Songwriting Lesson: Use Major 7th Chords

For this article a tip on how you can use major 7th chords in your songs.

Major 7th chords are triads with an extra note thrown in which give the chord a different colour. The major 7th sounds a bit dreamy and open. They are great chords for resolving into another chord.

Let us have a look at the following example of how you can use a major 7th to great effect in a very simple two chord sequence:

          Gmaj7             C

    E —-2———–0—————-


    G —4————5—————–

    D —5————5—————–

    A ———————————–

    E ———————————– 

The notes in Gmaj7 are G,B, D and F#.  The F# is the maj 7th of the chord.

The notes in a C chord are C,E and G.

In the given example the F# is the maj7th of the G chord. It can be found on the high E string. The note falls down to the open E of the C chord.
The D of the G chord is on the B string and this note moves up the  E of the C chord on the 5th fret of the B string. The B of the G chord, found on the 4th fret on the G string moves up to the C on the 5th fret of the G string. Notice how the Root of the G chord, found on the 5th fret of the D string of this chord shape, remains the same when the G move to the C chord.

You can be creative with your chordshapes. Look at the next example what I use for my C chord.  I Kept the G maj7 the same as in the previous example.


     E —–0————–

     B —–1————–

     G —–0————–

     D- —-2—————-

     A ———————

    E ———————- 

The effect of the different chordshape for the C chord is now that three notes have moved down instead of up, use both versions of the C chord to hear the difference in sound between the two of them. Keep the G maj 7 the same all the way throughout.
The low E on the C chord, which is the 2nd fret on the D string is very noticable, it gives the chord a low boost.

Experiment for yourself using maj7th chords and try to resolve the chord to another chord which is close to the maj.7th you played before to get the best effect out of the chord.

Hope to catch you soon again.