How To Play Major Chords on Guitar

Welcome to your quick and easy online guide to playing major chords on jazz guitar.

Free lessonsI have selected the most practical and useful chord voicings and collated them into my free eBook, #1 Jazz Guitar Chord Chart. What you see below is a section of this eBook so feel free to download the whole thing for reference. Other jazz guitar websites methodically go through each and every possible chord shape. In the real world, many of those shapes aren’t practical to play so I decided to focus on the most colorful, useful and widely used chord shapes. If you can think of any good ones I missed feel free to comment below.

I highly recommend you check out my lesson – ‘How To Solo On Major Chords’ to learn how to improvise over these chords.

Thanks for stopping by, let’s get to the chords! A white circle is the chords root note (bass note). Easily move this shape up or down the fretboard, just center the white circle on your root note. Numbers indicate what finger to use.

Major 7 Chords

Major 7 chords have 4 notes: the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th. My favorite voicings often utilise that semi-tone (half step) crunch between the root and 7th. Let’s check them out:

image chord maj

Major 6 Chords

These chords are more old school – there is no nasty (or beautiful) clash between the 6th and root. Maj 6 formula: R, 3, 5, 6.

major chord

Major 9 Chords

These chords are like major 7 but they also have a very colorful 9th note added. Very cool. R, 3, 5, 7, 9.

major chords

Major 69 Chords

This is the big brother of the Maj6 chord – it has an added 9th. IMPORTANT: these chords don’t have a 7th in them so are therefore more open and less crunchy. A cool sound to explore. R, 3, 5, 6, 9

major chords

Major 7 #11 Chords

Now we are getting to the good stuff. These chords have #4 or #11 (same thing). You play these guys with the lydian scale. Very hip chords. R, 3, 5, 7, #11

guitar chords major

Major 9 #11 Chords

The elder bro of the maj7 #11 chord – they just have a 9th. R, 3, 5, 7 , 9, #11

guitar chords major

The Modern Major Chord

A little secret weapon of my I would like to share with you:
major chords

Chord Formulas

Here is a handy pdf excerpt of the most common chord formulas so you can create any chord you want. This is a free PDF download, enjoy! [wpdm_file id=2]

Thanks for checking out this lesson, please feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions you may have.

~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com

Comments

  1. Meindert says

    Hi Sam,

    After 25 years (!) i picket up playing again. Bought me a start and a champ and by luck busted into your page. Life is much better now! Thanks, your lessons are just what I need. They are easy to follow and I enjoy the lessons a lot. Thank you for your effort and web site.

    Best regards,

    Meindert

    • pickupjazzadmin says

      Hi Meindert,

      Thanks a lot, I’m glad you find them helpful! I’m close to releasing a whole new revamped site with plenty of new lessons. Keep an eye out!

      Best,
      Sam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *