Major 7th chords

The major 7th chord (abbreviated maj7 in chord names) is a four-note chord, but due to the characteristics of the guitar the chords can involve four to six notes (in some cases with duplicated notes). The major 7th is not to be confused with the dominant 7th.

The chord is built by a root, a major third, a fifth and a major seventh. There are many ways to play these chords. Below you can see maj7 chords in open positions presented in pictures and by scrolling down further you could also see maj7 barre chords.

Open major 7th chords

There is a progression lesson involving this chord category with a backing track.

Major 7th chords with sharp or flat root

C#maj7 / Dbmaj7

  • C#maj7 chord diagram

D#maj7 / Ebmaj7

  • D#maj7 chord diagram X6878X

F#maj7 / Gbmaj7

  • F#maj7 chord diagram

G#maj7 / Abmaj7

  • G#maj7 chord diagram

A#maj7 / Bbmaj7

  • A#maj7 chord diagram


The dots indicate there your fingers should be placed. X means that the string shouldn't be played at all and the numbers indicate frets (0 means that the string should be played open).

Chord formula

The major seventh is built with the formula 1-3-5-7. This include the root (1), the third (3), the perfect fifth (5) and the major seventh (7).

Chord construction

Cmaj7  x - C - E - G - B - E
C#maj7  x - C# - G# - C - F - x
Dmaj7  x - x - D - A - C# - F#
D#maj7  x - D# - C - D - G - x
Emaj7  E - B - D# - G# - B - E
Fmaj7  x - x - F - A - C - E
F#maj7  x - x - F# - A# - C# - F
Gmaj7  G - x - D - G - B - F#
G#maj7  x - x - G# - C - D# - G
Amaj7  x - A - E - G# - C# - E
A#maj7  x - A# - F - A - D - x
Bmaj7  x - B - D# - A# - B - x
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

Cmaj7  C - E - G - B
C sharp maj7  C# - F - G# - C
Dmaj7  D - F# - A - C#
D sharp maj7  D# - G - A# - D
Emaj7  E - G# - B - D#
Fmaj7  F - A - C - E
F sharp maj7  F# - A# - C# - F
Gmaj7  G - B - D - F#
G sharp maj7  G# - C - D# - G
Amaj7  A - C# - E - G#
A sharp maj7  A# - D - F - A
Bmaj7  B - D# - F# - A#
The intervals are 1 – 3 – 5 – 7

A triangle in the chord name

"Major" can instead be represented by a small triangle (a delta symbol). In these cases, the chord name and the "7" has a tringle amid them (which often is in superscript).

C7 [C triangle 7] = Cmaj7

Chord progressions

Some suggestions of chord progressions including maj7 chords:

Bm7 - E7 - Amaj7

D - Dmaj7 - Em7 - F#m - G6 - A - Dmaj7

C - Cadd9 - Cmaj7 - Am

A - Amaj7 - Dmaj7 - Em11

D - Dmaj7 - G - Gmaj7


To look closer at this certain chord type we can take Cmaj7 as an example. Cmaj7 consists of four notes: C, E, G and B. Played as an open chord on the guitar it includes the following notes (from 5th to 1st string): C, B, G, B and E. The B note is duplicated, but not because it's the most important note, but because of the circumstance of the instrument and how it's tuned.

Movable barre shapes for major 7th chords

Emaj7 shape

  • maj7 bar chord diagram

Amaj7 shape

  • maj7 bar chord diagram


These two shapes can be used for all maj7 chords and the root note is the bass notes on the 6th and 5th strings respectively. The reason for the names "Emaj7 shape" and "Amaj7 shape" is that the shapes are based on Emaj7 and Amaj7 shapes in open position (see above). So, if you place the barre finger on the first fret and uses the Emaj7-shape, that makes you play Fmaj7.

A movable shape with bass note on the fourth string is, with Cmaj7 as an example, XX5557, (notice that this version is an inversion).

Movable "jazz shapes" for major 7th chords

maj7 (shape 1)

  • maj7 chord diagram

maj7 (shape 2)

  • maj7 chord diagram


The names of these shapes aren't officially "jazz shapes", but they are very common fingerings in jazz.

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