ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Guitar Lesson: Add 9 Chords

Updated on January 11, 2022

Using the chords

I've shown some great guitar chords here that will hopefully improve your guitar playing - although they are shown in guitar tab for the sake of clarity, you can play all the notes together as a chord too. Chord shapes for all the guitar tab examples are given below.

There are many complex guitar chords that you can find, but sometimes it's difficult to know how to apply them. As you can replace common major and minor chords with these shapes, you can use them in a wide variety of styles, and in many different songs. Here are some of the bands who use them a lot:

  • Steely Dan
  • The Police
  • Crowded House

The sound of these chords is essential if you want to play material by any of these bands - bands which are definitely in the all-time greats list.

I'll often try out chord substitution, just replacing standard chords with more interesting sounding voicings.

Guitar chords with add9 or sus2

Reading Chord Grids

The 6 vertical lines are the strings, and the horizontal lines are the frets. The barre is shown with the loop symbol.

Guitar tab examples

If you play the first 4 bars, it will sound a lot like Every Breath You Take by The Police. It's not exactly the same, and it's in a different key, but it shows what the chords sound like when you play them with arpeggios. Arpeggio is just Italian for "like a harp", that is, one string at a time.

What is an add9 chord? Let's look at G add9 as an example. Counting up the major scale from G, interval 8 is the octave, and the 9th note is an A. So this chord is just a G chord with an added A (add9)

Major scale: G A B C D E F sharp G, A, B, C etc.

Note that G9 is a different chord altogether, as it contains a flat 7 note.

Minor chords work in exactly the same way, so Am add9 is an Am chord with a B added. Here is the sequence of notes from A: A B C D E F G A B

Sus2 is just another name for an add9 chord.

Note 2 and note 9 are the same notes, just in different octaves.

Playing the chords

There are some wide intervals between the notes in these chords. If you have fairly small hands you could start by using a capo, which will reduce the problems, especially if you start with it at fret 5 or so. Also, they are easier on electric guitar.

You could try just incorporating one or two of these chords into a song you know already.

Rikki Don't Lose that Number (Steely Dan) sounds great if you play D add9, A add9, E add9, all in the first position. Try wearing a beret too.

The barre chord shapes are shown with the loop ^ barre chord symbol. These are movable shapes, based on a (root 5) A chord shape. The same shape at fret 3 would be a C add9.

More add9 shapes

More shapes

The first two shapes are very easy. You can move between these chords and plain major chords to add variety to your chord playing. The C add9 shape is very common, and often leads to G, as shown here.

  • The Em9 is one of the best sounding chords on guitar
  • The Am add9 is a bit tricky at first - typical of the sound of The Police.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)