How to play

How to play the Cmaj7 chord on guitar

Unlock the dreamy sound heard in "Wonderwall" and "Stairway to Heaven".

The Cmaj7 chord

The Cmaj7 chord, pronounced C major seventh, is a versatile and harmonically rich guitar chord. It's constructed by adding a major seventh note to the standard C major triad, giving it a dreamy, sophisticated sound. Commonly used in jazz, neo-soul, and R&B, the Cmaj7 can be heard in songs like "Girl from Ipanema" and "What a Wonderful World," adding depth and complexity to the harmony.

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

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Finger placement for Cmaj7 chord

The most common way to play the Cmaj7 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 3rd fret.

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

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

To strum this chord, use a downward motion starting from the 5th (A) string and moving towards the 1st (high E) string, playing all the notes together to create the full sound of the Cmaj7 chord.

How to play an easy Cmaj7 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Cmaj7 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Leave the other strings open.
  4. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

How to play a Cmaj7 bar chord

Playing the Cmaj7 chord as a barre chord allows you to easily transition to other chords and play the chord in different positions on the fretboard.

Here's how to play a Cmaj7 barre chord:

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

Common Cmaj7 chord progressions

The Cmaj7 chord is often used in progressions to add a dreamy, ethereal, or slightly jazzy feel to a song. Some common chord progressions featuring Cmaj7 include:

  • I - Imaj7 - I7 - IV (C - Cmaj7 - C7 - F)
  • Imaj7 - IVmaj7 - Imaj7 - V7 (Cmaj7 - Fmaj7 - Cmaj7 - G7) Used in "The Girl from Ipanema"
  • Imaj7 - II7 - V7 - Imaj7 (Cmaj7 - D7 - G7 - Cmaj7)
  • Imaj7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 (Cmaj7 - A7 - D7 - G7)
  • Imaj7 - III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 - Imaj7 (Cmaj7 - E7 - A7 - D7 - G7 - Cmaj7)

Drills to master the Cmaj7 chord

To master the Cmaj7 chord, try playing the notes (C, E, G, and B) individually, focusing on each string's sound. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders, such as C-E-G-B, C-G-E-B, or C-B-E-G. This drill helps you memorize the chord's composition.

Another effective drill is to practice switching between Cmaj7 and other common chords like Am7, Dm7, or F. By doing so, you'll develop muscle memory and train your fingers to transition smoothly between different chord shapes, essential for playing songs fluently.

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Songs that feature the Cmaj7 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Cmaj7 chord:

  1. Hey Jude by The Beatles (C, G, F, Cmaj7, Am, D7)
  2. Let It Be by The Beatles (C, G, Am, F, C/B, Cmaj7)
  3. Imagine by John Lennon (C, Cmaj7, F)
  4. The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra (Cmaj7, Am7, Dm7, G7)
  5. All of Me by John Legend (Ab, Fm7, Dbmaj7, Bbm7, Eb9)
  6. Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel (Cmaj7, Am7, Dm7, G7)
  7. Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra (Am7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7)
  8. Piano Man by Billy Joel (C, F, C/G, Am, D7, G7)
  9. Your Song by Elton John (Cmaj7, Bm7, Am7, Dm7, G7)
  10. She's Always a Woman by Billy Joel (C, G/B, Am7, F, Dm7, G7, Em7, A7)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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