How to play

How to play the A7b9 chord on guitar

Spice up your playing with this jazzy chord, featured in "The Girl from Ipanema."

The A7b9 chord

The A7b9 chord, pronounced "A dominant flat ninth," is a jazzy and slightly dissonant variation of the A7 chord. It adds a flattened ninth note to the dominant seventh, creating a tense and bluesy sound. This chord is commonly used in jazz, blues, and funk music to add color and sophistication to progressions. Notable examples include Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" intro riff.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common A7b9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for A7b9 chord

The most common way to play the A7b9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 5th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play an A7b9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 5th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 1st (high E) string.

To strum this chord, start with a downstroke on the 5th string (A), followed by an upstroke that includes all the strings from the 4th string (D) to the 1st string (high E).

How to play an easy A7b9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the A7b9 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Strum only these two strings along with the open 1st (high E) and 3rd (G) strings.

How to play a A7b9 bar chord

The A7b9 chord is typically played as an open chord, but learning the barre chord version offers more flexibility to play the chord at different positions on the fretboard.

Here's how to play an A7b9 barre chord:

  1. Barre your index finger across the 5th fret, covering all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 6th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Place your ring finger on the 7th fret of the 1st (high E) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the 5th fret.

Common A7b9 chord progressions

The A7b9 chord is often used to add a bluesy, jazzy, or slightly dissonant flavor to chord progressions, creating a sense of tension and resolution. Some common chord progressions featuring the A7b9 chord include:

  • I - VI7 - II7 - V7b9 (A - F#7 - B7 - E7b9)
  • I - IV7 - I - V7b9 (A - D7 - A - E7b9)
  • I - VI7b9 - II7 - V7 (A - F#7b9 - B7 - E7)
  • I - II7b9 - V7 - I (A - B7b9 - E7 - A)
  • I - IV7 - VII7b9 - III7 (A - D7 - G#7b9 - C#7) Used in "Sweet Georgia Brown"

Drills to master the A7b9 chord

To master the A7b9 chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between the notes in different orders, such as A-C#-E-G-Bb, A-E-G-Bb-C#, and so on. This drill helps build muscle memory and familiarity with the chord's structure.

Next, practice switching between the A7b9 chord and other common chords like A7, Dm, and Em. This exercise will develop your ability to quickly transition to and from the A7b9 chord in various musical contexts, preparing you for real-world playing situations.

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Songs that feature the A7b9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the A7b9 chord.

  1. The Girl from Ipanema by Stan Getz, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto (Chords: F#m7, B7, E7, A7b9, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7)
  2. Satin Doll by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Johnny Mercer (Chords: Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, C6, A7b9, D7#5, Dm7, G7)
  3. Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra (Chords: Am7, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, F7, Bm7b5, E7, A7b9, Dm7, G7)
  4. The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra (Chords: Cmaj7, Gm7, C7, Fmaj7, Fm7, Bb7, Cmaj7, A7b9, Dm7, G7)
  5. Misty by Erroll Garner (Chords: Ebmaj7, Cm7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, Ab7, Dbmaj7, A7b9, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7)
  6. There Will Never Be Another You by Chet Baker (Chords: Ebmaj7, Am7, D7, Gmaj7, G7, Cmaj7, C#dim7, Fm7, Bb7, Ebmaj7, A7b9, Abm7, Db7)
  7. Stella by Starlight by Victor Young and Ned Washington (Chords: Bbmaj7, Cm7, F7, Bbmaj7, Bm7b5, E7, Amaj7, A7b9, Dm7, G7, Cm7, F7)
  8. On Green Dolphin Street by Bronisław Kaper and Ned Washington (Chords: Ebmaj7, A7b9, Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, C7, Fm7, Bb7)
  9. Body and Soul by Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, and Frank Eyton (Chords: Dm7, G7, Cmaj7, Ebm7, A7b9, Dm7, Db7, Cmaj7)
  10. Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma and Jacques Prévert (Chords: Am7, D7, Gmaj7, Cmaj7, F#m7b5, B7, Em7, A7b9, Dm7, G7)

How a guitar teacher can help

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