Blues Chords: The Dominant 7th - Riff Ninja Guitar

Blues Chords: The Dominant 7th

In this lesson we'll learn the E7 chord, in a couple different shapes, and how to shift that chord into 12 new chords, by transposing the chord shape to other places on the fretboard. You can also call this chord E dominant 7th. The basic shape of the open E7 is 020100.

Leave a Reply 142 comments

Richard King Reply

Good stuff

Rick Parker Reply

Always interesting and informative.

John Yates Reply

I'd love to see you relate chords to a specific song – say Stormy Monday.

Michael Alford Reply

Easy listening…very informative.

William Reynolds Reply

I would like to combine a blues sound with heavy metal. Not speed metal but the heavy sound. This would create a heavy metal blues sound!

Patricia Lewis Reply

very helpful….thanks colin!

Grady Dyer Reply

This was a real eye opener and brings a broad vista to playing and learning guitar.

Jim Cullen Reply

The Blues for me is not winning a copy of Ultimate Blues Stage 1.

Randy Martinez Reply

Great lesson! Thanks for the tip on using the pinky finger on the second string. I see you are also using it with the Barre chord shape. Sounds sweet! I guess that's one reason they call it the Blues!!!!!

Danny Carman Reply

Colin, I like the way you explain things.You make it soooo easy to understand.Thanks

Patrick O'Herrin Reply

Looks like fun. I wonder how experienced a person would need to be to benefit from the class.

Randall Bachman Reply

I love being a Riff Ninja (padawan learner still). I am still in the overwhelmed stage, but I am playing and its not too horrible. Thanks for the I IV V info, it is finally staring to make sense to me after 20 years!

    Thomas C Benton Sr Reply

    I find it refreshing to know that I am not the only one who has been playing for decades and still doesn’t have it.

Philip Brickey Reply

Thanks! It's always fun to learn new chords and how they work together!

William Thompson Reply

Great introduction captain…..

Steve Mcdonald Reply


Sivle Yelserp Reply

I was feelin kinda down
Feelin kinda sad
Now I seen the demo
I'm feelin mighty glad!

Lynne Ryckman Reply

Looking forward to learning how to spice up a 12 bar blues.

Danny Coulter Reply

I have these sounds inside me and I want to learn to play so I can share these with people. When I play I want them smiling or tears falling down their faces depending on what song I’m playing,money would be nice,but I’m not looking for fame or fortune,just want to share what I’m hearing inside myself.

Robert Butcher Reply

I want to play the blues so badly and I do

David Bacon Reply

Hey Colin that’s cool now with the 12 dom chords, that means there are 36 chords right from the same basic pattern. (12 Major+12 Minor+12 Dom) wow we learned 36 chords in about 25 mins. That’s amazing Colin Thanks.

Paul Tolman Reply

Colin and Jonathon both have ways of explaining things that make them easy to relate to. Keep’em coming!

Robert Peacock Reply

when i was 15 yrs old i was suffering with bowel cancer i spent alot of time in the hospital i used to play my yamaha acoustic in in the stairwell of the hospital when ever i got scared my guitar has been my best friend my spiritual guide and even when iwas tired i could sit on my case anyway growing up not having much in life i always made sure i had a guitar because to me it was much more then just some wood with strings stretched across it was my soul my guide and my friend music is not in me i am music

Jim Newland Reply

Awesome Lesson Colin !! I am in my early 60's trying to put the blues in my back pocket. Your lesson today has started me off and running those barre chords opened it right up for me. thanks again and keep up the good work !!

Merrill Bartle Reply

Good lesson, I like the pinky thing.

Danny Robinson Reply

another super lesson colin
I always thought the dominant 7th was the fifth chord
of a scale with a flattened 7th added

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Jerry Nolan Reply

I’m still a beginner, but I like the way you explain things.

