How To Build 7b9 Chords, Learn How to Build and Play 7b9 Chords
The Professor
May 18 2013, 10:22 AM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
How to Build 7b9 Chords

In today’s theory lesson we’ll be looking at how you build 7b9 chords, as well as 8 commonly used fingerings for these chords that you can take into the practice and bring into your playing and songwriting.

The easiest way to build a 7b9 chord, is to take a normal 9th chord, which is built from the Root-3-5-b7-9 intervals of the Mixolydian Mode, and simply lower the 9th by 1 fret, 1 half-step.

Here is how you would build a C7b9 chord from the C9 chord.

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So, the 7b9 chord is built by taking the Root, 3rd, 5th, b7th and 9th of the related 9th chord, and then lowering the 9th by 1 fret to make it Root, 3rd, 5th, b7th and b9.

Test Your Theory Knowledge

To help get this formula under your fingers and into your theory chops, you can write out all 12 different 7b9 chords, such as C E G Bb Db for C7b9, and post them in the comments section of this thread.

I’ll be glad to check your work and help with any questions you have regarding this lesson on building 7b9 chords.

7b9 Chord Shapes

To keep things practical as well as theoretical, here are 8 different shapes for C7b9 that you can take into your guitar playing.

Each of these shapes is commonly used and if you have even a few of them under your fingers will allow you to easily bring these sounds into your playing regardless of the style or musical situation.

Since we only have four fingers, and we are dealing with 5-note spellings, a lot of the time we omit the 5th when playing 7b9 chords, such as the ones you see below that use R-3-b7-b9 in their construction.

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Check out 7b9 chords from both a construction and practical application.

These chords will pop up from time to time, or a lot if you play blues, jazz or fusion, and so it’s a good idea to have a mental and physical understanding of these common chords.

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This post has been edited by The Professor: May 19 2013, 09:12 AM

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