Get­tingstart­ed­with…ma­jor 7th­chords

Fol­low­ing on from last month’s chord les­son, in this is­sue we’re look­ing at the re­laxed, mel­low sound of the ma­jor 7 chord

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

“Are ‘maj7’ chords such as Cmaj7 the same as ‘7’ chords like C7? I’ve seen both kinds in some songs I’m try­ing to learn.”

De­spite their sim­i­lar names, these two chords have very dif­fer­ent sounds. We looked at ‘7’ chords last month – hope­fully, you re­mem­ber how they sound tense and edgy, and are well suited to blues or any song that needs a bit of bite. Maj7 (aka ma­jor 7 or ma­jor 7th) chords have a much more re­laxed sound, ideal for mel­low bal­lads or smooth jazz.

“Got it. Can you give me some ex­am­ples so I can take a lis­ten?”

Sure! The verse in Marvin Gaye’s What’sgo­ing On be­gins on an Emaj7 chord un­der the ‘Mother mother’ line. Some­thing by The Bea­tles is a good one to lis­ten to – its verse be­gins with C, Cmaj7 and C7 chords, so you can com­pare the sounds of all three.

“Oh, that’s great! So how do I get started?”

We’ve writ­ten out some chord boxes for you on the right. It might seem like there are lots of chords to learn on the gui­tar, but this month’s shapes are just as easy to play as any ba­sic ma­jor and mi­nor chord. Jump in and try them.

“Re­mind me what all the dots mean…”

The dots tell you where to put your fin­gers on the fret­board. The num­bers tell you which of your four fin­gers to use. Black dots are root notes, eg, a C note in a Cmaj7 chord or D note in a Dmaj7 chord; all the other notes are red. Fi­nally, an O de­notes an ‘open’ un-fret­ted string and X means the string stays silent.

“Some of these are quite easy to play.”

That’s right! Lots of gui­tar chords have com­pli­cated names but are easy to play. It re­minds you not to worry when you see a chord name you don’t un­der­stand.

“What’s my next step?”

Take a look at the two short tab riffs at the bot­tom of the page. The first is an arpeg­gio. This means you play one note at a time in­stead of strum­ming the whole chord. It’s a good way to check for ac­cu­rate fret­ting. Fol­low that with the strummed chord in our sec­ond ex­am­ple.

whaty­ouwi ll­lear n The dis­tinc­tive sound of ma­jor 7th chords A se­lec­tion of open-chord shapes An arpeg­gio and a strum­ming pat­tern

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