How to Play C9 Chords

The c9 chord is a chord containing an additional ninth note, like its C dominant nine counterpart. This chord comprises C, E, G and D as its notes of composition.

Here is a 3rd position c9 chord without a low E string (to make it a slash chord). Your index finger will press on the 5th fret of B string which has an E on it.


Chord inversions simply involve rearrangements of notes within a chord to create a different sound, typically switching the bass note (C) to another fret, creating a different chord sound. In the case of C9 chords, this usually means switching its bass note (C) from C to another fret higher up on the fretboard; although this makes voicing more challenging due to having to move your fingers around the fretboard more often; yet can also give more full sounding chords (i.e. a C9/D chord).

The most frequently played version of c9 chords is the three-note version, which is easy to play yet sounds full for such a simple chord voicing. Simply place your thumb on middle C, index finger on E and pinkie on G to play this chord voicing which works in most situations.

Another easily playable c9 chord voicing is one with Bb in the bass, though this takes more practice as you need to bar all five strings at once to play it correctly. But it produces an excellent and full sound suitable for many musical styles.

Other voicings of c9 chords do exist, though these tend to be more complicated since they involve shifting the bass note up or down an octave. Although you might not need this method very often unless playing in a group setting with others using similar chords, having several variations handy can add extra interest or tension when needed – chord inversions can even add melodic voice leading when used over chords to help create smooth progressions with whatever melody is being played above them!

String Skipping

String skipping can add an uplifting melody to your playing by breaking up the monotony of chord progressions with non-adjacent strings, picking them individually while moving your fretting hand up and down the neck. While this requires dexterity and coordination to pull off successfully, string skipping can be a creative and engaging way of adding variety into chording patterns.

Florida Georgia Line and Kenny Chesney provide an outstanding example, both employing string-skipping to add color and interest to their C major triad arpeggios, producing more colorful chords than their closed-voiced equivalents.

String skipping’s other unique application is octave displacement – an effective technique which takes linear note groupings and shifts them by an octave, adding new dimensions to scale runs with wider intervals and taller melodic peaks.

The Edge employed this concept brilliantly on U2’s classic 1990 track “Wonderwall,” helping give its acoustic guitar riff an extra element that helped drive the song forward to its conclusion. This example highlights just one way in which Cadd9 chords prove their versatility.

Metal bands such as Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” utilize it well, adding its signature ninth chord for dramatic flair in their opening riff. Screamo artists also employ it effectively.

Add an extra dramatic flair by including skips on the lower strings as well. However, mastering this approach requires precision between picking hand and fretting finger control as well as clear string jumps each time they clear – or else harsh and undefined sounds result. Be patient while learning this challenging skill – your aim should be using the C9 chord as a springboard for creating original licks and patterns that fit with your overall guitar playing vision!

Middle Four-String Method

Barre chords are an accessible chord choice for guitarists, yet can be difficult to play without losing sound quality. This is often caused by finger that barres also mutes it resulting in an imbalanced sound. To address this problem many players use the middle four-string method which simplifies playing C9 chords while still producing full sounding chords.

This method involves playing a regular barr chord shape using only your index finger instead of all three fingers – this will enable it to resonate more while also preventing any muted string muting caused by the barre. To do this, place your index finger at the 8th fret of B string (E), middle finger on 5th fret of G string (D), and pinky on 10th fret of A string (E).

Like when playing barre chords, when approaching any chord it is essential that non-barre fingers use proper technique too. This means approaching the fretboard at an angle at which they approach at an easy and non-tense way so as not to create tension or sharp notes in your chord. They should also cover any gaps between notes easily.

Make a c9 chord using partial bars (which eliminate the fifth from the top of the chord). While this technique might prove challenging for novice players, once mastered it can make your chords sound more professional.

Some players also opt to omit the third string when performing a C9 chord, creating a more noticeable bass note effect and creating more space on the fretboard for bass notes. Unfortunately, this requires precise finger placement on the fretboard which may prove challenging for beginners.

One of the great things about the c9 chord is its versatility – it can be applied to almost every genre of music! However, it is particularly common in country and pop music styles where it adds extra flair. Some examples include Florida Georgia Line’s “This Is How We Roll” and Kenny Chesney’s “How Forever Feels.”

High Four-String Method

This variation of a C9 chord features only four strings with partial barrering and string skipping for maximum sound production. This full sounding chord can be used anywhere a C chord would normally be played; just with different tones. Similar to an E7#9 in its content but without the flat 7th addition it’s more challenging due to having to move your fingers more frequently while playing it.

To create this chord, bar the fifth fret of each B, G and D string with your index finger and stretch out your middle finger to cover the 6th fret of the high E string (E). Finally, place your pinky on the 8th fret (D). This chord has an extremely distinctive sound that takes practice to achieve.

Barred voicing can also help create a c9 chord; to do so, simply hold down each string’s first fret with your middle finger while placing your ring and pinky fingers on its second frets respectively. Although easy to play, this chord may have slightly different results than standard voicing.

Add bass notes to any chord by pressing down on the first fret of your A string with your index finger and playing an F# at its third fret – this gives your chord a bluesier sound and works especially well when performing country songs.

The c9 chord is an extremely versatile chord, appearing across genres from electrified rock to laidback neo-folk music. A great way to add tension or new tones, this chord adds dimension and variation to any composition.

Try playing around with these different versions of the C9 chord and see how they change your sound. Learning as many variations as possible of any chord will allow you to find sounds that work well for each song you write.