Blues Chords Made Easy

Jordan Leibel  /  Styles  /  UPDATED Jan 10, 2023

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Take your playing to the next level:

Playing blues on the piano is one of the coolest things you can do. And luckily, it’s actually pretty easy. The first thing you’re gonna want to do to learn blues piano is learn some great blues chords.

The chords we’ll look at here are called ‘7th chords’. If you already know major and minor triads, then you’re 3/4s of the way there to learning 7th chords! All you have to do is stack one more note on top of your 3 note triad.

Take a look at the C major triad. It’s made up of 3 notes, C (I), E, (III), and G (V). So, there’s one additional note you’ll have to add on top of these 3 notes, and that note is going to be based off of the 7th degree. Arguably the most iconic 7th chord found in blues music is the ‘Dominant 7th’ chord. This chord is made up of a major triad PLUS a flat-7 on top. That means taking the note from the 7th degree of the major scale (in the case of C major, that means B) and flattening it by one semitone. So the C Dominant 7th chord is made up of the notes C-E-G-Bb.

To test your understanding, try making a dominant 7th chord off of an F major triad. Remember to start with your major triad notes, F-A-C and top it off with the flat-7th, in this case, Eb.

What about a Dominant 7th chord based off of G? Your G major triad is going to be G-B-D. If you count up 7 notes within the G major scale, you’ll land on F#. In order to make a proper Dominant 7th chord, you’ve got to flatten that F# down into an F natural. So the notes for a G Dominant 7th chord are G-B-D-F!

Jordan Leibel is passionate about songwriting, improvisation, and helping you become a creative musician! He’s worked as a composer for film, commercial, and theatre projects as well as a session musician and producer for recording work.

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