Learn 6 Ways to Play F Major 7 | Chord by Chord


Welcome to the latest installment of Chord by Chord, a series designed to build your understanding of harmony and the fretboard. In the last lesson, we went over the Emaj7 chord, and this time we’ll go over Fmaj7.

The Work

Remember that a major seventh chord is built from a major triad with a seventh on top. Example 1 shows the notes in an F major triad (F A C) and Example 2 shows an Fmaj7 chord (F A C E).

To get to Fmaj7 from an F chord on the top four strings, see Example 3a—all you need to do is play the open high E string (the seventh) instead of the first-fret F. In Example 3b, wrap your thumb around the neck to add the root (F) on the sixth string. Still in first position, Example 3c gives a jazzier alternative without the open E.

Example 4 demonstrates how to transform F to Fmaj7 in third position, and Example 5 does the same with eighth-position barre chords. Remember that these are moveable shapes, meaning that you can play them anywhere on the fretboard—for example, shift them up one fret for F#/F#maj7, two frets for G/Gmaj7, etc. End with a couple of voicings in tenth position, where the fifth (C) is the lowest note.

The Result

You should now know a variety of ways to make Fmaj7 on the fretboard. One song that makes use of this chord is Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” specifically the chorus. Next time, we’ll start revisiting some basic chord progressions.  

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