Major 6th Chords (Maj6) - Guitar Diagrams and Voicings
What are major 6th chords?
Major sixth chords are built with four notes. They consist of a root (1), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5) and major sixth (6). This means to add the sixth note of the major scale to a major triad. For example, a major triad is made up of three stacked notes, ( C,E and G). To get a C maj6 chord you just have to add the sixth of C which is A.
|C major 6||C||E||G||A|
What's the relative minor?
Major 6 chords contains the same notes as their relative minor seventh chords. The relative minor is exactly 3 semitones below. A minor seventh (Am7) is the relative minor of C major 6 (CMaj6).
|A minor seventh||A||C||E||G|
|C major 6||C||E||G||A|
Chord symbols and notations
Major 6 chords can be written M6 or simply 6. There are no differences between a CM6 and a C6 chord. Furthermore, it is important not to confuse with dominant 13th chords. These are dominant 7th chords with a 13th added. When a 6 is added to a tetrad chord (four notes), this one is considered as a 13th. The seventh converts the sixth as an extension.
|C major 13||C||E||G||B||A|
Drop 2 major sixth chords | Guitar diagrams and voicings
You can build maj6 chords by lowering the 7th of any major 7 chord position. The following guitar diagrams and voicings are based on the drop 2 major 7th chord shapes with the 7th lowered by 2 semitones. In other words, the 7th is replaced by the 6th.
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||3||6||R||5|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||R||3||6|
|3rd inversion (sixth in the bass)||6||3||5||R|
Drop 2 major sixth guitar shapes - Basses on 6th string
Root position - Major 6 chord - Root in the bass - Bass on 6th string
1st inversion - Major 6 chord - Third in the bass - Bass on 6th string
2nd inversion - Major 6 chord - Fifth in the bass - Bass on 6th string
3rd inversion - Major 6 chord - Sixth in the bass - Bass on 6th string
Drop 2 major sixth guitar shapes - Basses on 5th string
Root position - Major 6 chord - Root in the bass - Bass on 5th string
1st inversion - Major 6 chord - Third in the bass - Bass on 5th string
2nd inversion - Major 6 chord - Fifth in the bass - Bass on 5th string
3rd inversion - Major 6 chord - Sixth in the bass - Bass on 5th string
Drop 2 major sixth guitar shapes - Basses on 4th string
Root position - major 6 chord - Root in the bass - Bass on 4th string
1st inversion - Major 6 chord - Third in the bass - Bass on 4th string
2nd inversion - Major 6 chord - Fifth in the bass - Bass on 4th string
3rd inversion - Major 6 chord - Sixth in the bass - Bass on 4th string
An arpeggio is a chord whose notes are played on by one. Here are two shapes that will help you make the relation between major 6 chords and arpeggios. It is important to remember the location of the root in each shape. Then, try to play the chord and its related arpeggio.
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Last edited: 12/24/2018