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Guitar lesson: learn major guitar chords

(Image credit: Future)

Guitar skills: These extended chords are based on a major 7th chord. For example, a C chord contains C, E and G notes. These are the first, third and fifth notes of the C major scale (C D E F G A B). Add the seventh note (B) to make a Cmaj7 chord. Maj9, maj11 and maj13 chords simply add their respective notes to maj7 chord (D is the 9th, F is the 11th and A is the 13th).

You know them from: 

• Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On
• Bread - Make It With You
• Smashing Pumpkins - 1979

When to use them:

1. For a chilled out sound
Major 7th chords have a pretty, relaxed sound. Try playing a simple progression such as C to F, then change the chords to Cmaj7 and Fmaj7 to hear the difference.

2. For a chilled out sound
Major 7th chords have a pretty, relaxed sound. Try playing a simple progression such as C to F, then change the chords to Cmaj7 and Fmaj7 to hear the difference.

Learning major chords

These chords are built from the notes of their respective major scales, so, for example, Cmaj7 (C E G B) uses notes from the C major scale (C D E F G A B); Amaj9 (A C# E G# B) takes notes from the A major scale (A B C# D E F# G#).

(Image credit: Future)

Exercise 1: Mmm, Nice! 

(Image credit: Future)

Make the second string melody clear by emphasising the string with each pick stroke. Notice the relaxed maj7 and maj9 chords and the richer add11 sound.

Exercise 2: Shuffle Groove Chords 

(Image credit: Future)

This folky acoustic line uses open strings to create ‘clusters’ of notes for a piano-like effect. Try adding in a few sus2 or sus4 chords for a similar vibe.

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