How to play

How to play the Bbm9 chord on guitar

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

The Bbm9 chord

The Bbm9 chord, pronounced B-flat minor ninth, is a rich and expressive chord that adds a sophisticated touch to musical compositions. Notable for its melancholic and jazzy sound, the Bbm9 is often used in genres such as jazz, R&B, and neo-soul. This chord can be found in songs like "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King and "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Bbm9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Bbm9 chord

The most popular way to play the Bbm9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 6th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Bbm9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 6th fret and barre all strings.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 8th fret of the 2nd (B) string.

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion. You can also try alternating between down and up strums for a more dynamic sound.

How to play an easy Bbm9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Bbm9 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. Play only these two strings together.

This two-note version of Bbm9 is easier for beginners to grasp and play cleanly.

How to play a Bbm9 bar chord

Playing the Bbm9 chord as a barre chord on guitar offers a fuller, richer sound compared to the open chord version, making it a great choice for adding depth and complexity to your playing.

Here's how to play a Bbm9 bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 6th fret, covering all six strings (this is the barre).
  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.
  5. Strum from the 6th (low E) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common Bbm9 chord progressions

The Bbm9 chord adds a dreamy and sophisticated feel to progressions, often creating a jazz-influenced or R&B vibe. Some common chord progressions featuring the Bbm9 chord include:

  • i - iv - V7 - i (Bbm9 - Ebm7 - F7 - Bbm9)
  • i - IV - V7 - i (Bbm9 - Eb7 - F7 - Bbm9)
  • i - vi - ii - V7 (Bbm9 - Gm7 - Cm7 - F7) Used in "Misty" and "Fly Me to the Moon"
  • i - bVI7 - ii7 - V7 (Bbm9 - Gb7 - Cm7 - F7)
  • i - bIII7 - bVI7 - bII7 (Bbm9 - D7 - Gb7 - Db7)

Drills to master the Bbm9 chord

To master the Bbm9 chord, try playing the notes individually, focusing on each one's clarity and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning between the notes in different orders, such as Bb-Db-F-Ab-C, or Ab-C-Bb-F-Db. This drill helps build muscle memory and familiarity with the chord's structure.

Another effective drill is to play the Bbm9 chord as an arpeggio, plucking each note separately in ascending or descending order. This exercise allows you to concentrate on the individual notes within the chord, ensuring each one rings out clearly and in harmony with the others.

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Songs that feature the Bbm9 chord

Here are 8 popular songs you can play with the Bbm9 chord.

  1. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor (Am, Dm, G, Cmaj7, Fmaj7, Bbm9)
  2. Smooth Operator by Sade (Bbm9, Db13, Gb13, Abm9)
  3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G, C, D, Fmaj7, Bbm9)
  4. Roxanne by The Police (Bbm9, Db/C, Gb/F, Abm9)
  5. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (Am7, Em7, Dm7, Bbm9, Fmaj7)
  6. I Wish by Stevie Wonder (Bbm9, Eb9, Db13, Cm7, Fm7)
  7. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (A7sus4, Bbm9, Fmaj9)
  8. The Girl From Ipanema by Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto (Fmaj7, G7, Gm7, Bbm9)

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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