Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Jamie Holroyd Guitar

How to Play Minor 9th Chords on Guitar

How to Play Minor 9th Chords on Guitar

When learning to play jazz guitar chords, one chord type that can add spice to your chord soloing and comping is the minor 9th chord.

This article explains an easy way method which will produce minor 9th chords by using major 7 drop chords as well as some other commonly used shapes by jazz guitarists such as Jim Hall and Lage Lund.

Each of the minor 9th chords are in the key of D-7 for the purpose of this article.

Remember to learn each of the minor 9th chords, one at a time.

Practice changing between each chord in longer rhythmic values to begin with.



Minor 9th Chords Conversion


An easy way to produce inversions for minor 9th chords is to think of drop 2 inversions of the relative major. For example, if the chord in question is D-7, the relative major is F.

An F major 7th chord in relation to D-7, contains, F (3rd), A (5th), C (7th) and E (9th), a perfect D minor 9th chord.


How to Play Minor 9th Chords Example 1


Commonly Used Minor 9th Chords


While the minor conversion technique works well, I wanted to include some other minor 9th chords that are not found using the technique that are used in practice.

The first example is a variation of the last chord in the previous conversion example that I found in a Lage Lund transcription.

Though this minor 9th chord is a stretch at first, the perfect 5th found within the voicing creates a pleasing and open sound.

The second example is a variation on a shell voicing. Jazz guitarists usually play this chord with a 5th in place of the 11th, like in example 3 of the chords conversion.

This variation produces a more contemporary and open sound and is well worth checking out.

The 3rd example is a voicing often used by jazz guitar great Jim Hall and contains the 9th at the bottom of the voicing.

Putting the 9th in the lower end of the guitar creates a cluster chord due to the minor 2nd interval between the E and F.

Rhythmic and harmonic variations of this chord are demonstrated in the etude.

The final example of the minor 9th chord is often used in bossa nova tunes when comping such as Blue Bossa.


How to Play Minor 9th Chords Example 2


Minor 9th Chords Licks


To conclude this study of minor 9th chords here are two short chord licks that used chords from the example.

The first minor 9th chords lick starts with the Lage Lund chord and a common jazz rhythm which is then followed by the Jim Hall triplet chord lick.

Keep the Lage Lund chord rhythm nice and punchy and be careful not to rush the triplets in the Jim Hall chord lick.


Minor 9th Chords Etude 1example 1

 The second example features minor 9th chords being arpeggiated in interesting rhythms to create a more contemporary sound which could be used as an intro vamp to a tune.


Minor 9th Chords Etude 2example 2

Focus on using and mixing one minor 9th chord shape at a time with the other minor 7th chords you know in the practice room.

Modal studies such as “So What” make a great piece in which minor 9th chords can be applied.

What are some of your favorite minor 9th chords? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.



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Mike Ranfft

Hi Jamie, many thanks for this lesson! I'm wondering about the first Lage Lund chord (1010101312). You mention the 5th in that chord but I get a 4th/11th, could you please clarify? Thanks, Mike

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