In 7th Heaven (Guitar Lesson)

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David Isaacs

In 7th Heaven

Back to some chords now. In case you couldn't tell from the title, we'll be focusing on 7th chords for this lesson. You learned A7 a while back, and now you'll learn E7 and B7.

Taught by David Isaacs in Beginner Guitar With David Isaacs seriesLength: 13:32Difficulty: 1.5 of 5


In this lesson we return to chords and strumming, adding the E7 and B7 shapes to your toolbox and ending up with a nice blues shuffle in E.

The E7 chord can be played many different ways, but this fingering is the simplest. As you might imagine from the name, E7 is a relative of the E major chord you learned a while back. Looking at the diagram, you might notice that E7 uses two of the three fingers we needed to play the E chord: the index finger on the first fret of string 3, and the middle on the second fret of string 5. However, the D string (string 4) stays open, giving us the “7” in E7. We’re also going to learn another new form, B7, at 2:24. This one is totally new, since we haven’t seen any other B chords yet. (Don’t worry, you will….)

Numbers in the name of a chord tell us about the notes that make it up. In this case, “E7” tells us that we need to add a seventh to the E chord. This means that if we count our way through the music alphabet with E as note 1, we end up at D for note 7. Since this note is actually two frets or a whole step down from the octave E (note 8) on the 2nd fret of the fourth string, we would say that the note we’re adding is a “flat 7” or a “blues 7th”. You can just think of it as a 7th for now.

There are several types of seventh chords. A note name followed by a number 7 refers to a “dominant 7th” chord, which is a major chord with an added blues 7th. You won’t hear the average player use that word “dominant” very often to describe this chord, though. Most people would simply call the chord “ E seven” or “E seventh”. So for our purposes, when we refer to a 7th chord it will be this type of seventh, the dominant. This is a very familiar sound and something we hear all the time in the blues. Our track “Shufflin” is no exception.

As you might have guessed, “Shufflin” uses a shuffle rhythm. Remember that the shuffle rhythm uses a triplet subdivision of the beat, giving it a sense of bounce and lift. We’re still going to apply our basic strum concept of downstrokes on the downbeats and upstrokes on the upbeats, but this time the upbeats are shorter and take up less time. You can hear the rhythm clearly in the performance that starts at 3:02. But we’re also going to dig a little deeper stylistically. This particular type of shuffle tends to have an accent on the upbeat for an even stronger sense of lift. The hand still moves smoothly back and forth, but with a little more emphasis on the upstrokes. You don’t need to strike all the strings on the upstroke to create the accent, just give a little weight to it. The movement feels like a flick of the wrist. We also de-emphasize the downstrokes, focusing more on the bass strings and playing lightly: down-UP-down-UP. The arm still swings as it has before, but by bringing out specific areas of the guitar with the different strokes – bass strings on the downstrokes, treble strings on the upstrokes – we add a lot of dimension to the groove. This movement is very clear at 00:46 of the second video.

Also notice the variations that start to creep in: the simple hammer-ons at 2:00, the slight changes in the strum illustrated at about 3:00, and the release of left hand pressure demonstrated at the beginning of the third video. Try experimenting with these variations, but the basic strum can stay the same all the way through also. As we’ve seen before and will see again, there’s always more than one way to approach a tune. Even if some of the variations are a little beyond you, don’t be afraid to experiment…good players are able to mix things up without losing the foundation of the groove, and you won’t get there unless you’re willing to get “off the map” sometimes. This ability is one of the qualities that makes a player a musician, not just a guitarist…and remember, that’s our real goal: to make music.





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Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


TorbenljTorbenlj replied

Am so glad I found JamPlay. Yet another gem of a series of lessons. Thank You David Isaacs

drapolonskydrapolonsky replied

so, i feel like my strumming sounds a little cruddy-like, no matter what i do, it just doesn't sound nice or rhythmic or melodic. what can i do to make it better? (or am i just being too self conscious and i should just go with it?) (guitar is in tune, btw.)

drapolonskydrapolonsky replied

i do like how it sounds better when i am strumming with my thumb vs the pick, so perhaps it is a "picking" problem....

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

Need the right git to get the right sound with this backing track!

