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  • Writer's pictureJay EuDaly

9th Chords in the Blues

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

A Quick & Dirty Guitar Lesson


A 9th can be added to any chord but most commonly in the Blues it is added to a Dominant 7 chord.

  • This is designed as a stand-alone lesson. Any references to things not covered (i.e. “Dominant 7 chord”) will be linked for you to follow if you wish. However, I will give you enough information in this lesson to have a working knowledge of 9th chords as used in the Blues without understanding all the ins and outs of the music theory involved.

I’m going to give you two 9th chord shapes; one has the root on the 6th string and the other has the root on the 5th string.

6th String Root

Notice that the root on the 6th string is not played, but functions as a visual referent. Occasionally I have seen Freddie King and Stevie Ray Vaughan play the 6th-string root on a Dominant 9 chord, but most of the time, the combination of the root and the 3rd in the lower register makes the chord sound too muddy. If you do include the root, it's usually fingered like this:

C9



5th String Root

F9

If you play the 6th string shape without the root, you'll notice that the chord shapes all occur on the middle set of 4 strings; strings 2 through 5.

It's not a bad idea to drill these chords around the Key Circle.


So now we apply the 9th chords to a 12-Bar Blues in A:


12-bar blues in A

Demonstration Video

 

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