9th chords

The 9th chord is frequently used in styles like funk and jazz. The chord is constructed by adding the ninth note in the scale to a dominant 7th chord. The C9 for example, includes the following notes: C, E, G, Bb and D.

9

C9

  • C9 chord diagram

D9

  • D9 chord diagram

E9

  • E9 chord diagram

F9

  • F9 chord diagram

G9

  • G9 chord diagram

A9

  • A9 chord diagram

B9

  • B9 chord diagram

Alt. shape

  • 9th chord shape

hand grip on guitar neckComment

The diagrams show the 9th chords in movable versions. Adapting to these versions makes the chord really simple to memorize.

To play the chord you have to lay your ring finger over the three highest strings (see picture to the right). It is also possible to skip the high E-string (i.e. the 1st string), and in that case you can instead use all four fingers. If you leave out the high E-string, you will not play the fifth, but it is alright to omit that note in a 9th chord.

9th chords with flats and sharps

Additional chords in this category:

C sharp / D flat 9th: X43444
D sharp / E flat 9th: X65666
F sharp / G flat 9th: X 9 10 9 9 9
G sharp / A flat 9th: X 11 12 11 11 11
A sharp / B flat 9th: X10111

Chord formula

The ninth is built with the formula 1-3-5-b7-9 (root, major 3rd, perfect 5th, minor 7th and major 9th).

Chord construction

C9  x - C - E - Bb - D - G
D9  x - D - F# - C - E - A
E9  x - E - G# - D - F# - B
F9  x - F - A - Eb - G - C
G9  x - G - B - F - A - D
A9  x - A - C# - G - B - #E
B9  x - B - D# - A - C# - F#
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

C9  C - E - G - Bb - D
D9  D - F# - A - C - E
E9  E - G# - B - D - F#
F9  F - A - C - Eb - G
G9  G - B - D - F - A
A9  A - C# - E - G - B
B9  B - D# - F# - A - C#
The intervals are 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 – 9

Chord progressions

If you know how to play a 12 bar blues chord progression you can mix it up by replacing the IV7 and V7 with IV9 and V9. In other words, a 12 Bar Blues progression could look something like:

A7 – D9 – A7 – E9 – D9 – A7

9th chord in open position

The 9th chords are most often played in closed positions as seen on diagrams above, but here are some suggestions for open 9th chords:

C9: X32330
D9: X54530

D9/F#: 200210
D#9 / Eb9: XX1021
E9: 022102 / 020132
G9: 320201 / 3X0201
A9: X02423
A#9 / Bb9: X10111

9th chord voicings without the root

An easier way to play these chords is to remove the tone on the 5th string. This turns the chord into a voicing without the root note and, for example, C9 will be played XX2333 and F9 will be played as XX7888.

9th chords with bass note on 6th string

To become more flexible, you should learn a shape with its base tone on another strings. These shapes are using the 6th string for the bass and root note. None of the shapes are all that pleasing: the first include a stretch and the second creates a somewhat bassy sound.

G9: 3X320X / 3230XX
Ab9: 4X431X / 4343XX
A9: 5X5412X / 5454XX
Bb9: 6X653X / 6565XX
B9: 7X764X / 7676XX

9th chords with bass note on 4th string

Here is an alternative that use the 4th string for the bass and has the root note on the 1st string.

G9: XX3203 / XX5465
Ab9: XX4314
A9: XX5425
Bb9: XX6536
B9: XX7647

9th sus chords

It is also possible to play ninth suspended chords. A movable shape similar to that presented above can be used, here are some examples in notated form:

B9sus: X22222
C9sus: X33333
D9sus: X55555
E9sus: X77777
F9sus: X88888

Notice that 9sus is identical with one version of the 11th chord.

9th chord alterations

Alterations means that a note in the chord is altered, for example, a flattened fifth. Here are some examples using C as root tone (the shapes are movable). To being able to play C9b5 according to the fingering below, you must bar four strings.

C9+5: X32334
C9b5: X32332

We can compare these alterations with the standard dominant ninth:

Chord construction

C9  x - C - E - Bb - D - G
C9+5  x - C - E - Bb - D - G#
C9b5  x - C - E - Bb - D - Gb
Guitar versions of the chord

Notes in chord

C9  C - E - G - Bb - D
C9+5  C - E - G# - Bb - D
C9b5  C - E - Gb - Bb - D
Theoretical order of notes


In C9+5 the fifth is raised and in C9b5 the fifth is flattened.


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