Beginner Guitar With David Isaacs

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Don't get stuck learning chords, scales and theory with nowhere to apply the things you work on. Take the "David Isaacs" approach and learn the guitar by using real music. You'll be playing along with simple song examples after the second lesson!



The Series IntroductionLesson 1

The Series Introduction

Don't get stuck learning chords, scales and theory with nowhere to apply the things you work on. Take the "David Isaacs" approach and learn the guitar by using real music. You'll be playing along with...

Length: 2:32 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Strings & ThingsLesson 2

Strings & Things

Tune up, learn your way around your guitar, and explore a simple, musical picking exercise to help you learn the string names. You'll be playing right out of the gate!

Length: 22:20 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Hands on the FretboardLesson 3

Hands on the Fretboard

Learn hand position, posture and see how to set up your playing for success when it comes to your fret hand. Dave goes in depth with his discussion and demonstration of hand mechanics. Don't miss this...

Length: 16:10 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Your First Song!Lesson 4

Your First Song!

Learn the E7 minor and Am chords and then immediately put them to use with a simple song. Play along to the provided backing track and feel like you're part of the band...It's only your 4th lesson! Keep...

Length: 15:32 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Power to the ChordsLesson 5

Power to the Chords

Power chords are some of the most simple and ubiquitous tools for playing and making great songs. Learn the most basic shapes and put them to use right here! Dave also discusses the beginnings of strumming...

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Music & MelodyLesson 6

Music & Melody

Learn a simple melody and take in a little info about what a 'key' is. You can learn the melody and have a friend strum the rhythm. Or, do it the other way around!

Length: 18:07 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Two Finger Chords & MoreLesson 7

Two Finger Chords & More

These simple, musical tools can take you a long way. Use your index and middle fingers to play a simple Am chord and a simple E chord. You'll also learn how to read chord charts and play through another...

Length: 16:46 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
A Simple MelodyLesson 8

A Simple Melody

You will be introduced to a simple A minor scale and then learn a song that helps you get your new scale under your finger tips!

Length: 12:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Finger IndependenceLesson 9

Finger Independence

Do you ever feel like you are wearing mittens while you are trying to practice your guitar playing? If you have ever experienced this sensation, this lesson is for you!

Length: 11:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Let's Major on C MajorLesson 10

Let's Major on C Major

You'll be introduced to the C Major scale and then you'll be able to put it to use over a soothing acoustic guitar rhythm bed. Have fun!

Length: 10:37 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The C Chord and G7 ChordLesson 11

The C Chord and G7 Chord

Here you'll get to spend some time applying some fundamental chord shapes. Dave shows how to switch between these two chords seamlessly and, as usual, has a creative example ready to go so you can put...

Length: 18:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
G and C Working TogetherLesson 12

G and C Working Together

I know what you're thinking..."I just learned these!" Well, you did learn a C chord and a G chord, but this lesson goes over ways to play these chords together in a chord progression that REALLY sounds...

Length: 11:06 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Playing Most SongsLesson 13

Playing Most Songs

You've probably heard it before, but most songs out there can really be played with just 3 or 4 chords. In this lesson, Dave gives you the tools to play most of the songs you know and love!

Length: 14:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Rhythm & ChartsLesson 14

Rhythm & Charts

We're moving into some new territory with this series now. You'll now be focusing more and more on material that you can play in a band setting. Up until now, you've been applying the basics to real music,...

Length: 24:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Taste of the BluesLesson 15

A Taste of the Blues

Learn about the blues form and strum along with a cool, laid back, bluesy track. You'll be able to take the material in this lesson a long way down the road! Don't forget to have fun with it now though...

Length: 12:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major Pentatonic MusicLesson 16

Major Pentatonic Music

Learn the C major pentatonic scale and put it to good use over a catchy tune! You'll be surprised how simple this is and how very musical you can be with just 5 notes arranged in a musically interesting...

Length: 8:38 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Four Fingers and a ChordLesson 17

Four Fingers and a Chord

The mighty and intimidating F chord is one that most beginners see as a major hurdle in learning the basic chords on the guitar. Dave offers some ways to make the F chord more approachable. Once you examine...

