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02 Feb 2016
Learn Guitar Online - Play Blues Progressions on Guitar by Ear

Dominant seventh chords will always be good substitute chords to work with when you are searching for a blues sound on guitar; often the printed music will show the chords of a song as major chords if however the tune carries a blues 'feel' the chords more than likely will be dominant seventh chords.

blues chords



Let's take a look at a sample 12 bar blues progression written exclusively as major chords.

Progression #1:

C /// | F /// | C /// | C /// |

F /// | F /// | C /// | C /// |

G /// | G /// | C /// | G7/// || C (last time)

Now here is the same progression using dominant seventh chords:

Progression #2:

C7 /// | F7/// | C7/// | C7/// |

F7 /// | F7/// | C7/// | C7/// |

G7 /// | G7/// | C7/// | G7/// || C7 (last time)

Because there is so many ways to alter dominant seventh chords it could be a difficult choice to decide the best type of dominant seventh for the musical application.

In this next blues progression I'm featuring the dominant seventh using a sharpened ninth. (one of Jimi Hendrix's favorite sounds).

Progression #3:

C7#9 /// | F7#9/// | C7#9/// | C7#9/// |

F7#9 /// | F7#9/// | C7#9/// | C7#9/// |

G7#9 /// | G7#9/// | C7#9/// | G7#9/// || C7#9 (before)

The dominant seventh having a sharpened ninth generates a lot of musical tension and thus can be very useful for blues based material.

Now I'm only gonna use the C7#9 to create musical tension in bar five flying insects the 'F' chord.

Progression #4:

C7 /// | F7/// | C7/// | C7#9/// |

F7 /// | F7/// | C7/// | C7/// |

G7 /// | G7/// | C7/// | G7/// || C7 (before)

How about a dominant seventh which has a sharpened eleventh?

This chord could be written as: C+11 or C#11

The C+11 would support the following 1, 3, natural 5, b7,9,+11

I've specifically established that the fifth is a natural fifth since the +11 (sharp 11) is also thought of as a flattened fifth note.

Which means notes in a C+11 chord can be: C,E,G,Bb,D & F#

C+11 = C,E,G,Bb,D,F#

F+11 = F,A,C,Eb,G,B

G+11 = G,B,D,F,A,C#

Progression #5:

C+11 /// | F+11/// | C+11/// | C+11/// |

F+11 /// | F+11/// | C+11/// | C+11/// |

G+11 /// | G+11/// | C+11/// | G+11/// || C+11 (last time)

You may find some of these sounds usual to start with but as your ear becomes acquainted with the new harmonies I'm sure you will find them very useful for creating interesting musical backgrounds for your tunes.

blues chords



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