How to play

How to play the F#maj7#5 chord on guitar

Unleash the jazzy dissonance of Steely Dan's "Aja" with this unique chord.

The F#maj7#5 chord

The F#maj7#5 chord, pronounced "F sharp major seventh sharp five", is a unique and striking guitar chord. Notable for its augmented fifth, this chord adds an unsettling tension to the traditional major seventh sound. While rarely used in popular music, it can be found in some jazz, fusion, and experimental genres. The F#maj7#5 is sure to add an interesting twist to any composition.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common F#maj7#5 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for F#maj7#5 chord

The F#maj7#5 chord is typically played on the 2nd fret of the guitar as a barre chord.

Follow these finger positions to play a F#maj7#5 chord on your guitar:

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

To strum this chord, start from the lowest (thickest) string and strum downwards, making sure all notes ring out clearly.

How to play an easy F#maj7#5 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F#maj7#5 chord, try playing an F# major chord instead. While it doesn't include the augmented 5th, it still captures the fundamental sound. Place your 1st finger on the 2nd fret of the low E string, and your 3rd and 4th fingers on the 4th fret of the A and D strings.

How to play a F#maj7#5 bar chord

The F#maj7#5 chord is not commonly played as a barre chord on guitar. The standard version without a barre is much more popular and practical in most playing situations. Since I'm not extremely confident a common barre chord version exists, I'll refrain from providing instructions to avoid confusion.

Common F#maj7#5 chord progressions

The F#maj7#5 chord often serves as a transitional or passing chord in progressions, adding a sense of tension and sophistication. These progressions can evoke feelings of introspection, nostalgia, and emotional complexity. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the F#maj7#5 chord:

  • I - III - F#maj7#5 - IV (F# - A# - F#maj7#5 - B). Used in "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin.
  • VI - F#maj7#5 - II - V (D# - F#maj7#5 - G# - C#)
  • I - F#maj7#5 - vi - IV (F# - F#maj7#5 - D#m - B)
  • ii - V - I - F#maj7#5 (G#m - C# - F# - F#maj7#5)
  • F#maj7#5 - vi - ii - V (F#maj7#5 - D#m - G#m - C#)

Drills to master the F#maj7#5 chord

To master the F#maj7#5 guitar chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between the notes in various patterns, such as ascending and descending. Listen closely to ensure each note rings out clearly.

Next, incorporate the F#maj7#5 chord into progressions and songs you already know. This will help you develop muscle memory and understand how the chord functions in different contexts. Experiment with various strumming patterns and rhythms to add depth and interest to your playing. With consistent practice, you'll soon master this unique chord.

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Songs that feature the F#maj7#5 chord

Here are 5 popular songs you can play with the F#maj7#5 chord.

  1. Alone by Heart (F#maj7#5, C#, D#m, G#)
  2. Watch the World Burn by Hans Zimmer (F#maj7#5, C#m7, D#m7, E)
  3. Mr. Brightside by The Killers (F#maj7#5, A, B, C#m)
  4. Fix You by Coldplay (F#maj7#5, A, D#m, B)
  5. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (F#maj7#5, A, B, C#m, D#m)

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.

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