Major Seventh Chords (Maj7) - Drop 2, Drop 3 and Drop 2 & 4 Voicings with Guitar Diagrams

What are major seventh chords ?

Major seventh chords consist of a root (1), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and a major seventh (7). They are built by stacking thirds (major and minor). Jazz harmony is (traditionally) founded on chords constructed in thirds. Let's take a C major seventh chord. It is made up of C, E, G and B. You can notice that the interval between the first two notes is a major third. The interval between the second (E) and third note (G) is a minor third. And to finish the interval between G and B is a major third. This is how a major seventh chord is built. 

The other way to build major 7 chords is to take the first (1), the third (3), the perfect fifth (5) and the major seventh (7) of the major scale. For example. The major scale formula is: root (1), second (2), major third (3), fourth (4), fifth (5), sixth (6) and seventh (7). You just have to take the first, the third, the fifth and the seventh of any major scale and you will get a major seventh chord.

As it is shown below you can see that the C major 7 chord has an additional note (the seventh) in comparison with the basic major chord.

C major scale  C D E F G A B
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) 7
C major chord C X E X G X X
C major seventh chord C X E X G X B

  

Abbreviated chord symbols

There are several different ways of writing the same chord or scale sound. It is often complicated for a jazz student to become familiar with all the nomenclatures for writing chords. The most used symbols for major seventh chords (example in C) are CM7, C∆ and maj7. 

Drop 2 major seventh chords

What are drop 2 chords ?

Drop 2 chords are the most popular chord voicings used in jazz guitar and are very important devices for comping or building chord melodies. They are built by dropping the second highest note of a four-notes close chord to the bass. Major seventh close chord formula is 1-3-5-7 that gives the following drop 2 chord formula 5-1-3-7.

What is an inverted chord ?

The root of an inverted chord is not in the bass. In other words, it means that the notes of a chord are inverted. As you can see in the guitar diagrams above, there can be a third, a fifth or a seventh in the bass. Here are the four drop 2 major seventh chord voicings (The term "voicings" refers to the order of notes in a chord).

Drop 2 root position  R 5 7 3
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 7 R 5
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 R 3 7
3rd inversion (seventh in the bass) 7 3 5 R

 

Drop 2 chords on the whole guitar neck

The three diagrams below include all the drop 2 chords and inversions in connection with the previous chart. The first schematic representation includes drop 2 chords built from the E-string. The chords in the second are built from the A-string and the third one includes chords built from the D-string. Each voicing is represented by a color, demonstrating at the same time the relationship between the four major seventh chord positions on the whole guitar neck.

Drop 2 major seventh chords lowest note on 4th string

Drop 2 major seventh chords lowest note on 5th string

Drop 2 major seventh chords lowest note on 6th string

Drop 2 Major 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 6th string

Root position # 1

Major seventh guitar chord root 6 1 1

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 6 2 1

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 6 3 2

 

3rd inversion (Seventh in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 6 4 1

 

Drop 2 Major 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 5th string

Root position # 2

Major seventh guitar chord root 6

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 5 2

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 5 3

3rd inversion (Seventh in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 5 4

Drop 2 Major 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 4th string

Root position # 3

Major seventh guitar chord root 4

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 4 2

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 4 3

3rd inversion (Seventh in the bass)

Major seventh guitar chord root 4 4

Drop 3 major seventh chords

What are drop 3 chords ?

Drop 3 voicings are named thusly because the 3rd note in a closed position chord has been “dropped". In other words, the 3rd highest note in a closed position chord is lowered by an octave. Notice that each drop 3 chord has a string skip between the lowest two notes.

Drop 3 major seventh voicings.

Drop 3 root position  R 7 3 5
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 R 5 7
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 3 7 R
3rd inversion (seventh in the bass) 7 5 R 3

 

Drop 3 chords - Whole guitar neck

That's what the four drop 3 chords look like on the guitar neck.

Drop 3 major seventh chords lowest note on 5th string 

Drop 3 major seventh chords lowest note on 6th string

Drop 3 Major 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 6th string

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 6th string - Root in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 6 1

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 6th string - Third in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 2 1

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 6th string - Fifth in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 7

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 6th string - Seventh in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord

Drop 3 Major 7 chords | Root position and inversions | Bass on 5th string

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 5th string - Root in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 8

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 5th string - Third in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 3 1

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 5th string - Fifth in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 4 1

Drop 3 major 7th chord - Bass on 5th string - Seventh in the bass

Drop 3 major 7 guitar chord 5 1

Drop 2 & 4 Major Seventh Chords

What Are Drop 2-4 Voicings

Drop 2 & 4 chords are built by moving the second and fourth note of a close position an octave down. Thus giving a new voicing R-3-5-7 which will serve as a basis for three other voicings (inversions).

Drop 2 and 4 chords

Drop 2 & 4 Maj7 Voicings

Root Position R 5 3 7
1st inversion 3 7 5 R
2nd inversion 5 R 7 3
3rd inversion 7 3 R 5

 

Drop 2 & 4 Maj7 Guitar Shapes 

 

Drop 2 and 4 major 7 guitar voicings

 

Drop 2 and 4 maj7 guitar chords

  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This downloadable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • 25 pentatonic licks

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 20 II-V-I jazz guitar licks

    This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines with tabs and audio files both in major and minor keys
  • 5 Jazz blues arpeggio studies

    A printable PDF eBook with tabs and standard notation containing five jazz blues guitar studies. Learn how to use arpeggios over a jazz blues progression.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    Jazz guitar comping. How to play II-V-I chord progressions on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with analysis, tabs & standard notation.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • Mastering the altered scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis and scale charts.
  • 25 soul jazz guitar licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks with tabs and standard notation in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson.These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 dominant diminished licks

    This eBook PDF contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 25 minor jazz guitar licks

    This printable PDF eBook contains 25 minor jazz guitar licks with tabs, video links, analysis. How to play modes, scales & arpeggios over minor chords.
  • 5 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 5 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links and backing track links. Printable PDF eBook

Last edited: 14/09/2018