When learning jazz guitar chords, one essential chord every guitarist should know is the dominant 7#9 chord.

Often referred to as the Hendrix or Purple Haze chord, the dominant 7#9 chord is a blues chord because it contains both the major and minor 3rd.

Blues based jazz guitarists such as Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery use this chord frequently in their compositions and vamps.

Blues-rock guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix use the chord because of the crunchy tonality.

Alt and diminished scales can be used to improvise over the chord type, but most guitarists use pentatonic and blues scales.

 

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Dominant 7#9 Song Examples

 

Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze

Kenny Burrell – Chitlins Con Carne

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Testify

Wes Montgomery – Up and At It

 

 

Dominant 7#9 Voicings

 

The diagrams below show two common inversions for dominant 7#9 chords.

Although there are many ways to play this chord across the guitar neck, the two inversions below are the most commonly used amongst guitarists.

The first inversion has the root on the A string and the second has the root on the E string.

 

dominant 7#9 chord chords

 

 

Dominant 7#9 Examples

 

The rhythm pattern below shows a Kenny Burrell-esc straight 8ths rhythm pattern that works well with both of these inversions.

 

dominant 7#9 chord etudedominant 7#9 chords

 

To complete this introduction to dominant 7#9 chords, here is a voice leading pattern in which the top note descends from the #9, to the natural 9 and finally the b9 before resolving the major 7th chord.

The first three chords are based off shell voicings and the final chord (F major 7) is a drop 3 chord.

 

dominant 7#9 chord VI

 

Dominant 7#9 chords can work well as substitutions for normal dominant 7th chords, especially in blues situations.

However, most guitarists use them in ii-V-I situations, as demonstrated in the last example.

Mix dominant 7#9 inversions with the normal dominant 7th chords you play and try to apply them on some different tunes that you are working on.

What are some of your favorite ways to practice and use dominant 7#9 chords?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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