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> Theory Quick Tip - Maj7 Chords
The Professor
post Oct 12 2013, 10:37 AM
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In today's theory quick tip we'll be looking at an easy way that you can view maj7 chords on paper and on the fretboard.

Rather than thinking of Maj7 chords as four notes, such as C E G B for Cmaj7 (R-3-5-7), you can think of these chords as two different triads.

When doing so you can picture a C triad from the root of the chord, C E G, then an Em triad from the 3rd of the chord, E G B, which when combined give you the full, Cmaj7 chord shape.

This is particularly helpful when learning how to play and apply maj7 chords on the guitar, as you actually don't have to learn anything new in order to sound a maj7 shape on the neck.

You can simply play a minor triad from the 3rd of the maj7 chord you want to play, and voila, you have a maj7 chord, as the bass player holds down the root and completes the 4-note shape.

Playing a minor triad from the 3rd of a maj7 chord, or moving between a tonic triad and minor triad from the third, such as C and Em over Cmaj7, is a great way to break down a complex chord, use previous knowledge (triads) and quickly play these shapes on the fretboard without having to learn anything new.


What do you think about breaking maj7 chords down into triads on the guitar? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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bryant
post Oct 13 2013, 06:17 PM
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Would this make any sense? Say your at an open jam session and you are one of two guitarists learning to play a new song but the other guy is a real beginner and doesn't any more than 3 or 4 chords and doesn't know really want to take the time to learn:

The song contains a Gmaj7 all over the place. Can you one guitarist simply play a G chord while the other plays a Bm chord at precisely the same time throughout the song?

This post has been edited by bryant: Oct 13 2013, 06:19 PM
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The Professor
post Oct 13 2013, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE (bryant @ Oct 13 2013, 06:17 PM) *
Would this make any sense? Say your at an open jam session and you are one of two guitarists learning to play a new song but the other guy is a real beginner and doesn't any more than 3 or 4 chords and doesn't know really want to take the time to learn:

The song contains a Gmaj7 all over the place. Can you one guitarist simply play a G chord while the other plays a Bm chord at precisely the same time throughout the song?



Hey, yeah that would make total sense. If he just knew G and you could play Bm for them, combined that would produce a Gmaj7 chord. Try it out, see what you think.


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PosterBoy
post Oct 14 2013, 11:49 AM
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This takes me back to when I started playing guitar and couldn't do barre chords, an Amaj7 was my C#m biggrin.gif


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The Professor
post Oct 14 2013, 01:06 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Oct 14 2013, 11:49 AM) *
This takes me back to when I started playing guitar and couldn't do barre chords, an Amaj7 was my C#m biggrin.gif


For sure. Sometimes learning a bit of theory like this can help us use simple ideas, like minor chords, to outline more complex concepts, like maj7 chords. Always fun learning this type of thing I think.


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klasaine
post Oct 14 2013, 03:34 PM
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QUOTE (bryant @ Oct 13 2013, 10:17 AM) *
The song contains a Gmaj7 all over the place. Can you one guitarist simply play a G chord while the other plays a Bm chord at precisely the same time throughout the song?


That's actually a great 'arranging' trick ... even in bands where all the guys or gals can play the more complicated chords.
Think AC/DC. Mal and Angus never play the same voicings.

I play in a band where we spread one chord out over two guitars and the bass.
It's a simple progression, just A - E - F - Gmaj7. We want the Gmaj7 (actually it's a Gmaj13) to 'open up' at that point. The best way to do it was to spread it across the whole band.
Bass plays a low G.
I play a Bm7.
Second guitarist (lead singer) plays a G6 like this X55430. *I also have him play an simple Fmaj9 on the F chord: XX3010

You can sort fake all three parts on one axe like this ...
A - X02200 (A2)
E - 022400 (E5)
F - 133010 (F2)
Gmaj13 - 3X4230

This post has been edited by klasaine: Oct 14 2013, 03:35 PM


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