Linda Trubiano Donald Reply

To a fine musician, Good friends are hard to find, thanks for sharing your friend with us. Love Linda and Bob xoxox

Larry Densmore Reply

Music bit me at age eleven from the blown dash speaker of a 1950s pickup as the helper/sidekick to deliver upholstered furniture. A lot has gone on since then to fill a photo album. I know Colin's ease of manner and skill will get me going again. I am the instrument of a greater Source. I am unfulfilled until I can express the passion to others. Love is bountiful.

craig Reply

Yes where i want to go as a guitar player is,i want to be able to solo all over the neck in all modal scales.You see i run into problems on different areas on the guitar neck.You know how sometimes the higher you go up on the guitar neck,you run into semi tones causing all kinds of problems for a guitar player.

Marian Nyitrai Reply

Those chords sound really cool!! Great lesson. Would love to learn to spice blues soloing.

Eddie Reply

I got the Blues, you got the Blues, we all got the Blues at one time or another

Kathryn Kelm Reply

The video is easy to follow, and I can apply it right away to my guitar playing. My guitars are my friends; each one is dedicated to a Saint or a spiritual guideline.

Richard Palmer Reply

This was the coolest and clearest explanation I have ever been taught on the "Blues Chord". Thanks, Colin!

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Andy Reply

Looking forward to some specific direction on my favourite style of guitar!!!!!

Jack Fuller Reply

Great stuff! I may be your oldest student (73) with one ear… I have purchased much of your work. It just takes an old guy who has been playing only 5 years longer to digest everything. You make it much easier and more fun than anyone else.

Len Reply

It’s good for all the know what can be done sliding up the neck. I sent 30 years playing on just the lower 4 frets until I figured how to move up the neck. Lot of time wasted, etc. Lot’s to learn from the Riff Ninja. I have his DVDs “THe Rhythms & Riffs of Early R&R” and “Essentials of Slide Guitar” which are good investments for me. Now, if I could only figure out “Travis Picking” …..

Joe Ruisi Reply

I'm way behind on courses that I already have, because of Carpel Tunnel surgery, but I can tell you I wish I'd known about you first. You are the very best. Since I'm planning to play guitar beyond age one hundred, I plan to get caught up with your CDs before too long.

Paul Brown Reply

hey kats,
id loke to jusay how simple you make it all seem, it is openning doors me big time, thankyou.

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Leigh Dicker Reply

Hi There from down under Australia, just started learning the guitar at 58 years young, this course will help I believe Cheers LeighD

Dave Hale Reply

I've wanted to master guitar since the age of 7. I'm 53 and I'm not there yet but your courses are helping! Thank you

Steve Ingram Reply

Ultimate Blues strikes a chord with me. If I win, I'll be in 7th heaven…thanks

sam bloodgood Reply

Keep up the great lessons Colin!! Thank you.

Ray Herzberger Reply

I started as a drummer 49 years ago. About 6 years ago, I started dabbling in keyboards. Just in the last 2 years or so I’ve started learning some guitar with your help and I’m loving it.

Steve Mcdonald Reply


Roger Litchfield Reply

Steve? Are you trying kearn some Blues Guitar Chords?

layer100 Reply

I am now 66 years old and recently got the inspiration to play the guitar like my idol which was my Uncle who recently passed. I started out at a younger age playing harmonicas (harp) which was another inspiration from another Uncle who played when I was growing up and I liked the sound and bought many harps as I was growing up. I learned the blues on the harp and wanted to learn the blues on the guitar. My Uncle who played electric guitar taught my oldest brother how to play and he has been playing bass ever since. He played with several local bands and he got pretty good at it, for a left handed guitar player…smile. My Uncle Richard was to teach me how to play but succumbed to health problems and deceased. It is my intention to honor his memory with learning to play the blues as great as he played it. I am a blues nut and would give anything to play the way he did. I think it is deep within that I have that desire, having been around musicians all my life, who also knew the blues and played it well.

