Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

Welcome to our lesson on the Cmaj7 guitar chord. This is the place to be if you want to learn the best versions of the Cmaj7 guitar chord.

In this free guitar lesson you will learn:

  • 5 essential ways to play the Cmaj7 guitar chord.
  • 3 quick and easy chord drills which will turbo-charge your guitar playing. 
  • 5 secret guitar hacks which will easily turn your chords into music. 

What is a Cmaj7 guitar chord?

The Cmaj7 guitar chord is one of the coolest chords in the music world. It’s heard in all kinds of music from jazz, blues and modern pop. If you’ve listened to guitarists such as John Mayer, George Benson or even B.B King you’ve definitely heard this chord.

What does the Cmaj7 guitar chord sound like?

The Cmaj7 guitar chord is from the major chord family and has a dreamy and relaxing feel to it. This chord is perfect for creating a calm and breezy mood in any music that you’re playing or writing. 
.
Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

What type of Cmaj7 chords are there?

The main types of Cmaj7 guitar chord are:

  • Open Cmaj7 guitar chord. 
  • Cmaj7 guitar chord (E shape).
  • Cmaj7 guitar chord (A shape). 
  • Cmaj7 guitar chord (D shape).
  • Cmaj7 guitar chord (G shape).

All of these chords are based on the CAGED guitar system. Don’t worry if you’re not sure on what this is, you can learn more about this cool guitar concept here: 

CAGED Guitar System – How To Master Guitar Chords

Although five versions of this chord may seem overkill, each of these chords have a different feel and vibe. This is so important to know when playing guitar as it allows you to use the correct chord for the appropriate musical situation. 

How To Play Guitar Chords – 3 Essential Tips

Before we dive into learning one of the coolest chords out there, it’s important that you know how to play guitar chords. To help you out, we’re going to show you 3 essential tips that will make your chords sound amazing. Let’s dive in! 

Tip #1 – Allow your thumb and wrist to move freely

When playing guitar, lots of beginners will keep their thumb and wrist static in one place. Although this is good practice in the beginning this can often restrict you later on. Different types of chords require different types of wrist movement. This is all totally dependant on what chord you’re playing, don’t be afraid to let your thumb and wrist move!

However, one thing you definitely don’t want to do is let your thumb slip off the neck. This is a big no when playing chords as you lose all the strength behind the guitar chord. 

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

Tip #2 – Use Your Fingertips

When playing guitar chords SO many people get this wrong. It is so important that you use your finger tips. Try and fret as close to your fingernail as possible, this will stop the fleshy part of your finger from touching the other parts of the strings. If this happens your chords will sound clunky and muted, this isn’t what we want. When playing chords we want them to ring out clearly. 

Tip #3 – Stand Your Fingers Up Tall

When playing guitar chords, make sure that your fingers are standing up as tall as possible. Ideally, you want your fingers to be as straight as possible to allow the other strings to ring out clearly. 
.
Cmaj7 Guitar Chord
.
In the next section of this lesson, I’m going to show you each Cmaj7 guitar chord and how to use it in a musical situation. Let’s dive in! 

Open Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

This is one of my favourite versions of the Cmaj7 guitar chord, it’s also the easiest! To play this chord all you need is two fingers. Here’s how to play it:

  • Place your 1st finger on fret 2 of the D string (4th string).
  • Place your 2nd finger on fret 3 of the A string (5th string). 
  • Strum from the A string (5th string).

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

When might you use this chord?

This chord sounds really dreamy and open. There are a number of different ways that you can use this chord. Let’s take a look:

  • You can use this chord in place of a regular C major chord.

Often, a lot of people find the regular C major guitar chord quite difficult. This Cmaj7 guitar chords as a great alternative. Most of the time, it actually sounds better than the regular C! This technique works for any of the Cmaj7 guitar chords that you’ll learn in this lesson. 

If you’d like to learn the full C guitar chord click here

  • Use this voicing as an open chord voicing if you’re a singer-songwriter.

As this chord sounds open and rich, it works wonderfully for singer-songwriters as supports the vocal and  creates a relaxed fresh feel in your music. 

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord (Root on E string)

Once you’ve learned the open Cmaj7 guitar chord, this version is the next logical step. It uses a lot more fingers and is more challenging but is also a great chord to add to your vocabulary. Let’s learn it.

To play this chord: 

  • Place your 1st finger on fret 8 of the low E string (6th string).
  • Place your 3rd finger on fret 9 of the D string (4th string).
  • Place your 4th finger on fret 9 of the G string (3rd string).
  • Place your 2nd finger on fret 8 of the B string (2nd string).
  • Strum from the low E string (6th string).

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

Top Secret Tip

When you play this chord, make sure that you mute the A string with your 1st finger. All you need to do with this finger is rest it on the A string so it doesn’t ring out. If you don’t do this, you’ll get a few odd notes which will clash with the rest of the chord.

When might you use this chord?

This chord tends to work well in a number of musical situations. Here are a few of our favourite ways to use this chord:

  • Use this chord if you’re the only guitarist in the band.

As this chord has a deep sound to it, it works wonderfully as a supporting chord. This works fantastically if you’re the only guitarist as it will fill out the sound of the arrangement. Here a list of typical musical situations where you could use this chord:

  • With a singer as a duo.
  • As part of a trio lineup. (Bass, guitar and drums.)
  • With other instruments such as Saxophones, Strings or Brass. 

Theory Time!

