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How to play the Bb7#9 chord on guitar

Unleash the jazzy sound heard in "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Desafinado."

The Bb7#9 chord

The Bb7#9 chord, pronounced "B flat seven sharp nine", is a jazzy and bluesy guitar chord with a distinctive dissonant sound. Notable for its inclusion of both the minor and major thirds, this chord adds tension and sophistication to progressions. The Bb7#9 is often used in jazz, blues, and funk music, famously featured in songs like Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze".

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Bb7#9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Bb7#9 chord

The most common way to play a Bb7#9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 6th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Bb7#9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 6th fret and barre all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 4th (D) string.

Strum all six strings together in a downward motion to play the Bb7#9 chord.

How to play an easy Bb7#9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Bb7#9 chord, try playing a standard Bb7 chord instead. Place your first finger on the 1st fret of the A string, third finger on the 3rd fret of the D string, and second finger on the 2nd fret of the G string.

How to play a Bb7#9 bar chord

The Bb7#9 chord is typically played using individual notes rather than as a barre chord, so I don't feel confident providing instructions for a barre chord version targeting beginners.

Common Bb7#9 chord progressions

The Bb7#9 chord is often used as a passing chord or to add tension and dissonance to a progression, creating a bluesy, jazzy, or even unsettling feel. Some common chord progressions featuring the Bb7#9 chord include:

  • I - Bb7#9 - I (Bb - Bb7#9 - Bb)
  • I - IV - Bb7#9 - I (Bb - Eb - Bb7#9 - Bb)
  • ii - V - Bb7#9 - I (Cm - F - Bb7#9 - Bb)
  • I - vi - Bb7#9 - V (Bb - Gm - Bb7#9 - F)
  • iii - Bb7#9 - ii - V (Dm - Bb7#9 - Cm - F). Used in "Michelle" by The Beatles.

Drills to master the Bb7#9 chord

To master the Bb7#9 chord, start by practicing the chord shape itself. Focus on cleanly fretting each note and transitioning in and out of the chord. Strum the chord, letting each note ring out clearly.

Next, try playing the individual notes of the chord (Bb, D, F, Ab, C#) as arpeggios. Begin slowly, gradually increasing your speed. This drill helps develop finger independence and reinforces your understanding of the chord's composition. Combine these exercises with your favorite progressions or songs featuring dominant 7#9 chords to apply the Bb7#9 in musical contexts.

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Songs that feature the Bb7#9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Bb7#9 chord.

  1. A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles (Bb7#9, C7, D7, G7, F)
  2. Satin Doll by Duke Ellington (Bb7#9, Dm7, G7, C6)
  3. The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King (Bm7, Bb7#9, Am7, Abm7)
  4. Monkey Man by The Rolling Stones (Bb7#9, C9)
  5. Deacon Blues by Steely Dan (Bb7#9, Ebmaj7, Dm7, C7sus4)
  6. Yer Blues by The Beatles (Bb7#9, C7, F7)
  7. Moanin' by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers (Bb7#9, Eb7, Ab7, Db7)
  8. Chega de Saudade (No More Blues) by Antonio Carlos Jobim (Bb7#9, Am7, Dm7, Bm7b5, E7b9)
  9. Crazy Rhythm by Benny Goodman (Bb7#9, G7, C7)
  10. Don't Be That Way by Benny Goodman (Bb7#9, Eb7, F7, C7)

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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