Mark Smith Reply

Thanks Colin – you have the experience but it is your patience and attention to detail that make for a great teacher

Zamna Sanchez Reply

I am from Mexico…a land full of colours and music, I always relate blues with the history of struggle and fight if our brothers when they suffered the consecuences of racial discrimination… blues is faith and hope in a bending note in those seven chords…healing music! Love it!

Cruiser Balboa Reply

awsome you sure make it sound easy

Cruiser Balboa Reply

awsome you sure make it sound easy the blues almost loose control

Bill Von Zangenberg Reply

I’m a more advanced player but this course is awesome.

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John Reply

I always think Colin is a great teacher.

John Carlson Reply

John Carlson appreciate your courses and helpful emails you both send out.

Bubba Moore Reply

Hey hope your having a good day. I would really like to get this im 50 and would like to learn some new stuff I haven't been playing long. Thanks..

Sandy L Scott Reply

Love the stories, man! Guess you got the "wanted the blue but got the pink bunny blues!" Feel for ya man!

Ava Nozicka Reply

I need to learn the blues!

Anthony Clay Reply

I have been at this for the past 2 years! If I dont win, I think I might have to buy! Collin seem to explain it a lil bit more better than some of the other programs that I have bought, plus I wants to play the blues anyway!

David Bartscher Reply

Not only do you need good information, you need an instructor that fulfills your easiest way to learn and understand that info…Colin, you hit both marks, great job and thanks for the free lessons and help.

Anonymous Reply

Hello — I am 57 and your video got me inspired to start playing guitar again after a 30 year absent. I currently just lost my house and take care of my disabled wife but i do have a good amp – couple of guitars and a PA system. What I need now is some lessons. I hope you can help me out. I really like both of yours teaching styles.
Mickey Duane (

Gary Johnson Reply

I have had guitars for years and really haven't progressed. I can't figure out how to learn all the chords with the little time I have to put out.Help!!

John Mollitor Reply

I'm 75, and still learning, like the way you teach Colin.

John Mollitor Reply

I'm 75, and still learning, like the way you teach Colin.

Jocquay Branklyn Reply

I learned that you can build tons of chords learning the roots. Plan not to just build a solid foundation on this info but a neighborhood on top of it as well!

Royce Gernert Reply

Been a drummer since I was 12. Switched to bass in my thirties. Been playing blues bass for 10 years. Time to go to rhythm guitar and later, lead. Love the blues and would really like to learn blues chords.

Jean Henderson Reply

I share you fantastic information with my two adult daughters, who are learning the guitar also. I gave them both their first guitar and find it exciting that they love it as much as I do. Their goal is to some day be able to play with me, their Mom. The information you share with us is invaluable as we all strive to be better guitarists. Thank you!

Neil Kelly Reply

I have
Payed the guitar since 5th grade..very poorly! I have been a blues fan since my mid forties. The closest I can get to playing the Blues is a couple rough renditions of some Beatles classics. Now that I am retired, I swear I will find time to play the Blues!

Drew Gregg Reply

This blues course is a lot better prize than a 3 ft pink rabbit….:)

Donald Gay Reply

I'm just starting out as a guitar player but have been a fan of the blues since the 50's. This would be a great addition to my learning plan.

flgitrpkr Reply

Great lesson. I am learning to play guitar since I retired and I love the blues. Your explanations are very easy to follow. That’s needed for us learners. No sad story, just thanks for your teaching.

Robert Vaughn Reply

Very good lesson

Louis Mason Thomas Reply

I love learning different variations of chord patters.

Anonymous Reply

I can't wait!

Anonymous Reply

Colin you are awesome

Richard Page Reply

Beenblessed to see BB king live even got his broken string Richard Thompson and the late great Rory Gallagher live. I play for me even bought a Martin DC to help with arthritic finger. Your astrology course was great!

Keith D Bell Reply

'Blues for Life'

mbrown Reply

Great lessons, enjoy the explanations, easy to follow and learn. thanks

Richard Prochowski Reply

I could dig this Colin and Jonathan….

