How to play

How to play the C#maj9 chord on guitar

Unleash the dreamy sound of "Wonderwall" and "Fast Car" with this essential chord.

The C#maj9 chord

The C#maj9 chord, pronounced "C sharp major ninth," is a rich and colorful variation of the C# major chord. It adds a dreamy, jazzy flavor by including the ninth scale degree. This chord is commonly used in genres like jazz, R&B, and neo-soul, and can be heard in songs like "Neo Soul" by Musiq Soulchild and "Redbone" by Childish Gambino.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common C#maj9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for C#maj9 chord

The most common way to play the C#maj9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 4th fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a C#maj9 chord on your guitar:

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

To strum this chord, use your pick or thumb to play all six strings in a downward motion. Alternatively, you can pluck the individual strings for a more delicate sound.

How to play an easy C#maj9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the C#maj9 chord, try playing an open position C#maj7 chord instead. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the B string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G string, and ring finger on the 3rd fret of the A string. Strum from the A string.

How to play a C#maj9 bar chord

Playing a C#maj9 chord as a barre chord can be a great way to add variety to your playing and create a fuller sound. It's also a useful alternative when you need to quickly transition to other barre chords.

Here's how to play a C#maj9 bar chord:

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

Common C#maj9 chord progressions

The C#maj9 chord brings a dreamy, ethereal quality to progressions, making them well-suited for mellow and contemplative songs. Some common chord progressions featuring C#maj9 include:

  • I - V - vi - IV (C#maj9 - F# - G#m - E) - Used in "Moon River" and "Autumn Leaves"
  • ii - V - I (D#m7 - F#7 - C#maj9) - Used in "Misty" and "The Way You Look Tonight"
  • iii - VI - ii - V (E#m7b5 - A#7 - D#m7 - G#7)
  • I - vi - IV - V (C#maj9 - G#m7 - E9 - F#7)
  • ii - V - I - VI (D#m7 - G#7 - C#maj9 - A#7)

Drills to master the C#maj9 chord

To master the C#maj9 guitar chord, try this simple drill: play each note of the chord individually, starting with the lowest string and working your way up. Focus on cleanly fretting each note and letting it ring out before moving on to the next. Once you've played each note separately, strum the full chord, making sure all notes sound clearly.

Another helpful exercise is to practice transitioning smoothly between C#maj9 and other chords you frequently use. Take it slow at first, ensuring clean transitions without any buzzing or muted strings. With time and repetition, you'll build muscle memory and seamlessly switch between chords.

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Songs that feature the C#maj9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the C#maj9 chord.

  1. Love on the Brain by Rihanna (C#maj9, Fm7, B7, E)
  2. Best Part by Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R. (C#maj9, Fm7, B7, G#m7)
  3. Redbone by Childish Gambino (C#maj9, G#7, F#7, B7)
  4. Cranes in the Sky by Solange (C#maj9, G#m7, F#m7, B7)
  5. The Bird by Anderson .Paak (C#maj9, F#m7, B7, G#7)
  6. Tadow by FKJ & Masego (C#maj9, F#m7, B7, G#7)
  7. Skyline To by Frank Ocean (C#maj9, G#m7, F#m7, B7)
  8. What You Won't Do for Love by Bobby Caldwell (C#maj9, F#m7, B7, G#7)
  9. Blessed by Daniel Caesar (C#maj9, G#m7, F#m7, B7)
  10. Nights by Frank Ocean (C#maj9, F#m7, B7, G#7)

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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