58 - 60 Dominant 7th Chord Guitar Licks

Dominant 7th Chord Guitar Licks

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Dominant 7th Chord Guitar Licks

The dominant 7th chord is such an important chord type to understand as there are many improvisational possibilities when improvising over dominant 7th chords.

Depending on how the dominant 7th chord is functioning, you can use so many different scales to create interesting melodies when soloing over this chord type. This week's selection of guitar licks demonstrate three different sounds using an E blues scale type idea, a chromatic approach to the mixolydian scale and the harmonic minor scale.

What Is A Dominant 7th Chord?

A dominant 7th chord is constructed from the root, 3rd, 5th and b7th degrees of the major scale. It can function as a static chord on which you can vamp, or a functioning chord that resolves to another chord type. A great deal of tension can be applied to functioning dominant 7th chords, which is especially important when playing jazz guitar.
Want to understand how these guitar licks are created and the thought process behind them? Sign up to my free weekly newsletter in which I break down each lick and explain the concepts used in each lick. Learning the licks is great, but it is essential that you understand the theory behind them so the licks can be used in other musical situations.

Double String Bends Over E7

This lick is based around a standard E blues scale fingering, although the string bends outline notes of an E dominant 7th chord.

Be careful when bending as you must ensure the string bends reach the desired pitch and you may find it difficult to bend two strings at the same time.

This is a quick, punchy little lick that can be used in many improvising situations.

Triplet Phrasing Guitar Lick

I use sweep picking (economy picking) when playing this type of lick as it creates a smooth sound. The lick outlines the notes of the dominant 7th chord, although there are many chromatic passing notes along the way. I love using chromatic notes and 'filling up the holes'.

I like the melodic phrasing of this particular guitar lick as it is a good mix of triplets and regular 8th notes.

Harmonic Minor Scale Melodic Lick

The harmonic minor scale is a great sound to use when improvising over dominant 7th chords. It is not a sound that you can use all the time, although it can be used to great effect, especially when the dominant 7th chord resolves to a minor chord.

In contrast to the sweep picking, or economy picking in the previous guitar lick, this lick is a pure alternate picking workout.

Also try this lick on acoustic guitar. I especially like the sound of the harmonic minor scale on acoustic guitar, although it adds an extra level of picking difficulty.

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