Master Chords

HOW TO BUILD AND PLAY 9, 11, 13 CHORDS

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Watch these video lessons

Dom9 and Maj9 chord shapes

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First Two Lessons For Free

I think the material is excellent. I’ve benefited so much. I’ve now begun to improvise with some confidence and have written songs that feel authentic. I can now develop musically in a broad and rich way. Your work has illuminated an exciting path forward.– Roger

Let’s take a look at how to construct the 9, 11 and 13 chords as well as what altered chords are and how to build them.

There are 3 types of 9 chords, the dom9, the maj9 and the min9. The video lessons above demonstrate all possible shapes of the dom9 and maj9. The min9 only has one shape so it didn’t get a video lesson.

There are two types of commonly used 11 chords, the dom11 and the min11. You can’t play 11 and m11 chords in all shapes so again, there are no video lessons for them.

The 13 chord is closely related to the dom7 and 6 chords, only one shape is almost always used, the E shape.

Altered chords are chords with b5, #5, b9 or #9 in combination with a dom7 chord.

To grasp the sound of all these chords you need actual song examples so you can hear them in context.


9, 11, 13 and altered chords in songs

The dom9 is heard frequently in songs by James Brown. In the playlist here you’ll hear it in ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’.

My favourite ’11 chord in a song example’ is Michael Jackson’s awesome tune ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’ which is B11 – B almost throughout.

My favourite ‘13 chord in a song’ example is Billy Cobham’s ‘Red Baron’ which moves between a G13 and a C9 for the majority of the song.

Etta James gorgeous ‘At Last’ contain an altered chord, have a listen and see if you can find it!

The advanced and master guitar courses provide more examples of songs that use these chords.


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