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. A song you can try with 9th chords is 'Someone Like You' by Adele.

Back to Guitar Chords

Contact Me