How to play

How to play the Cmaj7#5 chord on guitar

Unlock the magic of songs like "Wonderwall" and "Blackbird" with this unique chord.

The Cmaj7#5 chord

The Cmaj7#5 chord, pronounced "C major seven sharp five", is a unique and captivating variation of the standard C major seventh chord. Notable for its mysterious and slightly unsettling sound, this chord is formed by raising the fifth note of the Cmaj7 chord by a semitone. The Cmaj7#5 is often used in jazz, fusion, and contemporary music to add harmonic intrigue and tension.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Cmaj7#5 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Cmaj7#5 chord

The Cmaj7#5 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 3rd fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a Cmaj7#5 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 3rd fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd (B) string.

To strum this chord, use a downward motion starting from the 6th (low E) string, making sure all notes ring out clearly.

How to play an easy Cmaj7#5 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Cmaj7#5 chord, try playing an open C chord (0-3-2-0-1-0) and adding your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd (B) string. This gives you a Cmaj7 chord, which has a similar bright, jazzy sound without the complexity of a barre chord.

How to play a Cmaj7#5 bar chord

Playing the barre chord version of Cmaj7#5 can be a great way to add a bright, jazzy sound to your guitar playing. It's also a good way to build finger strength and dexterity.

Here's how to play a Cmaj7#5 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 8th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 10th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common Cmaj7#5 chord progressions

The Cmaj7#5 chord adds a dreamy, ethereal quality to progressions, often evoking feelings of wonder, transcendence, or a bittersweet mix of joy and melancholy. Some common chord progressions featuring Cmaj7#5 include:

  • I - Imaj7#5 - vi - V7 (C - Cmaj7#5 - Am - G7)
  • Imaj7#5 - ii7 - V7 - I (Cmaj7#5 - Dm7 - G7 - C)
  • vi - Imaj7#5 - IV - V (Am - Cmaj7#5 - F - G)
  • Imaj7#5 - bVII7 - vi7 - V7 (Cmaj7#5 - Bb7 - Am7 - G7)
  • ii7 - V7 - Imaj7#5 - vi (Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7#5 - Am)

Drills to master the Cmaj7#5 chord

To master the Cmaj7#5 guitar chord, start by practicing the chord progression C - Cmaj7#5 - C. This will help your fingers adapt to the new chord shape and build muscle memory. Focus on smooth transitions between the chords.

Another effective drill is to arpeggiate the Cmaj7#5 chord, playing each note individually in ascending and descending order: C, E, G#, B, G#, E, C. This exercise will improve your dexterity and help you memorize the notes within the chord.

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Songs that feature the Cmaj7#5 chord

Here are 3 popular songs you can play with the Cmaj7#5 chord.

  1. Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny (Cmaj7#5, Fm)
  2. Just the Two of Us by Grover Washington Jr. (Cmaj7#5, Dm7, G7, Em7)
  3. Lazy Bird by John Coltrane (Cmaj7#5, Dbm7, Dm7, Ebm7, Fm7, Abm7, Am7, Bm7)

How a guitar teacher can help

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