The chord diagram say that 5th string shouldnt be played while playing CMaj7 on E string. But, I couldnt help but notice that in an online lecture I have been following, all 6 strings are strummed for CMaj7. I am finding it hard to understand why 5th string is being played. Note ‘A’ is not part of the chord. CMaj7 with root on 5th string makes sense, all strings except 6th string should be played. Kindly help, how can I strum while playing CMaj7 with root on the 6th?

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  • Sorry, but this is written in a confusing way. Do you mean an E shaped chord barred on fret 8? You wouldn't play an open A there anyway. Or, an A shaped chord on fret 3 - where the bottom string can be played, either open or on fret 3. Is a string being muted? Please show a pic. of that chord.
    – Tim
    Apr 8, 2020 at 6:39
  • Sorry for the confusion, Tim. I can play strings D, G, B and E, since 1st String E has the root of chord on the higher octave. While strumming, I could avoid playing top two strings. Would that be correct?
    – jyotirmaya
    Apr 8, 2020 at 7:06
  • The "x" means that the string is not played. Apr 8, 2020 at 7:12
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    @piiperiReinstateMonica I see. Thanks for the pointer. This definitely gave me an insight. I will try it on guitar!
    – jyotirmaya
    Apr 8, 2020 at 7:29
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    I've found the easiest way to play Cmaj7 is a normal C shape ( 3rd finger on A string, 3rd fret, 2nd finger on D 2nd fret) and leave the B string open for the maj7. Sounds nice and pretty easy to get your fingers around (easier than a C !). This doesn't answer your question, but might help if you're getting through a tune and this is a sticking point. Apr 8, 2020 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


I think the confusion came when you saw someone strum all six strings. That is what they did. What they didn't was press all six strings down hard enough to sound. They muted any string with a 'X' shown. In fact, this chord window is only one option. There is actually no need to not include that string, pressed on fret 10.which makes fingering a little fussy.

Bit of a duff lesson if muting wasn't mentioned !


This is a very poor voicing, the tonic high C on the 1st string creates a dissonant minor 9th interval with the major 7th B on the 4th string, a major no-no for a major 7th chord. The best way to play this particular chord is to not play the 1st string by muting it with the first finger.The first finger can mute the 5th string as well.

If you really want to play a note on the 1st string then diagonally bar to the 1st string 7th fret with your first finger. Then you will be doubling the major 7th B an octave higher. The 5th string should still be muted though.

  • Good point, should have mentioned that the top string sounding a tonic note makes the voicing naff! Another mute (or, an alternative mute!) is far better. And why should that 5th string be muted? Grade IV of an exam board I use says it does get played (but not top string). What gives all these sites so much undeserved credence?
    – Tim
    Apr 8, 2020 at 7:42

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