How to play

How to play the E9 chord on guitar

Learn to play the iconic E9 chord, featured in hits like "Beast of Burden" by The Rolling Stones.

The E9 chord

The E9 chord, pronounced "E dominant ninth," is a versatile and expressive guitar chord that adds a jazzy, sophisticated flavor to progressions. Notable for its rich, full sound, the E9 is often used in blues, jazz, and funk music. It's a staple in songs like "The Thrill Is Gone" by B.B. King and "Who Did You Think I Was" by John Mayer.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common E9 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 E9 chord

The E9 chord is typically played on the 7th fret as a barre chord.

Follow these finger positions to play a E9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the 7th fret, barring all six strings.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the E9 chord. You can use a simple downstroke or experiment with different strumming patterns to add rhythm and style to your playing.

How to play an easy E9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E9 chord, try playing an open E chord (022100) and add your pinky finger on the 3rd fret of the 2nd (B) string. This version of the E9 chord is easier to play and still captures the dominant ninth sound.

How to play a E9 bar chord

The E9 chord is typically played as an open chord, but learning the barre chord version can be useful for adding variety or playing in different positions on the neck.

Here's how to play a E9 bar chord:

  1. Place your index finger across the 7th fret, barring all six strings.
  2. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  4. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from the low E string.

Common E9 chord progressions

The E9 chord is commonly used in jazz, blues, and funk music to add a sophisticated, bluesy flavor to progressions. These progressions often evoke a laid-back, soulful, or slightly melancholic emotional feel:

  • I - IV - V (E9 - A9 - B9) Used in "The Thrill Is Gone" by B.B. King
  • ii - V - I (F#m7 - B9 - E9) Used in "Satin Doll" by Duke Ellington
  • I - vi - ii - V (E9 - C#m7 - F#m7 - B9)
  • I - VI - II - V (E9 - C9 - F9 - B9)
  • iii - VI - ii - V (G#m7 - C#9 - F#m7 - B9)

Drills to master the E9 chord

To master the E9 chord, try playing the individual notes (E, G#, B, D, F#) one at a time, focusing on each note's clarity and tone. Once comfortable, practice transitioning smoothly between these notes in various patterns.

Another effective drill is to play the E9 chord in different rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, or a combination of both. This will help develop muscle memory and improve your timing when using the chord in 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.

Marty W.

"Jamey is a great musician and is sincere in his desire to thoroughly teach the subject at hand. He provided detailed handouts and playing examples, and really went above and beyond my expectations. Highly recommended!"

Songs that feature the E9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the E9 chord:

  1. Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan (G, D, Am7, E9)
  2. Melissa by The Allman Brothers Band (E9, G, D, A, E)
  3. Midnight Rider by The Allman Brothers Band (E9, D, A, G)
  4. The Joker by Steve Miller Band (E9, G, C, D)
  5. Thank You by Led Zeppelin (E9, D, A, G)
  6. Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan (E9, A, B7)
  7. The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix (E9, G, D, A, C)
  8. Moondance by Van Morrison (E9, Am7, Bm7, D)
  9. I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley & The Wailers (E9, G, D, A)
  10. Ventura Highway by America (E9, A, G, D)

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