How to play

How to play the C7#9 chord on guitar

Spice up your playing with this jazzy chord, featured in hits like "Purple Haze."

The C7#9 chord

The C7#9 chord, pronounced "C seven sharp nine," is a colorful and dissonant chord that adds a unique flavor to jazz, blues, and funk music. Notable for its sharp ninth interval, this chord creates tension and release within a progression. The C7#9 is famously used in Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," among many other iconic songs.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C7#9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C7#9 chord

The most popular way to play the C7#9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 8th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a C7#9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 8th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 11th fret of the 2nd (B) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the C7#9 chord. You can use a variety of strumming patterns, but a simple down-up strumming pattern works well for this chord.

How to play an easy C7#9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C7#9 chord, try playing the chord in an open position. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the B string, your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string, and your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the A string. Strum from the A string down.

How to play a C7#9 bar chord

Playing the C7#9 chord using a barre chord shape allows for easier transitions between chords and adds a fuller sound compared to the standard open position.

Here's how to play a C7#9 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 8th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 9th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 10th fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  4. Place your ring finger on the 10th fret of the 1st (high E) string.
  5. Strum from the 6th (low E) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common C7#9 chord progressions

The C7#9 chord, also known as the Hendrix chord, adds a bluesy and jazzy flavor to chord progressions, creating a sense of tension and resolution. Some common chord progressions featuring the C7#9 chord include:

  • I - bIII7#9 - I (C - Eb7#9 - C) Used in "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix
  • I - IV - bIII7#9 - I (C - F - Eb7#9 - C)
  • ii - V7#9 - I (Dm - G7#9 - C)
  • I - V7#9 - IV - IV (C - G7#9 - F - F) Used in "Foxey Lady" by Jimi Hendrix
  • I - bVI7#9 - ii - V (C - Ab7#9 - Dm - G)

Drills to master the C7#9 chord

To master the C7#9 chord, try playing it in different positions up and down the neck. Start with the basic shape, then move it to various frets, maintaining the same fingering. This will help you memorize the shape and develop muscle memory.

Another effective drill is to practice transitioning smoothly between C7#9 and other common chords like F, G, or Am. Focus on minimizing the movement of your fretting hand during these transitions. With consistent practice, you'll find yourself comfortably incorporating the C7#9 chord into your playing.

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Songs that feature the C7#9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C7#9 chord.

  1. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix (Cm7, C7#9)
  2. Foxy Lady by Jimi Hendrix (Em, C7#9, F7#9, B7)
  3. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix (Cmaj7, C7#9, Fmaj7, F#m7b5)
  4. May This Be Love by Jimi Hendrix (E7#9, C#m7, F#m7, A7#9, C7#9)
  5. Spanish Castle Magic by Jimi Hendrix (Em7, C7#9, Am7, D7#9)
  6. Midnight Rambler by The Rolling Stones (E7, D7, A7, C7#9)
  7. Live with Me by The Rolling Stones (C7, C7#9, F7, Bb7)
  8. I Wanna Be Your Man by The Rolling Stones (E7, A7, C7#9, B7)
  9. The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King (Bm7, E7#9, C7#9)
  10. Shout by The Isley Brothers (G, D, C7#9, G)

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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