Minor 9th Arpeggios - Guitar Diagrams and Theory

A minor 9th arpeggio is no more and no less than a minor 7 arpeggio (1-b3-5-b7) with a major ninth (9) added. A major ninth (9) is a compound interval made up of an octave plus a second (14 semitones). It provides a specific color considered as dissonant. 
Minor 9 arpeggios have the same notes as minor 9 chords, the formula is root (1), minor third (b3), perfect fifth (5), minor seventh (b7) and major ninth (9).  They are obviously used to play over minor chords (m7, m9, m11 and m13).

C minor 9 arpeggio C Eb G Bb D
Formula 1 b3 5 b7 9


Minor 9th guitar arpeggio diagrams

The four diagrams below show you how to play minor 9th arpeggios on the guitar. The first shape has roots on the first, fourth and sixth string. The roots of the second diagram are on the third and fifth string. The last two shapes requires shifting, that's what we call "diagonal playing". 

Minor 9th guitar arpeggio

Minor 9th arpeggio

Minor 9th arpeggio 5

Minor 9th arpeggio diagram diagonal playing

Superimposing arpeggios

One very interesting thing to know is that a minor 9 arpeggio contains a major 7 arpeggio. Indeed, the superimposition of two seventh arpeggios (minor and major seventh) gives a minor 9th arpeggio.

Minor 9th arpeggio 1 b3 5 b7 9
Minor 7 arpeggio 1 b3 5 b7 X
Major 7 arpeggio X b3 5 b7 9


Let's take an example with the C minor 9 arpeggio. It is built with C (root), Eb (minor third), G (fifth), Bb (minor seventh) and D (ninth). You find out that when starting on the minor third (Eb) of C min you obtain an Eb major 7 arpeggio made up of the minor third (Eb), the fifth (G), the minor seventh (Bb) and the ninth (D) of Cmin9. Playing an Ebmaj7 arpeggio over a Cmin7 chord gives a Cmin9.

Minor 9th arpeggio

Arpeggio over II-V-I sequence

Here are two easy examples that show you how to apply arpeggios over a classic II-V-I progression

Exercise 1 :

  • Fmaj7 arpeggio (F-A-C-E) over Dm7. 
  • Bm7b5 over G7 (B-D-F-A).

Minor 9th arpeggio lick 2-5-1 sequence

Exercise 2 :

  • Fmaj7 arpeggio again (F-A-C-E) over Dm7. 
  • G altered scale over G7alt.

Minor 9th arpeggio lick - II-V-I progression

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Last edited: 26/09/2018