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What is an A7 Chord on guitar? (Theory)

A7 is one of the most common 7th chords on guitar.

Most people think of dominant 7th chords as being used in jazz and blues, but don’t underestimate how many other genres and styles use this wonderful chord.

Dive into the A7 guitar chord lesson and learn how to play it, plus the theory behind it.

A7 guitar chord notes/ build

There are 4 notes in the A7 chord. The notes are:

  • A (root)
  • C# (Major 3rd)
  • E (5th)
  • G (Flat 7th)

How to play the A7 guitar chord

There are countless ways to play an A7 chord, and in this lesson you’ll see the most common shapes used.

Open Position A7 Guitar Chord

As long as you know you’re open A chord, an essential chord for beginners, the Open Position A7 will be a piece of cake.

The proper finger placement is displayed in the image below.

A7 Open Guitar Chord Diagram

A7 Guitar Chord (E7 Shape)

Derived from the open E7 shape, this is a common A7 bar chord.

If the 6-string bar is too difficult, you can play this chord by only playing strings D-G-B-E.

A7 Bar Chord based on Open E7

A7 Guitar Chord (C7 shape)

This chord can be a tight squeeze, and it’s not the most common way to play an A7 guitar chord.

Despite this, you may find yourself using a technique, such as Travis picking, where this shape can come in handy.

A7 Guitar Chord Based on the open C7 Shape

A7 Guitar Chord (D7 Shape)

This shape is nice because there’s no bar, and the finger placement is pleasant.

It’s based on an open D7 chord shape.

A7 Guitar Chord based on the Open D7 Shape

A7 Guitar Chord (Jazz Shape)

I love this shape, because the root (on the low E) and fifth (on the B string) are placed just right for substituting notes.

This chord is once again, another tight squeeze, but being crammed into 2 frets is not always a bad thing.

A7 Guitar Chord Jazz Shape

A7 Guitar Chord Further Explained

What is A7 short for?

A7 is short for A dominant 7th.

Is an A7 the same as an A chord?

A7 and A Major are not the same chord.

A7 is a major triad plus the flat 7th, and A Major is just a major triad.

This gives A7 the notes A-C#-E-G and A the notes A-C#-E.

Learn more about 7th chords here.

What scale goes with A7?

As a general rule the A Major Pentatonic Scale and A Mixolydian go with A7.

Can I play A7 instead of A?

You can play A7 instead of A if it’s the fifth chord diatonically in the chord progression.

However, guitar theory is just theory at the end of the day, and you can technically substitute A7 for A whenever you want.

The decision is usually based on which chord will best complement the music.

A7 Guitar Chord Summary

The A7 Guitar chord is a common alternative to open A, and is often used as the V chord in the D Major scale.

Think carefully about the harmonic context of the music before you substitute an open A for an A7 chord.

What’s next?

Want to explore more about guitar theory or harmony? If so, I’ve got you covered.

What Is Guitar Theory?

How to Play Dominant 7th Chords on Guitar (Definition)

Top 10 Beautiful Guitar Chords (And How to Use Them)

What is the 1-4-5 chord progression?

How to Play the G7 Chord on Guitar (Best Ways)