Major 9th Guitar Chord Diagrams (Maj9) - Basic Positions and Drop 2 Voicings

What Are Major 9 Chords?

Major 9 chords are made of five notes, they contain a root (1), a major third (3), a perfect fifth (5), a major seventh (7) and a ninth (9). A maj9 is simply a major seventh chord with a ninth added. It can aslo be seen as a major triad (1 - 3 - 5) with a seventh (7) and a ninth (9).

Notation Symbol

Major 9th chords can be noted M9 or maj9.

Major 9 guitar chords - Basic positions

How to Play Major 9 Chords on Guitar?

For those who don't want to experiment the twelve rootless drop 2 chords below, here are three basic major 9 chord shapes to play on the guitar.

The first diagram has its root on the sixth string and the second has its root on the fifth string.

Because guitarists don't have enough fingers to play the five notes of these kind of chords, the fifth is omitted.

It's better to omit the fifth or even the root than the seventh, the third or the ninth. Indeed, these are are the most important tones of the chord.

Drop 2 major 9th guitar chords - Diagrams and voicing charts

Here are 12 guitar diagrams to play drop 2 major ninth chords. These diagrams are based on the drop 2 major seventh chords. Building a drop 2 maj9 chord from drop maj7 chords is very easy, you just have to move the root 2 semitones (two frets) up to get the ninth. 

Rootless voicings and diagrams

As you can see, root notes are those circled in red in the following diagrams. Root notes are nor played, but it is important to locate them to find more easily the chord position on the guitar neck and as well as its name.

Major 9th Root position 9 5 7 3
1st inversion 3 7 9 5
2nd inversion 5 9 3 7
3rd inversion 7 3 5 9

 

Rootless Drop 2 Major 9th Chords

What's The Difference Between maj9, 9 and add9?

Because the difference between a maj9 and an add9 chord is often a source of confusion, this has to be clarified here.

  • A maj9 chord needs a major 7th in its composition, this is just a shorter way of saying maj7add9, that's what makes it different from add9. In other words, this is a major seventh chord with a ninth.
  • An add9 chord is a major triad with a ninth added.
  • A 9 chord is a five note chord, it's a dominant seventh chord with a ninth.
9 chord 1 3 5 b7 9
Major 9 chord 1 3 5 7 9
Add9 chord 1 3 5 x 9

 

As you can see in the voicing shapes below, the fifth is left out.

Difference between 9 guitar chords 

  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF guitar lesson provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation, audio files and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 20 II-V-I jazz guitar licks

    This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines with tabs and audio files both in major and minor keys
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    Jazz guitar comping. How to play II-V-I chord progressions on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
  • 11 blues jazz studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • Mastering the altered scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 6 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links. Printable PDF eBook.

Last edited: 07/12/2019