6th Chords (6) Aka Major 6 - Guitar Diagrams and Voicings

What Are 6th Chords?

Sixth chords (or major sixth chords) are built with four notes, they consist of root (1), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and major sixth (6).

How Are Built 6 Chords?

Sixth chords are built by adding the sixth note of a 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 C6 chord you just have to add the sixth of C which is A.

C major 6 C E G A
Intervals 1 3 5 6


Notice that sixth chords are labelled 6 or maj6. Example with C6 or Cmaj6 or CM6.

Here are two basic major sixth guitar chord shapes in C. These positions are movable, meaning that you can play them anywhere on the guitar neck.

Basic major sixth chords on guitar

What's The Relative Minor?

Sixth chords contain the same notes as their relative minor seventh chords. The relative minor is exactly 3 semitones below. For example, A minor seventh (Am7) is the relative minor of C6 . This can be useful for chord melody arrangements.

A minor seventh C E G  
C6   C E G A


Major 6 chord and relative minor

Drop 2 Chord Shapes

Sixth chords are built by lowering the 7th of any major 7 chord position. The following guitar diagrams are based on drop 2 major 7th chord voicing shapes. The 7th is lowered by 2 semitones thus giving 4 voicings.

Root position  R 5 6 3
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


What is a Drop 2 Chord?

Drop 2 chords are built by dropping the second highest note of a four-note chord in close position to the lowest note of the chord. These chords are the most easy to play because all the notes on the guitar neck are close together. There is no string skip.

How to Play Sixth Chords on Guitar?

The three diagrams below show how to play Drop 2 sixth chords on guitar :

  • The root position (R 5 6 3) is represented in red
  • The first inversion (3 6 R 5) is the blue shape. 
  • The second inversion (5 R 3 6) is the green shape.
  • The third inversion (6 3 5 R) is in orange.
Sixth chords guitar charts 1
Sixth chords guitar charts 2
Sixth chords guitar charts 3

Drop 3 Chord Shapes

Drop 3 chords are built by taking the third note from the top of a four-note chord in closed position and putting it to the bass. Four new voicings arise from this, here they are :

  • R 6 3 5 (root voicing)
  • 3 R 5 6 (first inversion)
  • 5 3 6 R (2nd inversion)
  • 6 5 R 3 (3rd inversion)
Sixth chords guitar charts 6
Sixth chords guitar charts 7
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Last edited: 2023-05-21

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