9 major chords

The Major 9th (maj9) chord should not be confused with the dominant 9th chord. If we compare Cmaj9 with C9 we could see that the notes changes from C, D, E, B to C, D, E, Bb. It's a relatively uncommon chord, which is probably most used in jazz arrangements. Below you could see this chord played in different tones with a movable shape.

maj9 (moveable shape)


  • Cmaj9 chord diagram X3243X


  • Dmaj9 chord diagram X5465X


  • Emaj9 chord diagram


  • Fmaj9 chord diagram X8798X


  • Gmaj9 chord diagram


  • Amaj9 chord diagram


  • Bmaj9 chord diagram


Notice that the chord has some similarities with the 7#9 chord, just two fingers are changing positions.

Since some of the chords above are high up the fretboard and in some situations less suitable, some compliment to maj9 chords in open positions are presented below.

Major 9th with flats and sharps

Additional chords in this category, with the same shapes as seen in diagrams above:

C sharp / D flat maj9: X4354X
D sharp / E flat maj9: X6576X
F sharp / G flat maj9: X 9 8 10 9 x
G sharp / A flat maj9: X 11 10 12 11 X
A sharp / B flat maj9: X1021X

Major 9th chords with bass note on 6th string

A movable chord shape with root note on the sixth string and the third note omitted:

Maj 9th chord moveable

Some example with short notation:

Cmaj9: 8X978X
Bmaj9: 7X867X
Amaj9: 5X645X

Major 9th chords with alternative shape

Another possible movable chord shape with root note on the fifth string:

Maj 9th chord moveable

Notice that this is based on the X30000 Cmaj9 shape. Some example with short notation:

Dmaj9: X52222
Emaj9: X74444
Fmaj9: X85555


The only diatonic major 9th chord can be found on the IV degree in a major scale. In C major, this would be Fmaj9 whereas Gmaj9 would be a non-diatonic chord because of the F# note.

Chord formula

The major ninth is built with the formula 1-3-5-7-9 (root, major 3rd, perfect 5th, major 7th and major 9th).

Chord construction

Cmaj9  x -C - E - B - D - x
Dmaj9 x -D - F# - C# - E - x
Emaj9  x -E - G# - D# - F# - x
Fmaj9  x - F - A - E - G - x
Gmaj9  x - G - B - F# - A - x
Amaj9  x - A - C# - G# - B - x
Bmaj9  x - B - D# - A# - C# - x
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

Cmaj9  C - E - G - B - D
Dmaj9  D - F# - A - C# - E
Emaj9  E - G# - B - D# - F#
Fmaj9  F - A - C - E - G
Gmaj9  G - B - D - F# - A
Amaj9  A - C# - E - G# - B
Bmaj9  B - D# - F# - A# - C#
The intervals are 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 9


Suggestions of chord sequences to try with this chord type:

Dm9 - G13 - Cmaj9

Cmaj9 - C#dim7 - Dm7 - G11

Em - Dmaj9 - Asus2 - Cadd9

Major 9th chords work as I and IV, but not as V chords (atonal). So, for example, in C major key, Cmaj9 and Fmaj9 are viable (diatonic) options.

Open major 9 chords


  • Amaj9 chord diagram X02100


  • Gmaj9 chord diagram


  • Dmaj9 chord diagram XX0220


  • Emaj9 chord diagram


  • Fmaj9 chord diagram


  • Bbmaj9 chord diagram


Notice that Fmaj9 has a shape the copies C major in open position but on a higher fret. An alternative version for Emaj9 is 021102.

An inverted open version of Cmaj9 (Cmaj9/E) is possible as 020010.


More examples of progressions including major 9th in open positions:

C - Fmaj9 - G6

D - Dmaj9 - G - Gmaj9

Major 9th chord inversions

A major 9th chord is possible to play in numerous configurations including four inversions (it's also common to combine inversions with omitting notes for this chord type).

C9 can be used as an example:

  • C - E - G - B - D (root position)
  • E - G - B - C - D (1st inversion)
  • G - B - C - D - E (2nd inversion)
  • B - C - D - E - G (3rd inversion)
  • D - E - G - B - C (4th inversion)

To indicate that a chord is played inverted it is written as slash sign before the bass note. For example, the first inversion of the Cmaj9 chord is written Cmaj9/E. Some examples follow below in short notation:

Cmaj9/E: 032430
Cmaj9/G: 320010
Cmaj9/B: X20010
Dmaj9/F#: 200220
Dmaj9/A: X00979
Dmaj9/C#: X44230
Emaj9/A: X02142
Emaj9/B: X24140
Fmaj9/G: 302011
Fmaj9/A: X03010
Fmaj9/C: X33055
Gmaj9/A: X05432
Gmaj9/E: 000002
Gmaj9/F#: 200002
Amaj9/E: 042105
Amaj9/G#: 402420
Bmaj9/C#: X41302
Bmaj9/E: 02132X
Bmaj9/F#: 24130X

For more chord diagrams, see The Chord Reference ebook.

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