Learn To Play The C Maj7 Guitar Chord

Using 7th chords in your music will make you play more expressively. 7th chords are used in many genres such as pop, funk, and jazz. The c maj7 guitar chord in particular has a beautiful and distinct sound. It is made up of the notes CEGB. In lead sheet music, it might be notated as C Maj 7 , CM7, C△7. 

In this article we include chord charts with detailed explanations, music theory deep dives, and even chord progressions so you understand all you need to know about c maj7 guitar chord and how to use it in your music. 

c maj7 guitar chord

C Maj 7 Chord Theory

We all need to know some music theory to understand how music really works. Don’t let the word theory scare you, it’s actually quite simple!

  • The notes that make up a C Maj 7 chord are CEGB
  • A seventh chord is a chord made of the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of a scale.
  • A C major 7 chord is made from the root, Maj 3rd, Perfect 5th, and Major 7th of the C Maj scale.
  • A Maj 7th is 11 half steps above the root note, or one half step below the root note.
  • The 5th can be (and is sometimes) omitted from the 7th chord.
  • C Maj 7 chord can be displayed in various different ways: C Maj 7 , CM7, C△7
  • It doesn’t matter where you play this chord, as long as you hit the CEGB you are playing the right chord.
  • Every chord voicing will have its own unique sound and color, so listen closely to choose which one you want to put into your songs.

Related: Guitar Chords: Basics, Theory, & Mastery

How To Play The C Maj7 Guitar Chord

Most of us are comfortable with the notes at the top of the fretboard, the open position chords are typically the easiest to play. Characteristics of open chords are a low deep sound and many open strings.

Method 1 – Open

C Maj7 open chord

Most of us are comfortable with the notes at the top of the fretboard, the open position chords are typically the easiest to play. Characteristics of open chords are a low deep sound and many open strings.

  • Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th string (E)
  • Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th string ( C )
  • Strum 🙂

C Maj7 Barre Chord

Barre chords require a bit of finger strength, and for that reason are avoided by many, but once learned can be very rewarding for guitarists, as the tone and color of these barre chords are unique and expressive.

Method 2 – Barre Chord

C Maj 7 barre chord
  • Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the 5th string and barre. (C and G)
  • Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd string. (B)
  • Place your 3rd finger on the 5th fret of the 4th string. (G)
  • Place your 4th finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd string. (E)

Barre Chords Bonus Tip!

Having trouble with your barre chords? Believe me, you’re not alone. The difficulty that comes with barre chords is often caused by gripping the neck too hard.

Remember that It should never hurt to play the guitar. Many new guitarists avoid barre chords altogether because of their difficulty, but the solution is easier than you might think…

  • Place your index finger on all the strings on the 1st fret. Tuck your other fingers back so you don’t rely on them to produce sound.
  • Without pressing your finger down, strum the guitar. The strings should sound muted.
  • Slowly increase the pressure of your index finger and strum between every addition of effort.

The purpose of this small exercise is to experience just how much effort you really need to produce sound on the guitar. You will find that not much is actually required.

  • Using the minimal amount of effort, continue to barre every fret up the neck without the help of your other fingers. Every time you strum, you should hear each note ring clearly. 
  • Do this exercise anytime you are having trouble playing a barre chord.

Alternative Ways To Play The C Maj7 Chord

Here are some other ways to play C Maj 7 that you may have not heard yet!

Method 3

c Maj 7 shell voicing
  • Place your index finger on the 8th fret of the 6th string. ( c )
  • Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 4th string. (B)
  • Place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the 5th string. (G)

Method 4

Everybody likes power chords… right?

C Maj 7 power chord
  • Place your index finger on the 8th fret of the 6th string. ( C )
  • Place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the 5th string. (G)
  • Place your pinky on the 10th fret of the 4th string. ©
  • Strum all 6 strings.

Method 5

WARNING! EXTREMELY DIFFICULT! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

C Maj 7 easy
  • Place your index finger on the 10th fret of the 4th string. ( C )

Related: How To Read Guitar Chord Charts

What Songs Use CMaj 7

Listen for the C Maj 7th chord in these songs!

Fell On Black Days – Soundgarden

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra

Drive – Incubus

How Does It Feel – Citizen

How To Play Other Major 7 Chords

Want to learn more about a specific Maj7 chord? Click on any of the links below to see their respective article. If you’re hungry for a broader understanding of 7th chords, click here.

LetterDedicated Article
AA Maj7
BB Maj7
CC Maj7
DD Maj7
EE Maj7
FF Maj7
GG Maj7

Frequently Asked Questions

What notes are in C major 7 guitar chord?

The notes in a C Major 7 guitar chord are C E G B.

What is the difference between C 7 and Cmaj7?

The difference is in the quality of the chord. C7 is also called a dominant 7 or a major minor 7th chord. It is made of the notes C E G Bb. The difference is that a dominant 7 is made from a major triad and a minor 7th, whereas C Major 7 is a major triad and a major 7th, making the notes C E G B. C Major 7 would be used in the key of C Major, but because Bb is not in the key signature, you could not use C7 instead.

What chords work with Cmaj7

A ii-V7-I progression in C Major would be Dm7-G7-CMaj7.

FMaj7 works great with C Maj 7. In fact, movement by 4th is very common in blues music.

Related: Learn Guitar Chords F Maj 7

Conclusion

Adding 7ths to your standard triads really makes a difference in terms of expression and emotion. That is why 7th chords are so commonly used in genres such as jazz, funk, and pop.

Learning your C Maj7 chords is a great way to get started, as it has such a lovely sound. The C Maj 7 chord is made of the notes CEGB. You might see it notated as C Maj 7 , CM7, C△7. 

In this article we went over 5 chord charts, music theory explanations, and even a chord progression so you can get to playing your favorite songs with C Maj 7.

Scroll to Top