When looking at these types of chords it’s useful to learn about the theory behind the chord. This chord is a bit unusual as it contains 4 different notes in it. Most major chords usually contain 3. The intervals and notes of a major 7 chord are as follows:

  • Root – C.
  • Major 3rd – E.
  • Perfect 5th – G.
  • Major 7th – B.

If you want to learn more about guitar theory click here 

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord (Root on A string)

Here’s another cool version of the Cmaj7 guitar chord. This chord has more of a mid-range character to it. Here’s how to play it:

  • Place your 1st finger on fret 3 and barre the A (5th string) and E string (6th string). 
  • Place your 3rd finger on fret 5 of the D string (4th string). 
  • Place your 2nd finger on fret 4 of the G string (3rd string).
  • Place your 4th finger on fret 5 of the B string (2nd string).
  • Strum from the A string (5th string).

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

This chord can be tricky as it uses barring technique. If you don’t know how to barre chords, check out this lesson.

Barre Chords – The Ultimate Guide

When can you use this chord?

As this chord is very similar to the Cmaj7 guitar chord with the root on the E string, you can use this chord in similar musical situations. However, as this chord has more top end you could also use it as the primary guitar part in a band with a second guitarist.

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord (Root On D String)

This version of the Cmaj7 guitar chord is a fantastic one to have under your belt. As this chord is placed on the top 4 strings of the guitar it has a brighter sound. Here’s how to play it:

  • Place your 1st finger on fret 10 of the D string (4th string).
  • Barre your 3rd over fret 12 on the G (3rd string), B (2nd string) and E (1st string).
  • Strum from the D string. (4th string.)

The barring in this chord can be challenging but once you get over the hump it becomes much easier.

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

When can you use this chord?

As this chord has a higher sound than the previous chords that we’ve learned. This allows us to apply it to a variety of musical situations. Here are some of the best ways to practically use this chord:

  • Use this chord as a secondary voicing if there’s another guitar player in the band.

This chord works beautifully supporting another guitarist who is playing the same chord in the band. For example, one guitar could be playing an open Cmaj7 guitar chord whilst you could be playing a Cmaj7 guitar chord with a D string root. This works because you’re playing the same notes in a different voicing. Because the two chords are in different areas of the guitar they work fantastically together and produce a wider sound.

  • Use this chord when you have other instruments in the band such as Woodwind, Piano and Brass.

Because this chord sounds brighter, it often works beautifully with other types of instrumentation. 

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord (Root On G String)

Just like our Cmaj7 guitar chord (root on D), the Cmaj7 guitar chord root on G string also has a lovely top end. This voicing can be used in a variety of different musical situations and sits perfectly in a band mix. Let’s learn how to play this essential chord:

  • Barre your 1st finger over the 5th fret on the D (4th string), G (3rd string), B (2nd string) and E (1st string.) 
  • Place your 3rd finger on fret 7 of the E string (1st string.)
  • Strum from the D string. (4th string.)

Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

When can I play this chord? 

You can use this in a lot of the same situations as the Cmaj7 guitar chord with the root on the D string due to its higher voicing, because of this it tends to work best as a secondary guitar part. However, you would tend not to use this chord if you were the only guitarist in the band. 

You will often see jazz guitarists use this chord, if you’d like to learn more about how you could use this in a jazz setting click the lesson below.

Jazz Guitar Lessons – National Guitar Academy

3 Essential Chord Drills For The Cmaj7 Guitar Chord

Now you’ve learned how to play the Cmaj7 guitar chord, let’s take a look at some chord drills which will help you cement this chord into your vocabulary. 

The Countdown Drill

This is a great drill for any guitarist who wants to get a new chord under their belt. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Spend 5 minutes getting the chord that you have just learned comfortable. This means making sure that your fingers are in the right places and that all of the strings are ringing out clearly. 
  2. Once you have done this, set a timer for 20 seconds and see if you can play the chord before the timer finishes.
  3. Do the same for 15 seconds.
  4. Then for 10.
  5. Then 8.
  6. Then 5. 
  7. Then 4.
  8. Then 3.
  9. Then 2.
  10. Once you get to 1 second, hover over the strings and form the shape of the chord. Then once you set the timer, quickly press down on the chord. You may need a friend to help you with this! 

If you find all of this too easy, add in extra challenges such as holding your hands behind your back, sitting on your hands, putting your hands on your head and putting the guitar on the floor. Even though this sounds silly it can add an extra dimension to your practice session and can be a lot of fun!

3…2…1…Go!

The next drill also uses a stopwatch and can be a great way of drilling in new guitar chords. The idea here is that you want to try and play the chord as quickly as possible. 

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Get a friend to manage the stopwatch. 
  2. Get them to press ‘go’ whenever you’re ready.
  3. Attempt to play the chord as quickly as you can! 

As well as doing this, it’s worth keeping a record of what your time is so you can see how fast you are improving. As well as this, you must make sure that you are fretting the chord correctly as there’s no point practicing something that isn’t right. 

The Chord Change Drill

The whole point of learning individual chords is to learn how to play them in songs and in music. However, a lot of the chords that you learn have a special relationship with other chords. Here are 5 of the best chord changes which work with the Cmaj7 guitar chord. 

  • G6 – Cmaj7 x10.
  • Cmaj7 – Am7 x10.
  • Em – Cmaj7 x10.
  • Cmaj7 – Dsus2 x10.
  • Cmaj7 – Fmaj7 x10. 

Practice these on repeat and try and get your fingers to move quickly between each chord. 

To learn more of these changes check out this guitar chord drill work sheet

Enter your email address to learn our best guitar tips and tricks today!