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C7?

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Chris C
(@chris-c)
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Hi,

Could anybody please shed any light on something that's been puzzling me?

All of the teaching books that I have tell me that the way to form a 7 chord is to add a flattened seventh to the basic chord. They almost always give the example of C7 and say that this is formed by taking C, E, and G and adding B flat.

Typical quote:

"The C7 chord will always contain C(1) , E(3) ,G(5) and Bflat (flat7)"

This sounds fine. But they then show you a diagram for C7 that looks like this:

X32310 (Whoops. typo edited :oops: )

OK, that's the C7 shape that I've seen in pretty much all the books and on-line chord sites. Except….

It doesn't seem to actually BE a C7 according to the rule they've just quoted. There's no G in it. The G disappeared from the shape when the Bflat was fingered on the G string.

So:

  • a) Is it still really a C7, and if it's not why do so many sources not only list it as such, but actually use it to illustrate what a 7 chord is?

    b) Does it matter? Is the G so unimportant that its presence is irrelevant?

    c) If it isn't a ‘true' c7, what is it?

  • Can anybody provide any enlightenment,

    Thanks,

    Chris


       
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    slejhamer
    (@slejhamer)
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    This sounds fine. But they then show you a diagram for C7 that looks like this:

    X323010

    You've got 7 strings there, Chris.

    "Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


       
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    Mike
     Mike
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    X323010

    Well, you have 7 strings listed there, typo?

    If you mean, 323010. There are 2 G's - 323010

    The 6th string 3 fret is G as is the open 3rd string.

    Is that what you meant to type?


       
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    dsparling
    (@dsparling)
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    I assume you meant X32310 instead of X323010

    The G is the 5th, which is often left out as it doesn't affect the tonality of a major or minor chord (obviously it would if you have a diminished or augmented chord) - you need the 3rd as it determines whether you have a major or minor chord, and the 7th can be major, minor, or diminished.

    One movable shape for a 7th chord is a variation of the one above, and it has the 5th as the bottom note:

    3x231x

    http://www.dougsparling.com/
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    gunslinger
    (@gunslinger)
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    He probably means X32310

    EDIT: It looks like I was a little late. I hate having to pick up my guitar to play something and make sure I'm right.

    Our songs also have the standard pop format: Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, bad solo. All in all, I think we sound like The Knack and the Bay City Rollers being molested by Black Flag and Black Sabbath.

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    Chris C
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    This sounds fine. But they then show you a diagram for C7 that looks like this:

    X323010

    You've got 7 strings there, Chris.

    Geez, I thought everybody played on a seven string!

    :oops: Typo corrected.


       
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    Fretsource
    (@fretsource)
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    Well spotted Chris, that particular shape has no 5th. Others have though, such as X35353 - It actually has two 5ths.

    The first one is a legitimate chord, even without a 5th because the 5th in most chords is very inactive and can be omitted and it won't be missed. It won't even be noticed most of the time.
    In theory seventh and other chords contain a 5th. In practice they don't have to.
    The reason for that is that 5ths are very consonant. The notes of very consonant intervals such as 5ths and octaves blend so well that they have almost no harmonic character - They're mostly just fillers.

    Dissonant intervals, on the other hand, are uncompromising in making themselves known. For example, you don't want to omit a diminished fifth (b5). Most of the character of whichever chord contains it comes from that dissonance.


       
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    Chris C
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    Thanks DougS and Fretsource. :)

    It surprised me that so many books quoted a precise rule and then immediately broke it without adding any further comment - as if they didn't even notice what they just did.

    So what is this shape that they always seem to print for C7:

    x32310 (double check what I type this time... :wink: )

    Is there another name that describes it more accurately or is C7 pretty much it?

    Oh, and is it the shape that most of you tend to use yourself when C7 is quoted, or do you prefer another variation?

    Cheers,

    Chris


       
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    Fretsource
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    Thanks DougS and Fretsource. :)

    It surprised me that so many books quoted a precise rule and then immediately broke it without adding any further comment - as if they didn't even notice what they just did.

    So what is this shape that they always seem to print for C7:

    x32310 (double check what I type this time... :wink: )

    Is there another name that describes it more accurately or is C7 pretty much it?

    Oh, and is it the shape that most of you tend to use yourself when C7 is quoted, or do you prefer another variation?

