How to Play A7 Chord on Guitar

In today's lesson, we will go over 5 ways to play the A7 guitar chord, also known as the dominant seventh chord. This guitar chord is built from a major chord but has a little extra spice that makes it sound a bit more harsh & bluesy.

We'll discover various voicings and positions, tips and tricks to make sure the notes ring out nice, and you can make smooth chord changes while also discussing some music theory that goes into the chord. 

How To Play The Dominant A7 Chord For Beginners

How to play the a7 chord for beginners chord diagram

This first guitar chord variation would be best for beginner guitarists to learn as it is the easiest position. First, place your:

2nd finger (middle) on D string (4th string), 2nd fret

3rd finger (ring) on the B string (2nd string), 2nd fret

Strum from the A string (5th string) down

Notice that I have the root note indicated by a square shape vs. a circle for other notes in the chord diagrams. 

Play A7 In Bar

There are two different ways to play the A7 chord as a bar chord.

The first we'll look at is played at the 5th fret.

There are two different ways to play the A7 chord as a bar chord.

A7 in bar 5th fret

Variation 1 - 5th fret

1st finger on the sixth string, 5th fret

2nd finger on the third string, 6th fret

3rd finger on the fifth string, 7th fret

Squeeze directly in while your 1st finger presses to the side, barring across all six strings. 

This fingering position is just like a regular A major bar chord, with the only difference being that you just lift off your pinky.

a7 dominant 12th fret chord chart

Variation 2 - 12th fret

The second position for the dominant seventh guitar chord that uses a bar is an octave up from the open position. Navigate to the 12th position (the 12th fret) and place your:

1st finger on the 5th string, 12th fret

3rd finger on the 4th string, 14th fret

4th finger on the 2nd string, 14th fret

Squeeze your 3rd and 4th fingers directly in while your index finger presses slightly to the side.

This position may be tricky because it's so high on the fretboard, especially if you are on an acoustic guitar without a cutaway; you probably will have to skip this one!

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Play A7 Guitar Chord in D7 Shape

a7 chord in d7 shape chord chart

The next position for the A7 chord can sometimes be called the D7 position in reference to the D dominant seventh played in the open position. However, I recommend not thinking of it this way to keep clutter out of your head when playing.

Just consider it the A7 guitar chord in the 7th position- no need to think of shapes of other guitar chords!

Still, this will be played across strings 1 through 4, and the fingering is as follows. Place your:

1st finger on the 4th string, 7th fret

2nd finger on the 2nd string, 8th fret

3rd finger on the 3rd string, 9th fret

4th finger on the high E string (1st string) which is also on the 9th fret

A7 Guitar Chord Without Barring

a7 chord without barring chart

The last chord voicing we'll go over is a pretty unique one, and we are going to have to stretch your first finger a bit as this one spans the fretboard. To play position your:

4th finger on the 4th string, 7th fret

3rd finger on the 3rd string, 6th fret

2nd finger on the 2nd string, 5th fret

1st finger on the 1st string, 3rd fret

A7 Guitar Chord Tips

Tip #1

To learn the A7, play the chord very slowly so that all your fingers attack the strings at the same time. The chord change will be slow if you place your fingers on the fretboard one at a time.

Tip #2

Make sure your thumb is behind your first and second fingers. You don't want your thumb on the outside of your first finger, as this will cause your hand to be unable to stretch or work properly.

Tip #3

When playing bar chords, your index finger (1st finger) needs to execute the bar, so you want to apply pressure to the side of your finger. If you squeeze directly in, your finger will bend, and the strings on your knuckles won't ring out!

Easy Songs That Use A7 Chord

Oasis - Wonderwall
The Eagles - Hotel California

What Are The Notes Of An A7 Chord?

The A dominant seventh guitar chord uses 4 notes that are derived from the A major scale, and are the following: A B C# D E F# G#

When you number the notes on a scale, they are called SCALE DEGREES. So, to make an A7 chord, we need the 1st, 3rd, and 5th "degrees" as well as the 7th, but the 7th must be lowered by a 1/2 step.

1     2    3     4    5     6    b7 
A   B   C#   D    E    F#   G

For the A7 chord, we use the A, C#, E, and G notes. When these 4 notes are being played harmonically (at the same time), you are playing an A7 chord, so you must only have these notes. If you leave one note out or add in any other note, such as a D note, you no longer play an A7 chord!

That being said, as you can notice from the chord diagrams, you can have multiple A, C#, E, and G notes, which can be in any order. However, I have only provided voicings for the A7 chord in the root position.

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