How to play

How to play the Amaj9 chord on guitar

Discover the dreamy sound of Amaj9, used in hits like "Wonderwall" and "Blackbird."

The Amaj9 chord

The Amaj9 chord, pronounced "A major ninth," is a rich and colorful variation of the standard A major chord. It adds a dreamy, jazzy flavor to progressions, making it a favorite among guitarists in genres like neo-soul, R&B, and jazz. The Amaj9 is also notably used in the verse of "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers, adding to the song's wistful atmosphere.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Amaj9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Amaj9 chord

The Amaj9 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 5th fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a Amaj9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger across the 5th fret, covering all six strings (barre).
  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 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the Amaj9 chord. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to cleanly barre all the strings at the 5th fret.

How to play an easy Amaj9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Amaj9 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 4th (D) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Play the open 5th (A), 2nd (B), and 1st (high E) strings.

How to play a Amaj9 bar chord

The Amaj9 chord is commonly played as an open chord, but learning the barre chord version can be useful for playing in different positions on the fretboard or transitioning to other chords more easily.

Here's how to play an Amaj9 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 5th fret, covering all six strings (E, A, D, G, B, and high E).
  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 7th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the 5th string (A) down to the 1st string (high E).

Common Amaj9 chord progressions

The Amaj9 chord adds a dreamy, ethereal quality to progressions, often evoking a sense of wonder, sophistication, or emotional depth. Here are some common chord progressions featuring Amaj9:

  • I - vi - ii - V (Amaj9 - F#m7 - Bm7 - E7)
  • ii - V - I - vi (Bm7 - E7 - Amaj9 - F#m7) Used in "Girl from Ipanema"
  • I - iii - vi - ii (Amaj9 - C#m7 - F#m7 - Bm7)
  • vi - ii - V - I (F#m7 - Bm7 - E7 - Amaj9)
  • iii - vi - ii - V (C#m7 - F#m7 - Bm7 - E7)

Drills to master the Amaj9 chord

To master the Amaj9 chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clean execution. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between Amaj9 and other chords you frequently use, such as A, D, and E.

Another effective drill is to arpeggiate the chord, playing each note in succession. Begin slowly and gradually increase your speed. This exercise helps develop muscle memory and finger dexterity, making the Amaj9 feel more natural and accessible during your playing.

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Songs that feature the Amaj9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Amaj9 chord:

  1. Wonderwall by Oasis (Chords: Em7, G, Dsus4, Amaj9)
  2. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Chords: Am, E, C, D, F, G, Amaj9)
  3. Hotel California by Eagles (Chords: Bm, F#, A, E, G, D, Em, Amaj9)
  4. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers (Chords: D, F#m, Bm, G, A, Amaj9)
  5. Hey Jude by The Beatles (Chords: G, D, A, Bm, C, Amaj9)
  6. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Chords: G, D, Am, C, Amaj9)
  7. Yesterday by The Beatles (Chords: F, Em, A7, D7, Dm, C, G, Amaj9)
  8. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (Chords: A, E, F#m, D, Amaj9)
  9. Blackbird by The Beatles (Chords: G, A, Amaj9, D)
  10. Patience by Guns N' Roses (Chords: D, G, Amaj9, Bm)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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