How to play

How to play the B7#9 chord on guitar

Spice up your playing with this jazzy chord, used in hits like "Purple Rain."

The B7#9 chord

The B7#9 chord, pronounced "B dominant sharp ninth," is a unique and colorful chord that adds a jazzy, sophisticated flavor to music. It's built on a B dominant 7th chord with an added sharp ninth, giving it a slightly dissonant yet intriguing sound. The B7#9 is often used in jazz, blues, and funk, and famously appears in songs like Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze."

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common B7#9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for B7#9 chord

The most common way to play the B7#9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 7th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a B7#9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Use your index finger to barre the 7th fret across all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 1st (high E) string.

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion with your pick or thumb.

How to play an easy B7#9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the B7#9 chord, try playing a B7 chord and adding your pinky finger on the 4th fret of the 1st (high E) string. This will give you a similar sound without the need for a challenging barre chord shape.

How to play a B7#9 bar chord

The B7#9 chord is a more versatile alternative to the standard B7 chord shape. While it can be challenging for beginners, learning this barre chord version will allow you to easily transpose the shape to other keys.

Here's how to play a B7#9 barre chord:

  1. Barre your index finger across the 7th fret, covering all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the low E string.

Common B7#9 chord progressions

The B7#9 chord is commonly used in jazz and blues progressions to add tension and a bluesy, edgy feel before resolving to the tonic chord. Here are some popular chord progressions featuring the B7#9 chord:

  • I - IV - B7#9 - I (B - E - B7#9 - B)
  • I - VI - II - B7#9 - I (B - G#m - C#m - B7#9 - B)
  • I - II - V - B7#9 - I (B - C#m - F# - B7#9 - B)
  • I - B7#9 - IV - V (B - B7#9 - E - F#)
  • I - IV - V - IV - B7#9 - I (B - E - F# - E - B7#9 - B). Used in "The Thrill is Gone" and "Rock Me Baby".

Drills to master the B7#9 chord

To master the B7#9 guitar chord, try playing the individual notes (B, D#, F#, A, C##) one at a time, focusing on each note's clarity and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders to build finger dexterity and familiarity with the chord shape.

Another helpful drill is to play the B7#9 chord in various rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, or sixteenth notes. This exercise will help you develop muscle memory and enable you to switch to the chord more efficiently while playing songs.

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Songs that feature the B7#9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the B7#9 chord.

  1. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix (E7#9, G, A)
  2. Foxey Lady by Jimi Hendrix (F#7#9, E7#9)
  3. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix (F#m7, B7#9, E)
  4. Light My Fire by The Doors (Am7, Dm7, G#7#9, C#m7)
  5. Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin (E, E/G#, A, E/B, B7#9)
  6. Spanish Castle Magic by Jimi Hendrix (B7#9, G#7#9, F#7#9)
  7. Stone Free by Jimi Hendrix (E7#9, D7#9, A7#9)
  8. Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix (C, G, D, A, E, B7#9)
  9. Manic Depression by Jimi Hendrix (E7#9, C#7#9)
  10. Love or Confusion by Jimi Hendrix (E7#9, G#7#9, B7#9)

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.

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