Major 7th Chords (Guitar Lesson)

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Brendan Burns

Major 7th Chords

Brendan adds to his jazz chord voicings series with a discussion of major 7th chords.

Taught by Brendan Burns in Jazz Guitar with Brendan Burns seriesLength: 24:32Difficulty: 2.0 of 5


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Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Sandy GSandy G replied

In the first voicing where the 5th of the A Major 7 is in the lead , , the underlying chord is made up of C# G# A and E and is an A Major 7 , or can be thought of as an F# minor 9 with no root . In the second voicing , where we substitute the 9 , the chord is made up of C#, G# B and E , this is a C# minor 7. Adding the low A string, we can get an A Major 9

mcaron00mcaron00 replied

I find that techniques like this one tend to sink in better with me if I grab one chord, or one series of chords, and just play every variation while focusing my attention elsewhere, like watching the news. My guess is that not obsessing over it allows me to make it more automatic later on. Who knows? Maybe this could be of some help.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied

Yeah, I used to work on these listening to talk radio or baseball games, etc. It reminds me of working-out while listening to music or watching TV while running on a treadmill. There is a physical component to this that is much slower than the intellectual... your fingers need to see it much more than your head does. As a bonus, try playing these when you are away from the guitar: writing them down on a piece of paper, and imagining them in your head. And with all of these, make sure you spend some time LISTENING to the chords. Be curious about the sounds. Bend the voicings, add notes, subtract notes, play wrong notes.... feel all the different possibilites.

oliviernoliviern replied

OK - this is crazy: I get it, what I'm learning in this lesson set is going to be a step change for me. But it is litterally giving me headaches! I'm posting this to take a break after only 30 minutes of trying to apply this through the chord changes of "All the things you are" - that I selected because there are many changes. I have improved my knowledge of the fretboard in the past months (still a lot of room for improvement though), but the hardest thing is to instantly think "this lead note is the 3rd of this chord which gives me this grip..." on and on! A very humbling experience...

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied

It is! It's humbling, frustrating and very difficult. Keep going with it. Take your time, really understand what's happening and slowly it will start to come together. Give yourself between 6 weeks and 3 months to judge/calibrate your progress. What you are learning in this experience is not just for one song, it's global. Take breaks when you need it and attack it when it's necessary. Keep it going!

oliviernoliviern replied

Thanks! It's a good perspective: my goal is going to be comfortable with this by the end of the year, and take advantage of having some vacation to take around Xmas time to boost my music hours and comp over some Jazz tunes with Band in a Box!

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied

Awesome! Keep rocking it!

Jazz Guitar with Brendan Burns

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Brendan Burns breaks down jazz styling and chord voicings for lead ideas and comping.



Dominant 7th ChordsLesson 1

Dominant 7th Chords

Brendan Burns discusses drop two voicings. Then, he explains how to explain dominant seventh voicings on strings 4, 3, 2, and 1.

Length: 24:11 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Minor 7th ChordsLesson 2

Minor 7th Chords

Brendan Burns discusses the minor 7th chord voicings on strings 4, 3, 2, and 1. To form a minor seventh chord, simply flat the third of its dominant seventh counterpart.

Length: 15:07 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major 7th ChordsLesson 3

Major 7th Chords

Brendan adds to his jazz chord voicings series with a discussion of major 7th chords.

Length: 24:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Minor 7th Flat 5 ChordsLesson 4

Minor 7th Flat 5 Chords

In the final installment of his Jazz Chord Voicings series, Brendan discusses and demonstrates the minor 7 flat 5 chord voicings.

Length: 12:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Brendan Burns

About Brendan Burns View Full Biography Brendan has been passionate about music since childhood. He began his studies on trumpet, in elementary school, and then moved to guitar as a teenager. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music, and has studied with Norm Zocher, Joe Stump, Bret Willmott, Bob Pilkington, Jay Weik, Tim Miller, & Charlie Banacos.

While at Berklee, Brendan was a member of the Music Mentoring Program, teaching private lessons to gifted high school students. He is currently teaches, and is chair of the guitar department at Brookline Music School. Brendan also teaches guitar for Tune Foolery & privately at his home in Cambridge, MA.

Along with educating, Brendan plays out often as a Solo Guitarist, performing standards, pop, and classical repertoire. He has recorded and played with the chamber-fusion band Ra Quintent, and as well as Vessela Stoyanova's Eastern Stories Under Western Skies Project. Brendan also performs as a leader, director and sideman for various Boston art-rock projects, and is former member of MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika.

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