Dominant Seventh Sharp Ninth Chord (7#9) - Diagrams and Voicings For Guitar

What's a 7#9 chord?

A 7#9 chord is a dominant 7th chord (1 - 3 - 5 - b7) with a ninth raised by a semitone (#9) giving the formula 1 - 3 - 5  - b7 - #9. 

How to build 7#9 chords?

You just have to add a ninth to the dominant 7 chord and raise it with a semitone to get a dominant 7#9 chord. As it is shown in the chart below, by adding a 9 to a dominant 7 chord you obtain a dom9 chord and by raising the ninth you get a 7#9 chord.

Dominant seventh chord 1 3 5 b7  
Dominant 9th chord 1 3 5 b7 9
Dominant 7#9 chord 1 3 5 b7 #9 (b3)

 

7#9 chords have a blues sound because of the major third and the minor third. Indeed, as you can see in the chart above, the #9 can be considered as the minor third (b3). This type of chord is often referred as the Hendrix (Jimmy) chord because of its use in Purple haze.

There is much of it in many jazz-blues compositions and very used by hard-bop musicians as Wes Montgomery (Four on six, Full House, D natural blues), Kenny Burrell (Chitlins con carne), Grant Green, Lou Donaldson and many more.

Notation Symbols

Dominant 7#9 chords can be written 7+9 or 7#9.

What Scale to Play Over 7#9 Chords?

Minor pentatonic scale, minor blues scale, diminished scales or altered scale are generally used to play over 7#9 chords.

Basic 7#9 Guitar Shapes

Here are three main positions to play dominant seventh sharp ninth chords on the guitar. As already mentioned before, 9th chords are theoretically made up of five tones, but it is physically difficult to play all of them. That's why the fifth (5) is generally omitted. It is the least important notes which make up the 7#9 chord.
 

Drop 2 Dominant 7#9 Chord Shapes - Rootless Voicings

Here are twelve dominant 7#9 chord shapes based on the four rootless Drop 2 voicings below.

Dominant 7#9 Root position #9 5 b7 3
1st inversion 3 b7 #9 5
2nd inversion 5 #9 3 b7
3rd inversion b7 3 5 #9
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Last edited: 07/15/2019