How to play

How to play the Cmaj9 chord on guitar

Unlock the dreamy sound heard in "Wonderwall" and "Fast Car."

The Cmaj9 chord

The Cmaj9 chord, pronounced "C major ninth," is a sophisticated and colorful variation of the standard C major chord. It adds the ninth scale degree, creating a dreamy and expansive sound. This chord is commonly used in jazz, neo-soul, and R&B music to add harmonic depth and interest. Notable songs featuring the Cmaj9 chord include "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder and "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" by John Mayer.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Cmaj9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

Hero Image

Unlock your playing potential in online guitar lessons with experts on Til. Start today and achieve your guitar goals quickly. Find a top-rated teacher.

Finger placement for Cmaj9 chord

The most common way to play the Cmaj9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 3rd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a Cmaj9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings on the 3rd fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 5th (A) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the Cmaj9 chord. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to cleanly barre all the strings.

How to play an easy Cmaj9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Cmaj9 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd (B) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Strum only these three strings.

How to play a Cmaj9 bar chord

The Cmaj9 barre chord is a great alternative to the standard open chord version, as it allows you to easily move the chord shape up and down the fretboard to play other maj9 chords.

Here's how to play a Cmaj9 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 3rd fret, covering all six strings (barre).
  2. Place your middle finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 5th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum from the 5th (A) string down to the 1st (high E) string.

Common Cmaj9 chord progressions

The Cmaj9 chord adds a dreamy and ethereal quality to progressions, making them sound more lush and sophisticated. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the Cmaj9 chord:

  • I - Imaj9 - IV - V (C - Cmaj9 - F - G)
  • Imaj9 - vi - ii - V (Cmaj9 - Am - Dm - G) Used in "Breathe" by Pink Floyd
  • Imaj9 - iii - vi - ii - V - I (Cmaj9 - Em - Am - Dm - G7 - C)
  • ii - V - Imaj9 - vi (Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj9 - Am7) Used in "Girl from Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Imaj9 - ii7 - V7sus4 - V7 (Cmaj9 - Dm7 - G7sus4 - G7)

Drills to master the Cmaj9 chord

To master the Cmaj9 chord, try playing each note individually, focusing on clarity and tone. Once comfortable, play the notes in pairs, such as C and E, G and B, or B and D. Experiment with different combinations to familiarize yourself with the chord's components.

Next, practice transitioning smoothly between Cmaj9 and other chords commonly used in the same key, such as Am7, Dm7, or G7. This will help you develop muscle memory and improve your ability to switch chords quickly and accurately during songs.

Unlock your playing potential in online guitar lessons with experts on Til. Start today and achieve your guitar goals quickly. Find a top-rated teacher.

Nelly M.

"I've already learned so much my brain hurts! Tash has given me some simpler things to work on since I'm a beginner. I've taken several of the Til classes and they are such a great way to learn."

Songs that feature the Cmaj9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Cmaj9 chord:

  1. Wonderwall by Oasis (Cmaj9, Em7, Fsus2, G)
  2. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (Cmaj9, G, Em, D)
  3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Cmaj9, Am, G, F)
  4. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Cmaj9, G, D/F#, Am)
  5. Gravity by John Mayer (Cmaj9, G, Am7, F)
  6. The Scientist by Coldplay (Cmaj9, Em7, Fsus2, G)
  7. Blackbird by The Beatles (Cmaj9, G, Am, F)
  8. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (Cmaj9, Am7, F, G)
  9. Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Cmaj9, G, F)
  10. Dust in the Wind by Kansas (Cmaj9, Am, G, F)

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.

Learn guitar all over the world