Dominant 9th Arpeggios - Guitar Diagrams, Charts and Licks

What's a dominant 9 arpeggio?

Dominant 9 arpeggios contain the five same notes as the chords they come from, namely dominant 9th chords. They are spelt 1 (root), 3 (major third), 5 (perfect fifth), b7 (minor seventh) and 9 (major ninth). In sum, a dominant 9 arpeggio is a dominant seventh arpeggio with a ninth added. 

Let's note in passing that it is good to make the difference between a major ninth and a minor ninth. A major ninth (9) is an octave larger than a second (2). That is to say it is an interval built with an octave plus a second (14 semitones). The minor ninth (b9) which is made up of 13 semitones (a minor second plus an octave).

G9 arpeggio G B D F A
Formula 1 3 5 b7 9 (2)

Dominant 9 guitar arpeggios - Diagrams and shapes

The four guitar shapes below show you how to play dominant 9 arpeggios. The first diagram has roots on the first, fourth and sixth string. The second diagram has roots on the third and five string. The shapes 3 and 4 require hand shifting to play across the neck (diagonal playing).

Dominant 9 arpeggio guitar shape 1

Dominant 9 arpeggio guitar diagram 1

Dominant 9 diagonal guitar arpeggio diagram 1

Dominant 9 diagonal guitar arpeggio 1

Arpeggio Superimposition

Arpeggio superimposition is a very interesting harmonic concept that enables you to create more sophisticated sounds. This consists of superimposing different arpeggios together. There is a lot to say about that, in this article we will only talk about the two arpeggios that makes a dominant 9 arpeggio. As shown in the example below, a C9 arpeggio contains two arpeggios :

  • A dominant 7 arpeggio, G7 (G-B-D-F).
  • A B half-diminished arpeggio (Bm7b5) built on the major third of C (B) (B-D-F-A). This one is often called "3-9" superimposition. The idea is to build a seventh (or a triad) on the third of the chord you're playing over. 
Dominant 9th arpeggio superimposition

II-V-I sequence and arpeggios

The II-V-I sequence is one of the most popular chord progression in jazz music. Two arpeggios are used in this example : Fmaj7 (F-A-C-E) over Dm7 and Bm7b5 (B-D-F-A) over G7.

Dominant 9th arpeggio guitar line

In this II-V-I we will be playing notes from the D Dorian mode over Dm7 and a G7 arpeggio over G7.

Dominant 9th arpeggio guitar lick

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Last edited: 02/20/2019

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