How to Play the Fmaj7 Guitar Chord
Brimming with bottled aggression, learn to play the Fmaj7.
By Dillon Wallace
The F major seventh chord (often written as Fmaj7) balances the feeling of a quick temper with controlled calmness. Like it’s fellow F and F# major chord counterparts, Fmaj7 is a surmounting chord that borders complacence with bottled-up aggression. If you look at the chord shape of the Fmaj7, it closely resembles the C chord. As a result, the Fmaj7 chord is commonly found in songs alongside the C chord. Let’s take a look at how to play the Fmaj7 chord.
Playing the Fmaj7 Chord
The easiest - and most commonly used - version of the Fmaj7 chord is perfect for beginners. This popular chord is used in a lot of songs and is one of the most basic and beneficial tools to have in your chord arsenal.
From a sonic perspective, the Fmaj7 exhibits a sense of calmness laid over the top of a readiness to explode. The Fmaj7 delicately walks the line between composure and fury with each emotion keeping the other in check.
To play the Fmaj7, start by placing your index on the first fret of the B string. Next, place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. Finally, place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the D string.
When strumming the Fmaj7, keep your high E string open and do not play the low E and A strings. Go ahead and give it a try!
Fmaj7 1st Position
- - Index finger: 1st fret of the B (2nd) string
- - Middle finger: 2nd fret of the G (3rd) string
- - Ring finger: 3rd fret of the D (4th) string
Strum four strings down from the D string.
What Notes Make Up the Fmaj7 Chord?
The Fmaj7 is a chord constructed with a root, a major third, a perfect fifth and a major seventh - which gives this chord its name. The notes that make up the Fmaj7 chord are:
F, A, C and E
These notes combine with each other in a way that gives the Fmaj7 chord that pent-up sound meets “ticking time bomb” feeling.
Songs That Use the Fmaj7 Chord
The Fmaj7 chord is used to provide tension in songs that span a multitude of genres, ranging from pop to folk. Here are a few songs to test out your strumming skills and practice playing this chord:
The Fmaj7 chord helps give “Cherish“ by the Association its warm melody and mounting progression. Mix in some timely background bell tones and you’ve got a classic slow jam. Although The Association made this song popular, it’s been covered by pop icon David Cassidy and the incomparable Nina Simone.
The Fmaj7 chord can elicit the feeling of a pot ready to boil over - that sound is evident in the explosively catchy dance track, “Tongue Tied” by GroupLove. Huge drums, a hookable dance beat and a melody that’s sure to get stuck in your head make this a Fmaj7 track worthy of learning.
From those first beautiful piano notes, “Clocks” sets the tone for the grace and balance of the Fmaj7 chord. Delicately teetering between composure in the verses and building to a crescendo in the chorus, Coldplay captures a spectrum of feeling while keeping the emotion in check until just the right moment.
One of their slower rock anthems, Rush’s “Closer to the Heart” weighs the notes and emotions of the Fmaj7 chord beautifully by starting off with a soft, acoustic soundscape. The song builds to heavy, crashing riffs that are complemented by Geddy Lee’s infamous driving bass lines.
The best Sunday morning breakfast song of all time? Quite possibly. “Easy” by the Commodores plays on the softer side of the Fmaj7 spectrum drawing listeners in with a beautiful piano-led ballad. For a searing electric guitar take on this classic, look to Faith No More’s cover that remains faithful to the original, but imprints it with the band’s signature musicianship.
Hear the angst behind Oasis front brother, Liam Gallagher’s aggressive vocals on the track “Live Forever” in unison with the clean and composed instrument arch? That’s what the Fmaj7 chord is all about. Listen. Play. And take notes.
Start slow, build some emotion, create tension and finish with resolve. The Fmaj7 chord is on full display in U2’s “One.” Everything from the lyrics to the guitar tones and percussion makes this a crash course track in Fmaj7 chord play.
“Ho Hey” by the Lumineers perfectly builds upon the Fmaj7 chord progression with a soft acoustic guitar opening before slowly snowballing the track’s layers with accompanying instruments and full band.
Practice the Fmaj7 chord and find new ways (and additional chords) to pair this easy-yet-emotive powerhouse with.