The C Major Seventh chord is a well loved and much used chord in many styles of music.
Because it is very easy to play in the open position on guitar, many beginner-guitarists can enjoy the warmth and wealth of this romantic sounding chord.
This chord is very common in jazz and related styles, like R&B, soul, neo-soul. You will also find it in many pop songs.
The most common voicings on guitar are known as the drop 2, drop 3 and drop 2-4 voicings. There are several closed seventh chord voicings which are playable on guitar, although some voicings require large and agile hands because of the wide fingerings necessary. Also check out and enjoy these unusual voicings.
The Cmaj7 arpeggio has a pleasing sound and is extremely useable in a variety of contexts. The most obvious way to use the arpeggio is on a Cmaj7 chord, but another very useful application is to use the arpeggio on an Am7 chord.
Common scales to use on the Cmaj7 chord:
- C major scale (C ionian mode)
- G major scale (C lydian mode)
- C major pentatonic
- although you'll be missing the 7th interval
- Em pentatonic
- Very effective sound; no root note 'C', but it gives you the major 7th, the 9th and the 13th intervals, which results in a more jazzy sound. Try mixing it with the Cmaj7 arpeggio and the C major pentatonic scale.
- Bm pentatonic
- No root and no 5th but it has the 7th, 9th, 3rd, #11, and 13th intervals. Very jazzy.
Practice everything you learn by jamming along with these Cmaj7 backing tracks and Am7 backing tracks.