G7 Chord (Made Easy): 5 Ways To Play It On Your Guitar

Learn how to play the G dominant 7th chord - we have 5 variations including an easy shape for beginners to get stuck into

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Today, you're going to learn how to play the G7 guitar chord five different ways. You'll learn where to place your fingers and how to practise the shapes so you can quickly play G7 in your favourite songs.

Let's drop it like it's hot.

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G7 Is Short For G Dominant 7

The G7 chord is almost identical to the G Major chord apart from it has an extra note added on. That being the case, because the G Major chord notes are G, B, and D, the G7 chord contains these notes with an F note joining the party.

It's important you understand that G7 actually means "G dominant seventh". The name dominant seventh tells us an extra scale degree - the flat seventh (b7) - is added onto a Major triad (chord), as we just touched upon.

Dominant Seventh Sound

You'll come across chords such as G7, D7, C7 etc. in many styles of music. A few examples include Classical, Blues and Country.

So, how different does the dominant 7 chord sound from its Major chord colleague? If we describe Major chords as sounding upbeat (and minor chords as sad), dominant seventh chords sound like they're asking a question that needs to be answered.

Expectant sounding - almost on the verge of restless - dominant 7th chords therefore sound excellent played before a more stable chord, such as the Major triad tonic of a key.

(See below an example chord progression featuring the G7 chord.)

G7 Chord Notations

G7 | G dom 7 | G dominant 7th | G dominant seventh

G7 Chord Theory Facts x 5

  1. The G7 chord contains the notes: G - B - D - F. 
  2. We typically build a dominant seventh chord from the fifth degree (note) of a Major scale. For instance, G is the fifth note of the C Major scale, so this scale gives us the G7 chord.
  3. The G7 chord formula is: 1 - b3 - 5 - b7.
  4. The intervals of a dominant seventh chord are root > Major third > perfect fifth > minor seventh.
  5. In blues, G7 appears as the V chord in the i - IV - V chord progression in the key of C Major: C7-F7-G7. 

Let's get down to business and check out the G7 chord shapes.

Good to know: I show the best fingerings in the finger position circles in the chord diagrams below. The chord notes are shown below the boxes with the G root highlighted in blue.

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Shape 1 - The Open G7 Shape

There are no two ways about it; this first G7 chord shape is the most common voicing guitarists use. You play all six strings in this chord, and If you're used to playing the standard open G Major shape, I'll hedge a bet you won't have too much trouble here:

G7 guitar chord shape how to play easy beginner dominant seventh diagrams fingerings best diagram

Open G7 chord shape

Here are the finger positions:

  • First (index) finger - 1st fret of the top E (1st) string 
  • Second (middle) finger - 2nd fret of the A (5th) string
  • Third (ring) finger - 3rd fret of the low E (6th) string

Top Tip: To avoid muting the strings when you play this G7 shape it's all about making sure your fingers are curved over enough and you apply optimum pressure to your fingertips.

Give yourself time to build up the muscle and motor memory needed to get the chord ringing out consistently clean. 

Shape 2 - The Easy G7 Alternative Shape

Here's an easy beginner variation of the G7 guitar chord before we get to the other full shapes. If you look at the notes below the chord chart that follows, you'll see this shape only includes the G (root), B (3rd), and F (b7th) notes.

We're missing the 5th (D), so bear in mind this shape won't sound as full and warm as the other G7 shapes. Be sure to mute the 6th, 2nd and 1st strings when you play this voicing.

G7 guitar chord easy 3 finger shape how to play easy beginner dominant seventh diagrams fingerings best diagram

Easy G7 chord variation

Finger positions:

  • First (index) finger - 9th fret of the D (4th) string 
  • Second (middle) finger - 10th fret of the A (5th) string
  • Third (ring) finger - 10th fret of the G (3rd) string
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Shape 3 - G7 Chord "E Shape" 

Below is a common way to play the G7 chord using the open E7 chord shape moved up the neck. The theory behind this lies in the CAGED System.

To play this shape, you form a barre with your first finger across strings 6-1 and place your middle and ring fingers on strings five and three, as shown below:

G7 guitar chord proper barre full correct shape how to play easy beginner dominant seventh diagrams fingerings best diagram

G7 guitar chord using the E7 shape

Finger placements:

  • First (index) finger - 1st fret of the low E (6th) string & barre across strings 6-1
  • Second (middle) finger - 4th fret of the G (3rd) string
  • Third (ring) - 5th fret of the A (5th) string

To ensure you're not punching above your weight, I advise you only to attempt this Gdom7 chord voicing once you can cleanly play the more straightforward variations.

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Shape 4 - G7 Chord "D-Shape"

Here's a corker of a way to play the G7 chord. Often overlooked for other chord voicings, if you're familiar with the open D7 chord shape, that is what we're using to form this movable G7 voicing.

Have a gander:

G7 guitar chord proper barre full correct D CAGED shape how to play easy beginner dominant seventh diagrams fingerings best diagram

G7 chord played using the D7 shape

These are the finger placements:

  • First (index) finger - 5th fret of the D (4th) string 
  • Second (middle) finger - 6th fret of the B (2nd) string
  • Third (ring) finger - 7th fret of the G (3rd) string
  • Little (pinky) finger - 7th fret of the top E (1st) string

All you do is move the D7 shape up the neck, switch your fingers around so your index finger is free to finger the G root note on the 5th fret of the D string etc. 

Beginners won't find this shape easy to play due to the stretch and angle of the fretting hand required. If you fall into this category, put it on your "to-do" list for the future.

Shape 5 - G7 Chord "A-Shape"

We base this final G7 variation on the open A7 chord shape. If you've been playing the guitar for a while, I'm sure you've learned the A7.

If you haven't, I recommend you learn the original A7 shape first. Doing this will give you more context and visual understanding of the origins of the shape.

Important Note: With much gusto, I recommend that you don't attempt to play barre chords unless you can at least perfectly play the seven main open chords on your guitar. You won't have the finger strength, speed or coordination to play them cleanly otherwise, and you'll end up feeling like pulling your hair out.

G7 guitar chord barre A shape how to play open easy beginner diagram variation

G7 chord - "A shape"

Finger placements:

  • First (index) finger - 10th fret of the A (5th) string & barre strings 5-1
  • Third (ring) finger - 12th fret of the D (4th) string
  • Pinky (fourth) - 12th fret of the B (2nd) string

Top Tip: Mute the low E string by deadening it with the tip of your index finger. Never place your finger on top of the 6th string because it isn't included. 

In Summary

How's that then? You've just learned five different ways to play the G7 chord on your guitar. Be sure to check out our other essential chord guides below.

Toodle pip for now.