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ADD9 LESSON

 



The Difference Between 9 and add9 Chords
By William Dale Brewer

 

This topic was a question I had a few years back when I was studying guitar chords.  Before, I would see add9 chords in written music, then try to play 9 chords. I did not really know what add9 chords were. I knew it didn't sound quite right so after running in to the same problem I decided to investigate my situation. I knew that a 9 chord had a root, third, seven, and a nine, But what was the add 9. After a little study it was quite simple, add9 chords have no seventh degree. I will explain.

 

Let’s use the C for this example;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

C

D

E

F

G

A

B

C

D

 

The C9 is made up of the root 1, 3, 7, and 9 which is C, E, B, and D. A four note nine chord has no 5th degree but can be added in this case really simple to make a five not chord by adding the G on high E string. The Cadd9 has 1, 3, 5, and 9 which is C, E, G, and D. The add9 has no seventh degree in its equation.

Check out the tab below:

 

 

Strum both chords and notice they have a really different sound. I think the add9 has a more happy and sweet sound. There are many places and inversions all up and down the neck to make 9 and add9 chords, so play around and have fun with them.

 

Minor Add9 
Minor add9 chords are really valuable to know also. Spelling these chords are the same with a flat 3rd degree. Emadd9 is one of my favorite chords so we will focus on it.

Let’s use the Em for this example;

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

E

F

G

A

B

C

D

E

F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Root, the 1 which is E, then G which is flat 3rd degree to make it minor, 5 is B, and finaly the 9th is F#. So a Emadd9 chord is spelled E-G-B-F#.  Another way of looking at the difference beteween 9 and add9 chords is add9 chords are really just a regular chord with the 9th added. I guess that’s why they are called add9 chords. But a 9 chord is really a 7th with the 9 added. You may be surprised that you have alrerady been playing a lot of add9 chords and didn’t even know it. Here is a couple of etudes to practice and get familiar with add9 chords.

 

 

Lesson Etude in G Practice Track:

 

 

 

Lesson Minor Etude Practice Track: