G7. The writer included what is just called G7 after Gmaj7 and Gm7. G7 and the Gm7 will be used a whole lot more often (in jazz and blues at least) than Gmaj7.
    If you go back and read the first 2 paragraphs before the chords, the differences are explained, and then the different chords are labeled.
    awesome lesson, i really dont understand jazz or even play it but the chords proved useful and i wrote a tasty jam using the GM7/G chord. Sounds kinda like if Incubus/Queens of the Stone Age/The Strokes had an orgy. thanks!
    Thanks man The chords are pretty awesome to use no matter what you play. If you want something that sounds pretty rad from the GM7 root chord, play the M7 shape from the D note on the 5th fret. It's then GM7 to DM7/A. Simple 1 5 but the inversion sounds great
    man you stole this lesson from an issue of total guitar with steve vai
    I was watching videos about 7th inversions on youtube and thought to do these shapes going up the scales of the chord. It was soembody explaining making 7ths off the diminished chord with this shape. I don't know about the article. Did not steal anything, I came to this by myself