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C7 Chord on Guitar, Piano and Ukelele [C Dominant 7th Chord] How to Play it

The C dominant 7th chord (C7) is built from a root note (C), a major third (E), a perfect fifth (G) and a minor seventh (B♭):

  • Type: major tetrad.
  • Formule: 1 3 5 ♭7.
  • Music notes: C (1) E (3) G (5) B♭ (♭7).
  • Chords to play with: IVmaj7 (Fmaj7) y V7 (Gm7).
C7 chord pentagram staff stave

C7 chord [Musical explanation]

The C dominant seventh chord is a tetrad with formula 1 – 3 – 5 – ♭7. Therefore, to build it we need C (1), E (3), G (5) and B♭ (♭7):

what notes are in a C7 chord

This is due to the fact that a dominant seventh chord is made up of 3 third intervals:

  • A major interval (4 half steps between the 3rd and root).
  • A minor interval (3 half steps between the 5th and 3rd).
  • A minor interval (3 half steps between the 7th and 5th).

If we apply this principle to the C7 chord we obtain that:

  • E is the major third of C because it is 4 half steps above the root.
  • G is the perfect fifth of C because it is 3 half steps above the 3rd.
  • B♭ is the major seventh of C because it is 3 half steps above the 5th.

Thus, this confirms that a major seventh chord is defined by:

Root (C) – Major Third (E) – Perfect Fifth (G) – Minor Seventh (B♭)

To sum up, in order to build the C7 chord we need to add the minor seventh (7th) to the C major chord.

C7 Guitar Chord

The C7 chord guitar has the following shape on the fretboard:

C7 guitar chord
C7 guitar diagram

Let’s analyze in detail this chord diagram above to make sure that we understand how to play the C7 on guitar.

Let’s start by analyzing the 4 circles in blue, which indicate that on the strings 5 (A), 4 (D), 3 (G) and 2 (B) we have to place the fingers 3 (ring finger), 2 (middle), 4 (pinky) and 1 (index).

Note by the way the number 1 in black on the left that indicates on which fret we start playing the chord.

On the other hand, at the top we see that we have the characters:

C  E  B♭  C  E

This simply means that in the:

  • Sixth string there is no sound.
  • Fifth string sounds the C note.
  • Fourth string sounds the E note.
  • Third string sounds the B♭ note.
  • Second string sounds the C note.
  • First string sounds the E note.

And at the bottom we find the numbers:

1  3  ♭7  1 3

This indicates that in the:

  • Sixth string There is no number because there is no sound.
  • Fifth string sounds the root (1).
  • Fourth string sounds the major third (3).
  • Third string sounds the minor seveth (♭7).
  • Second string sounds the major third (1).
  • First string sounds the major third (3).

⚠️ Important: it is not mandatory to memorize all this information to play the C7 chord on guitar. But it is highly recommended to know it in order to understand the musical theory behind each chord.

You may have noticed that this C 7th chord does not include the perfect fifth because when playing tetrads, it is not that important. However, if you want to play it with the fifth, you can play it with the following figure:

c7 guitar barred chord with perfect 5th

Other ways to play the C dominant 7 guitar chord

In addition to the diagram shown at the beginning of the article, we can also find the C7 chord in the following fretboard positions:

C7 chord guitar chart
C7 chord guitar chart

C7 chord inversions

The 3 inversions of the C 7th chord are:

  • First inversion: C7/E.
  • Second inversion: C7/G.
  • Third inversion: C7/B♭.
C7 guitar chord inversion

C7 Ukulele Chord

Here you can see as well the C7 uke chord diagram:

C7 ukulele
C7 on ukulele

C7 Piano Chord

To play the C7 chord on piano we only need to find the same music notes on its keys:

C7 piano chord
C7 piano

First Inversion (C7/E)

C7 piano chord 1st inversion C7/E

Second Inversión (C7/G)

C7 piano chord second inversion C7G

Third Inversión (C7/B♭)

C7 piano chord 3rd inversion C7/Bb

Music scales in which the C minor 7th chord can be found

  • F major scale (armonizada por cuatríadas)
    • Fmaj7 Gm7 Am7 B♭maj7 C7 Dm7 Em7♭5
  • D natural minor scale (armonizada por cuatríadas)
    • Dm7 Em7♭5 Fmaj7 Gm7 Am7 B♭maj7 C7
  • F harmonic minor scale (armonizada por cuatríadas)
    • Fm(maj7) Gm7♭5 A♭maj7#5 B♭m7 C7 D♭maj7 Edim7
  • G melodic minor scale (armonizada por cuatríadas)
    • Gm(maj7) Am7 B♭maj7#5 C7 D7 Edim7 G♭m7♭5
  • F melodic minor scale (armonizada por cuatríadas)
    • Fm(maj7) Gm7 A♭maj7#5 B♭7 C7 Ddim7 Em7♭5

C7 Chord PDF

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