How to play

How to play the F#7b9 chord on guitar

Spice up your playing with this jazzy chord, as heard in "Misty" and "The Girl from Ipanema."

The F#7b9 chord

The F#7b9 chord, pronounced "F sharp seven flat nine," is a complex and dissonant guitar chord. It's notable for its tense, unstable sound due to the tritone interval between the third and flat seventh, and the semitone clash between the root and flat ninth. This chord is often used in jazz, blues, and funk to create tension and add a sophisticated, mysterious flavor to progressions.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common F#7b9 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for F#7b9 chord

The most common way to play the F#7b9 chord on guitar is as a barre chord on the 2nd fret.

Follow these finger positions to play a F#7b9 chord on your guitar:

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

To strum this chord, play all six strings together in a downward motion, starting from the lowest (thickest) string.

How to play an easy F#7b9 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the F#7b9 chord, try this:

  1. Place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the 6th (low E) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Strum only these two strings together.

This simplified version omits the barre and the other notes but still captures the essential sound of the F#7b9 chord.

How to play a F#7b9 bar chord

The F#7b9 chord is typically played using the barre chord shape, which allows for greater flexibility and ease of transition between chords. Playing the barre chord version of F#7b9 can be especially useful when you need to quickly switch to other chords in the same key.

Here's how to play an F#7b9 barre chord:

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

Common F#7b9 chord progressions

The F#7b9 chord adds a tense, dissonant, and bluesy feel to progressions, often used to build tension before resolving to another chord. Some common progressions featuring this chord are:

  • i7b9 - iv7 - i7b9 - iv7 (F#7b9 - B7 - F#7b9 - B7)
  • i7b9 - bvi7 - ii7 - V7 (F#7b9 - D7 - G#m7 - C#7)
  • i7 - i7b9 - ii7b5 - V7b9 (F#7 - F#7b9 - G#m7b5 - C#7b9)
  • i7b9 - biiidim7 - ii7b5 - V7alt (F#7b9 - Adim7 - G#m7b5 - C#7alt). Used in "Mean to Me".
  • i7b9 - ii7 - bii7 - i7b9 (F#7b9 - G#m7 - G7 - F#7b9)

Drills to master the F#7b9 chord

To master the F#7b9 chord, start by practicing the chord shape itself. Focus on cleanly fretting each note and transitioning smoothly between other chords. Once comfortable, try playing the chord in different rhythmic patterns, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, or syncopated rhythms.

Next, incorporate the F#7b9 into chord progressions. Create your own or find popular progressions that feature this chord. Practice playing the progressions in various keys and tempos to develop flexibility and familiarity with the chord in different contexts. Regular practice will help you master this unique and flavorful chord.

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Songs that feature the F#7b9 chord

Here are 5 popular songs you can play with the F#7b9 chord.

  1. The Girl from Ipanema by Stan Getz & João Gilberto (F#m7, B7, E7, A7, D7, G7, C7, F7)
  2. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin (Am, G#m7b5, C#7b9, F#m)
  3. Hotel California by Eagles (Bm, F#7, A, E, G, D, Em, F#7b9)
  4. Autumn Leaves by Cannonball Adderley (Am7, D7, Gmaj7, Cmaj7, F#m7b5, B7b9, Em)
  5. My Favorite Things by John Coltrane (E, C#m7, F#7b9, 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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