Cmaj7 Chord on Guitar: How To Play the C Major Seventh chord

C maj7 position 1 guitar chord diagram

The intervals of this chord are Root, Major Third, Perfect Fifth, and Major Seventh

The C Major Seventh chord is spelled in the following ways:

  • C Major Seventh
  • C Major 7
  • Cmaj7

The notes of the Cmaj7 chord are C, E, G, and B

Learn how to read chord diagrams here

Notes that compose the C maj7 chord:

C E G B

Chord structure of the Major Seventh chord:

1
b2
2
b3
3
4
b5
5
#5
6
b7
7

Want to master chords theory? Learn more with our chords construction tutorial

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord Shapes

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Position 1
Open

C maj7 position 1 guitar chord diagram

Position 2
Barre Movable

C maj7 position 2 guitar chord diagram

Position 3
Movable

C maj7 position 3 guitar chord diagram

Position 4
Movable

C maj7 position 4 guitar chord diagram

Position 5
Movable

C maj7 position 5 guitar chord diagram

Position 6
Open

C maj7 position 6 guitar chord diagram

Position 7
Open

C maj7 position 7 guitar chord diagram

Position 8
Open

C maj7 position 8 guitar chord diagram

Position 9
Movable

C maj7 position 9 guitar chord diagram

Position 10
Open

C maj7 position 10 guitar chord diagram

Position 11
Open

C maj7 position 11 guitar chord diagram

Position 12
Barre Movable

C maj7 position 12 guitar chord diagram

Position 13
Barre Movable

C maj7 position 13 guitar chord diagram

Position 14
Barre Movable

C maj7 position 14 guitar chord diagram

Position 15
Open

C maj7 position 15 guitar chord diagram

Position 16
Movable

C maj7 position 16 guitar chord diagram

Position 17
Movable

C maj7 position 17 guitar chord diagram

Position 18
Movable

C maj7 position 18 guitar chord diagram

Chord tones in te C maj7 chord

You can create any fingering you like on any part of the fretboard, just play some of the chord tones shown in the map below. Some shapes will sound good, some less, let your ears decide!

3
7
5
3
1
3
7
5
1
5
7
3
1
5
7
3
7
1
5
1
3
7
1
5
3
7
5
3

Cmaj7 Chord Tutorial

Before we check out different chord positions for Cmaj7 let’s get an idea of how the chord is built and used.

The notes for the C major scale are C-D-E-F-G-A-B and a major chord is made up of the root, major third, and perfect fifth. Which means a C major chord is made up of the notes C-E-G. We have already discussed chords like E7 that are known as dominant sevenths, Cmaj7 is a major seventh chord . The root, major third, perfect fifth, and major seventh is simply C-E-G-B. The major seventh is used across the board in pop, rock, soul, funk , and of course commonly in jazz. Dominant sevenths are often used to create tension before resolution, major sevenths are more like a little flavor in the chord progression (they give out a smoother feel than the dominant sevenths).

C major scale:

C D E F G A B

C maj7 structure:

1
b2
2
b3
3
4
b5
5
#5
6
b7
7

Songs With Cmaj7 Chord

  • Imagine - John Lennon: to show how mild of a change a major seventh chord can bring we have the song “Imagine” by John Lennon . This song uses a Cmaj7 in the verse between a C and F chord, it helps create the light flowing feel of the song. If you play C-C7-F it gives it more tension and a rock and blues, feel. If we play the C-Cmaj7-F we get a song with a much different and more relaxed feel
  • Under the Bridge: another two well-known songs using major sevenths are “ Under the Bridge ” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • It’s too Late ” by Carole King
  • Cmaj7 can also be found in the pop and jazz standard “Fly Me to the Moon” and in Al Green’s love ballad “Let’s Stay Together.”

How To Use The Cmaj7 Chord

The best time to play the maj7 are on the one and four chords . So in the key of C we would use Cmaj7 and Fmaj7 in our chord progression. Another key where the Cmaj7 would sound nice is the Key G. If you are into jazz, funk, pop standards, or fusion this is a chord you will see pop up often. It is a chord you will see over and over again in some of the most popular and enduring songs.

Cmaj7 Chord Fingerings

Cmaj7 chord tones on the fretboard

The Cmaj7 tones on the guitar fretboard ( click to zoom )

Using the tones above we can come up with some of the more popular versions of how to play the Cmaj7 chord. Usually, when we play a chord we want the root note (here C) to be the lowest played bass note. Sometimes we will find a chord shape where that isn’t the case, which means the chord is an inversion. If the lowest note is B, E, or G instead of the C that is an inversion.

The most common and first learned open position for Cmaj7 is X32000 . Another easy but bass heavy open position is 332000 .

C major 7th guitar chord 332000 fingeringC major 7th guitar chord 332000 fingering

C major seventh 332000 fingering ( click to zoom )

C major 7th guitar chord shapeC major seventh guitar chord X35500 fingering

We can move up to the third position and play it as X35500 ( click to zoom )

There are a few common but difficult positions that take some practice to master like the common jazz voicing of 8X99XX , along with X3545X and XX10987

C major 7th guitar chord shapeC major 7th chord shape 8x99xx

C major seventh 8X99XX fingering ( click to zoom )

C major 7th guitar chord shapeC maj7 guitar chord shape x3545x

C maj7 guitar chord X3545X pattern  ( click to zoom )

C major 7th guitar chord shapeC maj7 guitar chord

C major 7th XX10987 chord shape ( click to zoom )

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