Major 13th chords

The Major 13th chord is most common in jazz and can function as a substitution chord to, for example, major 7th and major 9th.

maj13

Cmaj13

  • Cmaj13 chord diagram

Dmaj13

  • Dmaj13 chord diagram

Emaj13

  • Emaj13 chord diagram

Fmaj13

  • Fmaj13 chord diagram

Gmaj13

  • Gmaj13 chord diagram

Amaj13

  • Amaj13 chord diagram

Bmaj13

  • Bmaj13 chord diagram

Comment

The shape presented is movable and is all you need to remember. There are, of course, other versions as well, which can be seen below.

Major 13th with flats and sharps

Additional chords in this category:

C sharp / D flat maj13: 9 X 10 10 11 X
D sharp / E flat maj13: 11 X 12 12 13 X
F sharp / G flat maj13: 2X334X
G sharp / A flat maj13: 4X556X
A sharp / B flat maj13: 6X778X

Chord formula

The 13th chord is built with the formula 1-3-5-7-9-(11)-13 (root, major 3rd, perfect 5th, major 7th, major 9th, perfect 11th and major 13th). The 11th is mentioned in the formula, but is usually excluded.

Chord construction

Cmaj13  C -x - B - E - A - x
Dmaj13 D -x - C# - F# - B - x
Emaj13  E -x - D# - G# - C# - x
Fmaj13  F -x - E - A - D - x
Gmaj13  G -x - F# - B - E - x
Amaj13  A -x - G# - C# - F# - x
Bmaj13  B -x - A# - D# - G# - x
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

Cmaj13  C - E - G - B - D - A
Dmaj13  D - F# - A - C# - E - B
Emaj13  E - G# - B - D# - F# - A
Fmaj13  F - A - C - E - G - B
Gmaj13  G - B - D - F# - A - C
Amaj13  A - C# - E - G# - B - D
Bmaj13  B - D# - F# - A# - C# - E
The intervals are 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 9 - 13

Comment

It is possible to include the first strings as well, by bar the two highest strings by the little finger. Notice the similarity with the 13 dominant chord shape.

Chord progressions

Progressions including this chord type:

Dm7 - G9 - Cmaj13

Am7 - Fmaj9 - Cmaj13

A11 - Cmaj9 - Gmaj13

D6/9 - C6/9 - Gmaj13

Major 13th chords work as I and IV, but not as V chords (atonal). So, for example, in C major key, Cmaj13 and Fmaj13 are viable (diatonic) options.

Major 13th chord in open position

Here are additional shapes in open position for this chord category:

Cmaj13: X30200
Dmaj13: XX0411
Emaj13: 001120
Fmaj13: 100010
Gmaj13: 304430
Amaj13: 506670
Bmaj13: X21304

Alternative chord shape

It is handy to have a second shape to use when the situation calls for it.


Major 13th with the root on 5th string:

maj13 chord shape

An easier shape for major 13th with the root on the 5th string is X35455 (Cmaj13), similar to one of the major 7th shapes. A third way is X3X455 (Cmaj13), with the 5th omitted as well.

Back to chord types

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