How To Build 9th Chords, Learn How to Build and Play 9 Chords
The Professor
May 16 2013, 02:54 PM
Theory Instructor
Posts: 888
Joined: 8-January 13
From: Manchester UK
How to Build 9th Chords

In today’s theory lesson we’ll be looking at how you build 9 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 m9 chord comes from the mixolydian mode, as it uses the 1st, 3rd, 5th, b7th and 9th notes of the mixolydian mode in it’s construction.

Here is how you would build a C9 chord from the C aeolian mode.

Notice how the numbers of the C mixolydian mode are used to spell the numbers of the C9 chord, 1-3-5-b7-9, as this is the interval pattern needed to build any 9 chord, regardless of key.

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So, the 9 chord is built by taking the Root, 3rd, 5th, b7th and 9th of the related Mixolydian Mode.

Test Your Theory Knowledge

To help get this formula under your fingers and into your theory chops, you can write out all 12 different 9 chords, such as C E G Bb D for C9, 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 9 chords.

9 Chord Shapes

To keep things practical as well as theoretical, here are 8 different shapes for C9 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 9 chords, such as the ones you see below that use R-3-b7-9 in their construction.

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Check out 9 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 18 2013, 10:20 AM

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