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, (png 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
Intervals 1 3 5 6


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?

Major 6 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 C major 6 (CMaj6). This can be useful for chord melody arrangements.

A minor seventh C E G  
C major 6   C E G A


Major 6 chord and relative minor


Chord Symbols and Notation

Major 6 chords can be written maj6, M6 or simply 6.

Drop 2 Chord Shapes

Maj6 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 Maj6 Chords on Guitar?

The three diagrams below show how to play Drop 2 major 6 chords on guitar :

  • The root position (R 5 6 3) is represented in black.
  • The first inversion (3 6 R 5) is the blue shape. 
  • The second inversion (5 R 3 6) is the red form.
  • The third inversion (6 3 5 R) is in green.

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)
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Last edited: 05/11/2020

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