Length: 15:35 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Chord Shapes & ArpeggiosLesson 18

Chord Shapes & Arpeggios

Work on precision with your picking hand and more finger independence with your fretting hand using a soothing practice track called "Chimes". You'll get a good taste of combining melody and rhythm playing...

Length: 15:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Work Those RhythmsLesson 19

Work Those Rhythms

Dave works you through eight different strumming variations, discusses how to feel the groove while keeping the rhythm, and shows you how to take a handful of examples and create any strum pattern you...

Length: 14:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Complete CLesson 20

Complete C

Look at the C major scale once again. This time however, you'll get to complete the first position C major pattern. You'll play every note within reach of your first 4 frets. You'll also learn a catchy...

Length: 16:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Return to ChordsLesson 21

The Return to Chords

Work in the Am, Dm, and Em chords and play them in a melancholy, yet soothing example. You'll also get to work on your basic strumming.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Shifty PentatonicLesson 22

Shifty Pentatonic

Learn the E minor pentatonic scale with a small position shift that will get you out of the open position and moving around the neck a little bit. This is where it really starts to feel like you are owning...

Length: 13:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Let's Major on A MinorLesson 23

Let's Major on A Minor

Earlier in the series, we explored the C major scale. In this lesson, the A minor will get some love. Learn the basic open position and use it in a new melody.

Length: 15:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
In 7th HeavenLesson 24

In 7th Heaven

Back to some chords now. In case you couldn't tell from the title, we'll be focusing on 7th chords for this lesson. You learned A7 a while back, and now you'll learn E7 and B7.

Length: 13:32 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Walkin' The BluesLesson 25

Walkin' The Blues

Take a moment to pat yourself on the back! You've covered a lot of ground so far! You've been playing real music now for some time, and in this lesson, we're going to learn a walking blues line. What is...

Length: 10:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Moveable ChordsLesson 26

Moveable Chords

Chords that don't have any open strings in them AND chords whose open strings fit comfortably within the chord all called "moveable chords". Learn how to play a couple chords up the neck.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Moveable PentatonicLesson 27

Moveable Pentatonic

In this lesson, you'll take another big step forward when it comes to working outside of the open position. You'll feel like doing some jamming too!

Length: 8:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Syncopated StrummingLesson 28

Syncopated Strumming

There are eight more strum patterns for you to dig into in this lesson. This time, they are a bit trickier. Follow along with the rhythm charts and take each example in chunks if needed. Combine them with...

Length: 19:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
And Now...Barre Chords!Lesson 29

And Now...Barre Chords!

You knew it was coming! This is the lesson where we stop dancing around full fingered moveable chords and dive head first into the most common barre chord shapes. They're not as bad as you may be fearing....

Length: 19:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Advancing with BluesLesson 30

Advancing with Blues

As the musical examples continue to distance themselves from that stereotypical beginner sound, Dave works through this track with a simple, moving melody inside a blues progression.

Length: 14:47 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Make It up as You GoLesson 31

Make It up as You Go

Some of you may have been waiting for this one! Now we'll focus on some improvisation...Some lead playing. It's not about knowing all the scales or trying to be fancy. It is about using what you know...

Length: 12:45 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Like a DrummerLesson 32

Like a Drummer

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Length: 17:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
New Chords, New StrumsLesson 33

New Chords, New Strums

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A Start to Alternate PickingLesson 34

A Start to Alternate Picking

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Length: 20:26 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Little BluegrassLesson 35

A Little Bluegrass

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Length: 10:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
A Bit More on Barre ChordsLesson 36

A Bit More on Barre Chords

Learn a few more barre chord forms and get more advanced with your strumming. As you've come to know and love with these lessons, you'll have a chance to learn a new song!

Length: 13:51 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Here You AreLesson 37

Here You Are

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Length: 21:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
David Isaacs

About David Isaacs View Full Biography Nashville-based Dave Isaacs has made a name for himself as one of Music City's top guitar instructors, working with both professional and aspiring songwriters and artists at his Music Row teaching studio. He is also an instructor in the music department at Tennessee State University and is the coordinator and artistic director of the annual TSU Guitar Summit.

A seasoned performer as well, Dave has released eight independent CDs and gigs steadily as a solo artist, bandleader, and sideman. He continues to write, record, and perform as well as arranging and producing projects for other artists.

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