Guitar Tutorial: Create Three New Chord Shapes out of the Shape of One 9th Chord

For this blog a short fun article which will help you with your songwriting, inspiration and chordknowledge: I will introduce you to one 9th chordshape and show you how you can create three other chordshapes out of this one chord. I will also get into inprovising over this chordsequence using various scales, but this is for later.

Let me start of with a little theory for those of you who are a little rusty with their chordknowledge:
A basic chord (often called triad) consists of a Root, a Third and a Fifth. Three basic tones, which make the chord sound the way it does. The third can be major or minor. This single tone turns your chord into a major-or minor chord.
Appart from these three basic notes you can have sevenths, fourths, ninths etc.
For this article I will use the ninth chord, next to some other major and minor chords.

Okay after this very basic theory brief, it is now time to have a look at our chords:

               D9          Dm             C             Am

  E   ——————-5——————————–

  B  ——–5———-6————5———–5——-

  G  ——–7———-7————5———–5——-

  D  ——–7———-7————5———–7——-

  A  ——————————————————

  E  ——————————————————

The Root for all chords is on the G string, apart from the last chord, Root for this one is on the D string.
The D9 is a ninth chord because of the note on the B string: This is an E, and it turns the chord into the ninth (or sus2 if you like)
The Dm is minor because of the note on the B string: It is an F note, play an F# one fret higher and you turn the chord into a major chord.
The C is major because of the note on the B string: It is an E, play the Eb one fret lower and you turn the chord into a minor chord.
The Am is minor chord because of the note on the G string: It is a C, play a C# one fret higher and you turn this chord into major.

Okay, but what do you do now? This is up to you, I have not given you any rhythm to play with or anything. What you can do  will depend on your technique, your experience and your imagination.

Here are some suggestions: Fingerpick the D9 then let the chord fall into the Dm, then turn back to the D9, then play the C and the Am.

The beauty of the D9 is that all the other chords are so close to the shape of the ninth chord, moving along to the next chord does not take to much effort, and whatever you do, it almost all sounds good, which is a bonus.

What goes for the chords also goes for scales: You can improvise around the chords using three different scales. Again, how you go about this will depend on your experience, vision and knowledge.

Here are the scalepatterns for each scalë:

         C Dorian

  E  —————————————5—7—-8—–10—–

  B  ——————–5—–6—–8—————————-

  G  —————7———————————————-    One octave Scale, Root starts on G string and

  D  —————————————————————    goes up one octave on the E string.

  A  —————————————————————

  E  —————————————————————   

Dorian Scale starts on second degree of major  scale, in this case C major. You play from D to D but without turning scale into D major, which does have different scale pattern.
If you are unfamiliar with any scales, just play given tones in the tab and see what you can do.

          C major

  E  ———————————-5—-7—-8———-

  B  ———————5—6—8————————-  One octave scale, Root starts on G string and goes up
                                                                               one octave on the E string
  G  —————-7—————————————

  D  ———————————————————

  A  ———————————————————

  E  ———————————————————

        A minor Pentatonic

  E  ———————————5—–8————

  B  ————————-5—8———————-

  G  —————–5—7——————————  One octave Scale, Root starts on D string, clims one octave
                                                                          until E string 5th fret, the 8th fret is next note of next 
  D  ———–7—————————————-   octave.

  A  —————————————————–

  E  ——————————————————

Out of all these three Scales, the A minor Pentatonic may be most familiar. I have only given a part of the scale, not necessary using all six strings. My reason behind this is to show you how each Scalepattern is close in position to the D9 chord given before.

The example of chords are all related to the Key of Dm, C and Am, you can move each shape up to play in different keys, remember where the Root note is of each chord and scale, this will help you to figure out the new key your are playing in.

Play around with the chords and use various techiques to make them come alive. Hopefully it will help you to get out of the rut of using the common, open standard chordshapes. Think about what you play and get into the habit of forming your own chordshapes depending on the music you are playing.

Enjoy and hope to see you soon again,