How to play

How to play the Emaj9 chord on guitar

Unlock the dreamy sound heard in "Just Like Heaven" and "Champagne Supernova."

The Emaj9 chord

The Emaj9 chord, pronounced "E major ninth," is a rich and versatile guitar chord that adds a dreamy, jazzy flavor to progressions. Notably used in genres like neo-soul, R&B, and jazz, the Emaj9 can be heard in songs such as "Redbone" by Childish Gambino and "Best Part" by Daniel Caesar. Its unique voicing opens up creative possibilities for songwriters and guitarists alike.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common Emaj9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for Emaj9 chord

The Emaj9 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 7th fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play an Emaj9 chord on your guitar:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 2nd (B) string.

Strum all six strings together to play the Emaj9 chord. You can use a simple downward strum pattern or experiment with more complex rhythms as you become comfortable with the chord shape.

How to play an easy Emaj9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the Emaj9 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Leave the other strings open.
  4. Strum only the top four strings.

How to play a Emaj9 bar chord

Playing the Emaj9 chord as a barre chord allows you to easily transition between chords and play the chord in different positions on the fretboard.

Here's how to play an Emaj9 barre chord:

  1. Barre your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret.
  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.
  5. Strum all six strings from low to high.

Common Emaj9 chord progressions

The Emaj9 chord adds a dreamy, ethereal quality to progressions, often evoking feelings of wonder, nostalgia, or bittersweet emotions. Some common chord progressions featuring the Emaj9 chord include:

  • I - Imaj9 - vi - IV (E - Emaj9 - C#m - A)
  • Imaj9 - IV - V - I (Emaj9 - A - B - E)
  • ii - V - Imaj9 - vi (F#m - B - Emaj9 - C#m)
  • I - vi - ii - Imaj9 (E - C#m - F#m - Emaj9)
  • Imaj9 - iii - vi - IV (Emaj9 - G#m - C#m - A) Used in "Wonderwall" by Oasis and "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis

Drills to master the Emaj9 chord

To master the Emaj9 chord, start by playing each note individually, focusing on clarity and tone. Once comfortable, try playing the notes in pairs: E and G#, G# and B, B and D#, D# and F#. This helps your fingers get accustomed to the spacing between the notes.

Next, practice playing the chord in different rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and triplets. You can also arpeggiate the chord, playing each note separately in ascending or descending order. These drills will help you develop muscle memory and make the Emaj9 chord feel more natural to play.

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Songs that feature the Emaj9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the Emaj9 chord:

  1. Hold On by Wilson Phillips (Emaj9, F#m7, A, Bm7)
  2. Faithfully by Journey (Emaj9, F#m, A, Bm)
  3. If You Leave Me Now by Chicago (Emaj9, C#m7, F#m7, A, B)
  4. Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon (Emaj9, F#m7, A, B)
  5. When I Need You by Leo Sayer (Emaj9, C#m7, F#m7, A, B)
  6. Baby, What a Big Surprise by Chicago (Emaj9, C#m7, F#m7, A, B)
  7. Rosanna by Toto (Emaj9, F#m7, A, Bm7)
  8. Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) by Christopher Cross (Emaj9, C#m7, F#m7, A, B)
  9. Biggest Part of Me by Ambrosia (Emaj9, C#m7, F#m7, A, B)
  10. Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold (Emaj9, C#m7, F#m7, A, B)

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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