In the R.G.T. Grade 7 Electric Guitar exam, candidates are expected to learn and play altered chords which include permutations of the Dominant and minor seventh chords.
This can seem daunting to begin with as there are rather a lot of variations and seeing Abm7b#5b9 written on a chord chart can be rather intimidating.
The good news is that it’s actually easier to play the chord than it is to type it or say it!
The best way to learn these chords is to take the simple triad of Root, 3rd/b3rd and b7th learn the basic shape.
Then learn where the altered notes are to be found.In the case of the Dominant 7th, the 9ths sit neatly in a row under the triad and the 5ths in a row below that Simply add your selected note to the triad and instant altered chord!
Have a look at the charts I have made and this should start to make a lot more sense.
Just click on the links below to download and print the pdf versions.
The majority of the time it is the V chord that gets altered so try resolving it to its Tonic to hear how it sounds as it resolves.
Altered chords can add interest to your chord progressions by adding colour and surprise so have fun with them [and don’t be put off by the names!]