Tim Hayes Reply

I had a big pink rabbit too

T Ohbee Reply

Great tie in to bring my limited knowledge of the blue harp, the blues piano, and my new found love of blues guitar together. Another old fogie learning new tricks. Thanks…

Ragnar Brigg Reply

Many nice people commenting here. Music inspires and the guitar is accessible to most. Three chords you got a song… and from there.. no limit.

Leon Castonguay Reply

After 65 years I finally have the time to learn and play. Thank you Johnathan for the direction to make these years productive and rewarding. Riff Ninja forever.

Kenneth Bruton Reply

I recently went back to learning guitar, but lately, I have not been inspired. This course may be the key I need to create some new amazing works! I would like to learn to create chord phrases like Clapton, or expand my range from 0 to 60.

John Moore Reply

Learned 12 new chords. Every time I learn something new from riff ninja, I gain more knowledge about the fret board!

Steven Cates Reply

What a great teaching lesson….I really enjoyed the transposition information. Great teacher in clear method of understanding why things work on a guitar…

Edward C Dumchus Reply

As a riff ninja member, I know Colin's teaching style; would love to win this course as I have been playing blues more and more.

Jack Kindig Reply

I am 74 and played drums professionally for a lot of years in the Nashville area. In the last three years I have organized a new group and play guitar on some ballads and still play drums on other tunes. I have always tried to play guitar and have been working hard at it during these last three years. It would be very cool to get your blues course and advance my guitar playing. Going to a guitar fest in Westmoreland St Park in Virginia the 24th through the 28th of this month (Apr). Jack

Keith Bates Reply

Actually, as much as I have been playing/ songwriting since I was around 11yrs old. this video helped me! I understand better now about the dominant 7th. Thank you SO much!

Steve Still Reply

Colin and Jonathan you are awesome teachers. Thanks for helping me improve my guitar skills… hope to win new course.

George Bass Reply

I get your email every day, and even though my day stays very busy, I always make time to read it…. I'm sort of a newbie, only been playing for about a year.

Pete Smith Reply

I am a student of guitar, I watch many of online videos. I seem to spend more of my time with my own creation. My biggest dream is to play something cool with it. Yesterday, I had a fniger fight with a grinder, finger no win. I think it is way cool you guys take the time to do all of this for us. Hopefully back at it soon. We can learn from it all

Gerald Cameron Reply

Hey Colin, I laughed a little when at the end of this video, you thanked us for our time….man, it's us that need to thank you!!! You have something that brings you a lot of joy, and instead of keeping it to yourself, you spend a considerable amount of time and effort sharing this with us. So, thanks Riff Ninja! This particular lesson helped to demystify another piece. Rock on!!

George Brock Reply

Even as a seasoned player you never stop learning; the little seemingly insignificant details all add up to continued progress.

Jay Dugan Reply

Great lesson! E7 is my favorite blues chord. Keep up the good work.

Daniel Spencer Reply

Thanks for always having great lessons. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Rodger Malcolm Reply

Hi, I'm just starting out on the guitar, your courses have been a great help and inspiration to me, the blues course would be a great addition to my resources towards being a better player.
Thanks for all your help.

Dale Keller Reply

You make it look easy. Thanks Dale

Jim Rafferty Reply

I'm 61 and still jamming! I love the Blues, have had the Blues, but would love to learn to play the BLUES!!!

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Harvey Setterfield Reply

Not a cool guitar story but an embarrassing bass story instead. I used to be the bass player in a Punk band and wore a French Maid’s outfit on stage for the first few gigs because I was drunk when I agreed to it and in front of witnesses so I couldn’t bottle out of it (well that’s keeping your word for you, I curse my upbringing sometimes lol).
Since then I had a 20 year break from playing and have now started playing the guitar. If I was in a Blues band I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing something so stupid again so deserve to win these lessons lol. The Punk band was called The Exiles From Pluto, if you do a Google search you should be able to find the song called Harvey’s Song which will give you the reason for the outfit (but please be aware that the lyrics of the song are sexually explicit lol) and prove that I’m not making this up!
Great video too btw!