    Cheers,

    Chris

    I play that shape often and it never occurs to me that there's no 5th in it or that it's lacking in any way. There's no special name for it to indicate that there's no 5th present, which gives you some idea of how unimportant that fact is.

    If a composer, wants any chord to not have a 5th, they can write, e.g. C7 (no 5th). That still doesn't mean it's that shape - it could be any shape as long as you leave out the 5th
    Omitting notes from guitar chords is common practice and even essential when you try to play a seven note chord such as a 13th - on a 6 string guitar.


       
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    Chris C
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    Well...

    I've been trying out the alternative suggestions. :)

    dsparling's 3x231x seems manageable, as my ring finger was able to hold down the E as well as muting the A. And I guess it doesn't matter much if it comes out as 3x2310, with the high E too. (TYPO Edited again!)

    Fretsource's x35353 also looks worth persisting with, as I need the practice with barres and pinkie strength. Sounds nice too. :)

    Thanks very much for such quick and useful answers.

    Cheers,

    Chris


       
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    NoteBoat
    (@noteboat)
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    If having no fifth really bothers you, finger it xx2313

    :)

    Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


       
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    Chris C
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    Omitting notes from guitar chords is common practice and even essential when you try to play a seven note chord such as a 13th - on a 6 string guitar.

    Good point. I did a bit of 'reading ahead' a while back and when I got to chords where you were clearly going to run out of both fingers and strings I realised that it was time to go back and learn the simpler stuff first. :)

    Thanks for such clear and down to earth explanations. Sometimes theory explanations can take off into rarified areas of mathematics, or whatever, and the musical point of what you're trying to achieve with the sound gets rather left behind. :?

    I now feel both assisted and enlightened. :D

    Cheers,

    Chris


       
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    Fretsource
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    Well...

    I've been trying out the alternative suggestions. :)

    dsparling's 3x321x seems manageable, as my ring finger was able to hold down the E as well as muting the A. And I guess it doesn't matter much if it comes out as 3x3210, with the high E too.

    Fretsource's x35353 also looks worth persisting with, as I need the practice with barres and pinkie strength. Sounds nice too. :)

    Thanks very much for such quick and useful answers.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    There you go again Chris. The chord Dsparling said is 3x231x not 3x321x - Careful!!! :lol:

    Also - Yes you can play the 1st string E open - but an advantage of the shape Dsparling showed is that with no open strings, it's copmpletely moveable - just go up 2 frets and you've got a really useful D7.


       
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    Chris C
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    If having no fifth really bothers you, finger it xx2313

    :)

    8)

    Thanks NoteBoat - I knew you'd have one up your sleeve that I hadn't spotted yet. :D

    I don't really pine for the missing 5th (the less I have to find a finger for the better.. :wink: ) I just like to try and understand what's really going on rather than just swallow what I'm told without chewing it over a bit first. Often, the underlying principles behind theory turn out to be fairly straightforward - it's the explanations that can take a bit of picking over to sort out the bit that really matters.

    Yet again, I'm pleasantly amazed at the wealth of knowledge here and the generosity with which it gets shared.

    Thanks people.

    Cheers,

    Chris


       
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    Chris C
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    There you go again Chris. The chord Dsparling said is 3x231x not 3x321x - Careful!!! :lol:

    Also - Yes you can play the 1st string E open - but an advantage of the shape Dsparling showed is that with no open strings, it's copmpletely moveable - just go up 2 frets and you've got a really useful D7.

    :D :D

    Geez, it's really my day for stuffing it up!! :D

    Official excuses:

    1. I'm a shocking typist - strictly one finger per hand,
    2. I'm wearing a $2 pair of magnifying glasses as my multifocals require me to read the screen with my nose pointing to the roof...
    3. I proof-read my terrible word typing reasonably carefully, but apparently have a blind spot for numbers.
    4. I turned 60 last month so am now officially allowed to show signs of creeping senility. :P

    Good point about the shape being moveable though. Noteboat's too.

    Cheers,

    Umm... it'll come to me in a minute..

    Charles

    ..no.. that's close but...

    Chris.. that's it.

    EDIT: Just noticed:
    copmpletely moveable

    I appear to be spreading the infection. Seek immunisation at earliest convenience... :wink:


       
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