9th Guitar Chords

... a major 6th with an added 9th

The Theory

There are 3 types of commonly used 9th guitar chords:

Dominant 9th (9), Major 9th (maj9), and Minor 9th (m9) chords are all derived from the dominant 7th, major 7th and minor 7th chords. We will illustrate this using the C Major Chord.

Chord Description Formula
Dominant 9th A dominant 7th chord with an added 9th (C7/9 or C9)  1 - 3 - 5 - ♭7 - 9
Major 9th A major 7th chord with an added 9th (Cmaj7/9 or Cmaj9) 1 - 3 - 5 - 7 - 9
Minor 9th A minor 7th chord with an added 9th (Cm7/9 or Cm9) 1 - ♭3 - 5 - ♭7 - 9

  • If a chord with a symbol 9 is not preceded by the words major or maj, i.e., C9 & Cm9 as opposed to Cmaj9, the 7th is always a dominant 7th (♭7).
  • This session is on Dominant 9th chords.
  • A 9th chord or 9 chord is a musical interval spanning an octave plus a major second or 2 semitones. A dominant ninth chord consists of a root, a major 3rd, a perfect fifth, a minor 7th and a major ninth. It is considered a compound interval as it spans more than an octave.
  • The featured song using 9th chords is Someone Like You by Adele.

Example... Calculating an E6/9 chord
  • Dominant 9th Chords consist of the 1st, 3rd, 5th ♭7th and 9th notes of a Major Scale
  • E chords, are based on the E major scale which has 4 sharps. The scale reads: E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D#
  • Formula for a 9th chord: 1 - 3 - 5 - ♭7 - 9. For calculating the 9, simply go back to the start of the Scale and count upwards so that the 8th note is E (octave above the tonic) and F# is the 9th note.

    If you find this confusing, simply write the scale so that it contains 9 notes, i.e.,
    E - F# - G# - A - B - C# - D# - E - F#
  • Substitute the notes into the formula (1=E, 3=G#, 5=B, ♭7=D, 9=F#)
  • E9 reads as follows: E - G# - B - D - F#
Dominant 9th (9) Chord Table
9th A B♭ B C C# D E♭ E F F# G A♭
Root A B♭ B C C# D E♭ E F F# G A♭
Major 3rd C# D D# E E#(F) F# G G# A A# B C
Perfect 5th E F F# G G# A B♭ B C C# D E♭
Minor 7th G A♭ A B♭ B C D♭ D E♭ E F G♭
Major 9th B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A B♭

9th Chords - Right Handers

Ninth Chords: A9 - C9
9th Guitar Chords - Part 1

9th Guitar Chords: Please note that with chords like A9 (first position), although it shows a barre over strings 2, 3, and 4 with the first finger, you will naturally barre strings 1, 2, 3 & 4 with the first finger... and that's OK. It is simply illustrated like this so that you don't see 2 dots (fingers) on the same string. The second finger on the 3rd fret (first string) overides the first finger on the second fret (first string)... a lot more comfortable!

9th Chords - Left Handers

9th Lefty Chords - Part 1
9th Lefty Chords - Part 2
9th Lefty Chords - Part 3
I hope you enjoyed this session on 9th guitar chords. They are not used very often due to their dissonant quality, however in the right places they can be very effective. An example of this is the introduction of 'A Hard Days Night' by the Beatles. It starts with a 9th chord and then moves into the song. Have a listen... very effective.

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