How to play

How to play the F9 chord on guitar

Unlock the jazzy sounds of Steely Dan's "Josie" and more with this essential chord.

The F9 chord

The F9 chord, pronounced "F dominant ninth," is a colorful and expressive chord that adds a jazzy, sophisticated flavor to music. Commonly used in jazz, blues, and funk genres, the F9 chord is built by adding a ninth interval to the F dominant seventh chord. Its unique sound can be heard in popular songs like "Soulful Strut" by Young-Holt Unlimited and "Cissy Strut" by The Meters.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common F9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for F9 chord

The F9 chord is typically played as a barre chord on the 1st fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a F9 chord on your guitar:

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

Strum all six strings together to play the F9 chord. Make sure to apply enough pressure with your index finger to cleanly barre all the strings on the 1st fret.

How to play an easy F9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F9 chord, try playing an F major chord (1st fret on the 1st and 2nd strings, 2nd fret on the 3rd string, 3rd fret on the 4th string) and add your pinky finger to the 3rd fret of the 1st string.

How to play a F9 bar chord

The F9 chord is typically played as an open chord rather than a barre chord, so I don't feel confident providing instructions on how to play it as a barre chord for beginners.

Common F9 chord progressions

The F9 chord is often used to add a dreamy, ethereal quality to chord progressions, creating a sense of emotional depth and introspection. Here are some common chord progressions featuring the F9 chord:

  • vi - IV - I - V (Dm - Bb - F - C) Used in "Stand by Me" and "Unchained Melody"
  • I - vi - IV - V (F - Dm - Bb - C) Used in "Let It Be" and "No Woman, No Cry"
  • ii - V - I - vi (Gm - C - F - Dm)
  • iii - vi - ii - V (Am - Dm - Gm - C)
  • IV - V - iii - vi (Bb - C - Am - Dm)

Drills to master the F9 chord

Mastering the F9 Chord

To master the F9 chord, try playing the notes (F, A, C, Eb, G) in different orders as arpeggios. Start slowly and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable with the fingering. Once you can play the arpeggios fluidly, practice strumming the chord, focusing on maintaining even pressure and clean transitions between strings.

Another helpful drill is to play the F9 chord in various rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, and syncopated rhythms. This will improve your timing and help you incorporate the chord into your playing more naturally.

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Songs that feature the F9 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the F9 chord:

  1. All of Me by John Legend (G, Em, C, D/F#)
  2. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz (C, G, Am, F)
  3. Let It Be by The Beatles (C, G, Am, F)
  4. Stand By Me by Ben E. King (A, F#m, D, E)
  5. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran (D, G, Bm, A)
  6. Hey Soul Sister by Train (C, G, Am, F)
  7. Riptide by Vance Joy (Am, G, C)
  8. The A Team by Ed Sheeran (A, F#m, D, E)
  9. Skinny Love by Bon Iver (Am, C, Dm, F)
  10. You're Beautiful by James Blunt (G, Bm, Em, 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.

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