How to Play F7 Chord on Guitar

In today's lesson, we will go over 5 distinct ways to play the F7 guitar chord, also known as the F dominant chord. This guitar chord is built from the F major scale and is similar to the F major chord but has a little extra spice that makes it sound a bit more harsh & bluesy, which is perfect for blues and jazz music.

Throughout this lesson, we will discover variations, common positions, and finger positions, each with its own chord diagram. Also, we will discuss tips and tricks to make sure the notes ring out, get into some theory, and learn how dominant seventh chords are used to build tension.

How To Play F7 Chord Without a Bar?

There are multiple ways to play the F7 chord without barring on your guitar fretboard, and I'll break each of them down below, starting with the easiest way to play the f7 chord.

f7 chord without bar variation 1

Variation 1

The easiest way to play the f7 chord is using the B7 shape which you may already know. Here, you place your:

Middle finger on the fifth string, 8th fret
Ring finger on the third string, 8th fret
Index finger on the fourth string, 7th fret
Pinky finger on the E 1st string, 8th fret

Strum from the fifth string down and use your ring finger to mute the B string.

f7 chord without bar variation 2

Variation 2

The second variation is sometimes called the "D7 shape" due to the D7 fingering in the open position. To play, place your:

Index finger on the 4th string, 3rd fret
Ring finger on the 3rd string, 5th fret
Pinky finger on the 1st string, 5th fret
Middle finger on the second string, 4th fret

When playing the F7 in this position, avoid strumming the Low E 6th string and the 5th string open.

f7 chord without bar bonus version

This last variation for playing the F7 chord without barring will be pretty high on your fretboard. If you don't have an electric guitar (shame on you) or you don't have a cutaway on your acoustic guitar, you'll have to skip this one.

We will play an F major triad by placing your pinky on the 4th string, 15th fret
Then place your ring finger on the 3rd string, 14th fret
Now, your middle finger on the 2nd string, 13th fret
Lastly, your index finger on the 1st string, 11th fret

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How To Play F7 As A Barre Chord?

f7 as a barre chord

Here, we will look at a few ways to play the F dominant using barre chords. The hardest place to play barre chords is on the 1st fret, so we'll first look at the easiest way to play the F7 as a barre chord for which you must place your:

Index finger on the 4th string, first fret
Middle finger on the 3rd string, second fret
Now barre the strings!

Press your index finger to the side to get all the strings to ring out.

Technically, this is an F7/Eb, as the root note is not in the bass!

F7 in E7 Shape

f7 in e7 shape

Next, we'll build off the F7 barre chord we just learned with:

Index finger on the low E string, 1st fret

Ring finger on the 5th string, 3rd fret

Middle finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret

As you squeeze in, press your index finger to the side so that all the notes on the 1st fret ring out. 

F7 in A7 Shape

f7 in a7 shape

To play the F7 using the A7 shape, place your:

1st finger on 5th string, 8th fret
3rd finger on 4th string, 11th fret
4th finger on the 2nd string, 11th fret

As you squeeze in, press to the side of your index finger!

F7 Guitar Chord Tips

Tip #1

To learn the F7 chord, play the chord very slowly so that all your fingers attack the strings simultaneously. 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 index finger, as this will cause your hand to be unable to stretch or work properly. This goes for all guitar chords.

Tip #3

Even though I have written the D7 chord as the A7, E7, or D7 "shape," I would highly recommend not to think or refer to them like this. When speaking a language, you don't translate as you speak; you just say the word. Similarly, thinking of "A7 shape" or "E7 shape" causes mental clutter. It seems small, but the more clutter you have in your mind, the more negative impact it will have on your playing.

Real musicians play music - amateurs play shapes!

What Are The Notes Of An F7 Chord?

The F7 guitar chord uses four notes that are derived from the F major scale, which are the following: F, G, D, A, Bb, C, D, and E.

When you number the notes on a scale, they are called SCALE DEGREES. So, to make an F7 guitar 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 
F  G    A    Bb   C   D Eb

Several notes comprise varying major and minor chords, but precisely to make an F7 guitar chord, we use notes F, A, C, and Eb.

When these 4 notes are being played harmonically (at the same time), you are playing an F7 guitar 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 are no longer playing an F7 chord!

That being said, as you can notice from the chord diagrams, you can have multiple F A C Eb notes in any order. 

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