Add9 chords

The add9 chord adds the ninth tone in the scale to a major chord and is a so-called added tone chord, more commonly referred to as a add chord. If we take the C major chord as an example, it consists of C, E and G. If we add a D we have a Cadd9 chord with the notes C, E, G and D.

You must separate this chord from the Dominant ninths, which are written as C9. The difference is that a dominant 9th is made by expanding a seventh chord with the ninth, as C, E, G, Bb and D forms a C9. In an add9 chord the seventh is missing and the ninth is added to a triad.



  • Cadd9 chord diagram X32030


  • Dadd9 chord diagram


  • Eadd9 chord diagram


  • Fadd9 chord diagram XX3213


  • Gadd9 chord diagram 320203


  • Aadd9 chord diagram X02420


  • Badd9 chord diagram


Fadd9 could be played as XX3015, which is more adequate regarding the order of notes and will also be distinguished from Fadd2, but it involves a big stretch. For an easier fingering, it's sensible to consider Gadd9 as 300003. The Aadd9 is most often also used as an Add2 chord, but if you want to distinguish by the note order, an option for Aadd9 is X07657 (the same shape as Fadd9).

Chord progressions

Add chords are often used as the I chord and IV chord in progressions, for instance:

Cadd9 - F - G

Am - Fadd9 - G

More progressions including add9:

G - C - Cadd9 - Em

D - Dadd9 - A - G

Other progressions, including several add chords:

Eadd9 - Dmaj7/A - Aadd9

Fadd9 - Dm7 - Fmaj7 - Dm (see tab)

tab chord progression

Movable shapes


  • Cadd9 chord diagram


  • Dadd9 chord diagram


  • Gadd9 chord diagram


  • Aadd9 chord diagram

These shapes are, for example, used in the famous song "Every Breath You Take" with The Police. The chord sequence is:

Gadd9 - Emadd9 (0240XX) - Cadd9 - Dadd9 - Add9

When playing the progression of the song, use finger picking and if you can't manage the stretch in Gadd9 and Add9, you can move the index finger from the 6th to the 3rd string during the playing.

Notice the similarities between Cadd9 and Dadd9 with the open Aadd9 shape above.

Sus add chords

Since add and sus chords can be close related, and in fact be identical in some occasions, are chord names sometimes written as sus(add9) or as susadd9.

The relationship between suspended and added tone chords

The relationship between suspended and added tone chords are close. We can compare Cadd2, Cadd9, Csus2 and Csus4. The difference is that in added tone chords, a tone is added and in suspended chords, a tone is exchanged. See also add2.

Chord construction

Cadd2  x - C - E - G - D - G
Cadd9  x - C - E - G - D - E
Csus2  x - C - D - G - C - E
Csus4  x - C - F - G - C - x
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

Cadd2 C - D - E - G
Cadd9 C - E - G - D
Csus2 C - D - G
Csus4 C - F - G
Theoretical order of notes

As could be notice in the examples above, there are no important differences concerning the chord construction between Cadd2 and Cadd9. This is due to the instrument and the problems to find a shape that match perfect. To separate the chords, it would be correct to have the D tone early and late in Cadd2 and Cadd9 respectively.

Even that there are differences, sometimes an add and a sus chord with the same root tone can be played with the identical guitar chord. An example is Asus2 and Add2 if C# is omitted.

Add chords with alternative bass

Here are some examples of add chords with an alternative bass note including inversions:

Cadd9/G: 332030
Dadd9/A: X00252
Eadd9/B: X22102
Fadd9/A: X03213
Gadd9/E: 000003
Aadd9/F#: 20X420
Aadd9,add11/F#: 200420

Other added chord types

Next to add9 and add2 chords there are also add 4 and add 11 chords, which as is the case with added 9th and 2nd are identical – the 11th note is same as the 4th one octave higher.

Here are examples of add11 (add4) chords including inversions:

Cadd11: X33010
Dadd11/G: 300232
Eadd11: 002100
Fadd11: 113211
Gadd11: 330003
Aadd11: X00220
Badd11: X24440
B7add11/F#: 2X1200

There are also a "double add" variant. For example this chord:

Dadd9add11 chord diagram

This is sometimes referred to as Dadd9, but that is actually incorrect. The notes in the chord are D, E, F#, G. That is two notes that differ from the regular D major (D, F#, A), meaning two notes are added and the chord name is Dadd9 add11. These chords names are normally written as this:

Dadd9add11 chord symbol

If that method of writing is not available, a comma can be used instead, as in Dadd9, add11. Also, a parenthesis can be used: D(add9, add11).

Here are examples of add9,add11 chords including inversions:

Cadd9,add11: X33030
Dadd9,add11: X00052
Eadd9,add11: 002102
Fadd9,add11: 113213
Gadd9add11: 300503 / X00503
Aadd9,add11: X00420
Badd9,add11: X24640 / X44440

See also added 11th chords

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