How to play

How to play the C#maj13 chord on guitar

Spice up your playing with this jazzy chord, as heard in "Wonderwall" and "Blackbird."

The C#maj13 chord

The C#maj13 chord, pronounced "C sharp major thirteenth," is a rich and complex guitar chord that adds a sophisticated flavor to your playing. Notable for its use in jazz, R&B, and funk music, the C#maj13 incorporates the 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th notes of the C# major scale, creating a lush, harmonically intricate sound that can elevate your chord progressions and compositions.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C#maj13 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C#maj13 chord

The C#maj13 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 9th fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a C#maj13 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 9th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 10th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 11th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 11th fret of the 4th (D) string.

Strum all six strings together in a downward motion to play the C#maj13 chord.

How to play an easy C#maj13 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C#maj13 chord, try playing a basic C# major chord instead. Place your index finger on the 4th fret of the 5th string, middle finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd string, and ring finger on the 6th fret of the 2nd string. Strum the top five strings.

How to play a C#maj13 bar chord

The C#maj13 chord is typically played in an open voicing, but playing it as a barre chord can make it easier to transition to and from other chords in a song. It also produces a fuller, more resonant sound.

Here's how to play a C#maj13 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 4th fret, covering all six strings (barre).
  2. Place your middle finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 6th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common C#maj13 chord progressions

The C#maj13 chord adds a dreamy, jazzy feel to progressions, creating a sense of sophistication and emotional depth. Some common chord progressions featuring C#maj13 include:

  • I - vi - ii - V (C#maj13 - A#m7 - D#m7 - G#7)
  • ii - V - I (D#m7 - G#7 - C#maj13)
  • I - iii - vi - ii - V - I (C#maj13 - E#m7 - A#m7 - D#m7 - G#7 - C#maj13)
  • I - VI - II - V (C#maj13 - A#7 - D#7 - G#7) Used in "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder
  • iii - VI - ii - V (E#m7 - A#7 - D#m7 - G#7)

Drills to master the C#maj13 chord

To master the C#maj13 chord, start by practicing the chord shape itself. Focus on cleanly fretting each note and switching between C#maj13 and other chords you know. Strum the chord repeatedly, ensuring each note rings out clearly.

Next, try playing arpeggios using the notes of the C#maj13 chord. Pick each note individually in ascending and descending order: C#, E#, G#, B#, D#, A#. This drill helps you memorize the chord tones and improves your dexterity. Mix up the order of the notes for an added challenge.

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Songs that feature the C#maj13 chord

Here are 3 popular songs you can play with the C#maj13 chord:

  1. Let's Groove by Earth, Wind & Fire (C#maj13, G#m7, C#m7, F#13sus4, F#7sus4, F#7)
  2. This Masquerade by George Benson (C#maj13, F#m7, A#m7, D#7, G#7, G#m7, C#7)
  3. Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon (C#maj13, F#m7, A#m7, D#7, G#7, C#7, F#7)

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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