Daniel Sinclair Reply

Played guitar for a while when I was young but gave it up for a LONG TIME !! I am 67 yrs. old now and would love to learn the Blues . This could be my chance .

Bluesman Reply

Hi Collin Great lesson as always! I already play Blues guitar to a point & would love to learn more! There’s nothing better than the BLUES Thanks

Glenn J. Miller Reply

The Quest continues… unabated… 😉

Corona Powers Reply

One day about 25 years ago my guitar hero came to town. Gino Scarpelli from the band Goddo. I met the guys in the band and was asked about the location of a music store. They went, and I tagged along. This was a thrill for me because hanging on the wall of the store was my Strat. Sold (but not paid for). I explained that I had lost my summer job, sold the speakers out of my amp and almost had the guitar paid off. When we got back to the Hotel, Greg Gotovitz showed my a
4 x12 cabinet and said "after the gig…you can take it home".
A management type guy overheard this and said "no…sorry you can't that home because we don't own it".
HUGE bummer, true story.
Same night, we saw a drunk lady get hit by a cab and then get up and walk away.
Also true.

Krb Browndog Reply

Yes it might just be. I checked it out and it seems good.

Paul Fulkerson Reply

The Riff Ninja also is putting out a 4 DVD Blues Course. You should check that out also.

Brent carpenter Reply

Everything starts with the blues.

Glo Hp Reply

Well what can I say..I have been chewing off bits and pieces of these 2 guys for a long time..I have many of their courses and all of Johnathan mini lessons.the great thing about them
is their courses are microbits of intelligent needed theory..but not so heavy it flattens you……like little warm fuzzier
thanks for your very common approach….

Larry Smith Reply

I have a solo course of yours and it is a very comforting and inspiring way to teach. Makes you continue rather than self doubt. Confidence building at its best.Blues on!

Ralphie Cat Hawkins Reply

Malcolm Young is a god of open chords

Clifford Allan Moore Reply

Well the obvious just became clear in your explanation and that makes playing a lot easier. I am an Episcopal priest trying to create a little more spirit. Maybe I need to make the obvious a little clearer. Thanks, Fr Cliff

Carol Fredericks Reply

Too cool! I need your lessons, simply. Help me please.

Ted Bingaman Reply

Love to have this even old folks can learn new tricks

Michael J Sabolesky Reply

Thanks for your helpful E7 chord shapes along the 6th string to find the different name of chords

Nick Sweeney Reply

When i was in High school, i had a music exam in which i had to play a guitar part along with a backing track. I was given the chords and music weeks beforehand so i could practice, but on the day of the exam the cd containing the backing track did not work ! So I spent an hour or two learning a totally new song that my teacher knew (so she could play backing music on piano) and passed the exam with flying colours.

Thomas Hernandez Reply

I'm pretty psyched about this. I always learn from y'all.

Jerry Martin Reply

I taught myself how to play guitar many years ago mostly by ear. This looks like a good way to learn the right way! Thanks for the help.

Al Musitano Reply

The blues (music) is not only the root of so many other forms, the blues (theory) is continually applicable to those other forms. So, even if you NEVER want to play the blues, per se, courses like these can help you play better.

Michele Reply

i love the blues – want to learn anything and everything about the blues!!

Fiona Hoey Reply

and you play them so well!!

Steve Mcdonald Reply


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Louis Lopez Reply

glad i am not the only old guy wanting to play better blues…. I can play but learning more theory now and how/ why things go together so I can write better songs that make sense musically. you are a very good teacher and have a gift for explaining and not skipping parts.. too many teachers skip things that make a huge difference in the way one can put the knowledge to work.. Thanks Colin for the help… Be Blessed!

