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  • Writer's pictureJay EuDaly

A Rare 9th Voicing

Updated: Apr 11

This 9th voicing, especially from a 6th-string root, is known and used among more advanced players but rarely known by most guitarists.

I use it quite a bit in my arranging and comping. Any melody that involves the 3rd of the chord is a candidate for this voicing, rather than the more generic Root, 5th, 7th, 3rd voicing that everyone uses.

The fact that the 9th is below the 3rd creates an interval of a 2nd in the chord which is dissonant in-and-of itself but which I find to be beautiful in the larger context of the chord.

The 5th-string root chord shapes are even less common as they are more difficult to finger and so there are fewer possible alterations.

I will put all roots at the 8th fret; therefore, the 6th-string chord shapes will be on a C and the 5th-string roots will be on an F. That gives you what you need to drill these chords around the Key Circle.

  • Note: If you don't know what I mean by, "...drill around the Key Circle" then you need my 5-Lesson Foundational Series. All lessons I teach presuppose it. This Foundational Series will enable you to find any note, anywhere on the guitar neck, without memorizing note names on every string and provides a mechanism which ensures you practice everything in every key. You can download the PDF for FREE right here with no further commitment or obligation:


We'll start with the 6th-string root:


The 13th can be added on the first string. Many times if there's the time and the inclination, I'll employ an arranging device by lowering the 9th to the root. This creates a major 7 chord with a doubled root and no 5th. This can be done with or without the 13th:


Like all Dominant chords, this one is highly alterable; the 9th can be raised or lowered and the 3rd can be suspended:

We can combine alterations as in C7sus(b9) and we can add the 13th on the 1st string for a Dominant 13/9 chord. We can flat the 9th as in, C13(b9).

Note: Sometimes an altered chord will be named as bitonal, that is, 2 tonalities - as in A/C7. Spoken, “A over C7.” I’ve indicated bitonal nomenclature in parentheses.

Now for 5th-string roots:

Note: The minor 9, while theoretically possible, is not functional for most people.


Many times if there's the time and the inclination, I'll employ an arranging device by lowering the 7th to the 6th which creates a major 6/9 chord:


The 9th can be lowered &/or the 3rd can be suspended:

V to I Resolutions

The Dominant chord is a V function. Many times it will lead to the I chord. So here are some examples of commonly-occurring V to I resolutions:

Note: You may recognize the F6 above as a D-7. In this context it is a 3rd inversion F6.

II - V - I

Here are some II - V - I's:

Using the tri-tone substitution for the V makes the progression easier to finger.

Note: The "X" in the figured bass number for the Db9 chord is a music theory symbol meaning, "Dominant," i.e. "Flat Two Dominant."

For those that can handle the minor 9 on the 5th-string root, here ya go!

And with the tri-tone sub:

See the video for a demonstration of all the above:


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