Beareather Reddy Reply

I'm a blues vocalist who's always searching for an accompanist. Although I am a hundred years old, I would like to really learn how to play the guitar so I can accompany myself. A woman with big dreams…

Bill Loughridge Reply

Thanks for all the free lessons it's always fun learning things, I really have enjoyed your slide course I bought

John Comstock Reply

I like Colin's style of teaching – down to earth. I'd love to win this.

Peter Falkingham Reply

I started playing blues guitar about 2 years ago and havnt really progressed because i dont use bar chords at all just stuck to open chords since watching you guys at riff ninja, ive just started learning my 7th chords and a few other bar chords to expand my playing and my technique.

Dean Aldworth Reply

Fell down last year ripped both my shoulders up. Looking foward to start playing again soon. Just bought a new Guitar right before falling down had it all set and ready to learn the blues hope all goes well with my shoulders.

Dean Aldworth Reply

Fell down last year ripped both my shoulders up. Looking foward to start playing again soon. Just bought a new Guitar right before falling down had it all set and ready to learn the blues hope all goes well with my shoulders.

Jeff Jones Reply

Glad to hear it Mr. Kindig. I sincerely appreciated having you as a band director; those were some of the best of times, and you were a big part of it. I hope you have a great time in Virginia.

Vic DeFiore Reply

Awesome videos

George Reply

You have to play to play!

David Crane Reply

Bottom of the page people! Woohoo!

Mike Taylor Reply

thankfully my transposing skills won't b like when i moved. otherwise, some of those notes would stay where they started while the others move, lol. great lesson.

Tim Stewart Reply

I'm glad to see guys offer a chance for someone to win something that might help them out. I've enter a lot of giveaways but, with so many entering, sometimes your chances are very slim, but that's the luck of the draw. Sometimes you win and sometimes you loose but you can't win if you don't enter. So to all that enter good luck and once again thanks guys for offering some cool an awesome videos, DVD sets.

Tim Stewart Reply

I'm glad to see guys offer a chance for someone to win something that might help them out. I've enter a lot of giveaways but, with so many entering, sometimes your chances are very slim, but that's the luck of the draw. Sometimes you win and sometimes you loose but you can't win if you don't enter. So to all that enter good luck and once again thanks guys for offering some cool an awesome videos, DVD sets.

Vincent Soon Reply

Thanks for the valuable tips! I'm always fascinated with the sound of the silver strings

Ron Towle Reply

Thanks to Colin, Griff, & Marty,I was accepted into the N.H. Fiddle Ensemble(Rhythm Guitar) & even given a couple solos! Thanks so much,guys, for all that great tutoring! I am 83, & still learning!

Steve Collins Reply

been playing guitar off and on for last 20 years, I would like to try and finally learn how to actually play instead of fooling around.

Michael Gibson Reply

The only greater joy in music than listening to blues is playing the blues. It's been a life long dream.

Einar Christiansen Reply

Hi Colin,
Am 82 years young. been playing for 66 years, struggled until about 5 years ago. Have since learned about scales, how to build chords including 7ths, 9ths etc. Learned the whole step 1/2 step system as well as 1, 4, 5 system. (Whew what a relief!) Got some courses from your mate Jonathan real good stuff! Enjoy your emails advice and tips.
This course sounds worthwhile checking out as even though I’ve been playing for such a long time I still can’t really play other than basic ryhthym.
Thank you so much.
Hey Robert what a trooper you are going through all you’ve had. I can understand how much your guitar would have given you something to cling to. Hold it tight mate aaas apart from needing to be played it will never argue with you and is always there whenever you need it.
Kind regards from an old kiwi bluesman here in little old New Zealand.

Iynrew . Reply

I want this! I’ve been looking for new things to learn for awhile 🙂

ralph Reply

not sure of level I should take but from your videos I’ll try level 2

    Jonathan Boettcher Reply

    Stage 1 is all about Chords, Stage 2 is all about scales, and both are quite important as we cover much more than just how to play them, but we also get into how they all interconnect, and how to understand them on a deeper level too.

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