• How to use my secret 9 trick to add flavor to your chord progressions

    by Jermaine Griggs · 21 comments

    in Playing songs

    If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, stop what you’re doing and review it first! This post won’t make much sense as it is a continuation from yesterday.

    I left you with this nice ballad-style chord progression:

    *Play the chord with your right hand and play the single bass with your left hand.

    [Set 1]
    1-chord = C major (C + E + G) *** Bass: C
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: B

    [Set 2]
    1-chord = C major (C + E + G) *** Bass: A
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: G

    [Set 3]
    1-chord = C major (C + E + G) *** Bass: F
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: E

    [Set 4]
    1-chord = C major (C + E + G) *** Bass: D
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: G

    *This takes us perfectly to the beginning, where we start all over with our C major (1-chord).

    And for a chord progression that only uses 2 chords, it sounds pretty darn good!

    It’s used EVERYWHERE from Mariah Carey to Andre Crouch, as you saw on the videos I shared with you yesterday.

    Today, I want to show you how to spice up this chord progression by employing one little trick. I’m not even going to cover more chords just yet. I’m just going to show you how to spice up the 2 chords you already know from this example.

    Want to know the secret?

    Some of you may already know it…

    The secret is the “9.”

    (And this works for any slow, ballad-style song — especially worship music).

    Now, some people call it the “2,” depending on how and where you’re using it. I’m not too much concerned with explaining that part right now. You can find tons of prior lessons on the terminology by searching for “ninth chords” or “add 9″ in my search box above.

    But what is important is determining what the “9th” (or “2nd”) tone of your chord is.

    Here’s how you find the magic 9 and then I’ll show you what to do with it.

    Let’s look at our first chord, which happens to be a “C major.”

    It obviously comes from the C major scale:

    C D E F G A B C
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    From yesterday’s post, you understand the importance of numbering your scale.

    Notice, however, that the scale only goes up to 7. Let’s add another octave (basically repeat the scale a little higher).

    C D E F G A B C D E_ F_ G_ A_ B_ C

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

    (Don’t mind the little “_” underscores. I’m just using those to make my numbers line up with the letters. I can just see someone freakin’ out over that now! :-)… “Oh my gosh, what are those underscores!!!” Just joking…)

    What is the 9th tone of the scale?

    Answer: D

    It’s also the 2nd tone of the scale so whichever way you want to look at it is fine. For the purposes of this lesson, the only important thing is that you know the NOTE to add. The 2 and 9 will always give you the same NOTE (although one is a high version and the other is a low version, technically).

    So what do we do with this magic “9th” tone?

    You guessed it.

    We simply add it to our chord.

    C major triad
    C + E + G

    C major with added 9
    C + D + E + G

    Some people even choose not to play the “C” because it will be taken care of with your left hand bass. If you prefer that sound, then only play “D + E + G” on your right hand with a “C” on your left hand bass. That will work too!

    Ok, so let’s replace all our chords with our new chord and see what we get:

    *Play the chord with your right hand and play the single bass with your left hand.

    [Set 1]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: C
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: B

    [Set 2]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: A
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: G

    [Set 3]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: F
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: E

    [Set 4]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: D
    5-chord = G major (B + D + G) *** Bass: G

    *This takes us perfectly to the beginning, where we start all over with our C major (1-chord).

    Sounds good doesn’t it?

    But we won’t stop there. Let’s add the secret “9″ to our 5-chord as well.

    Simply go through the same process with the G major chord, determining it’s 9th tone (or 2nd tone).

    The magic “9″ for G major should be “A.”

    But if you recall from yesterday’s lesson, we intentionally inverted our “G major” chord so that “G” was on top. This provided a smoother transition between the two chords. We surely don’t want to mess this up by adding “A” on top so we’re actually going to add it on the bottom:

    G major triad (inverted)
    B + D + G

    G major with added 9 (inverted)
    A + B + D +G

    *For some, it can be awkward playing the “A” and “B” with separate fingers so some people just play both the “A” and “B” with their thumb. That’s right! You can play two notes with one finger. Musicians do it all the time! So if that’s easier for you, just let your thumb handle both notes.

    Let’s wrap it all up!

    [Set 1]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: C
    5-chord = G major (A + B + D + G) *** Bass: B

    [Set 2]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: A
    5-chord = G major (A + B + D + G) *** Bass: G

    [Set 3]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: F
    5-chord = G major (A + B + D + G) *** Bass: E

    [Set 4]
    1-chord = C major (C + D + E + G) *** Bass: D
    5-chord = G major (A + B + D + G) *** Bass: G

    Curious to hear what you guys think about the “added” 9 trick! Let me know!

    Until next time —

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Related posts:

    1. This trick will spice up your dominant chord progressions… instantly!
    2. The secret behind “big picture thinking”
    3. Variations of “2-5-1″ Chord Progressions
    4. Opening and closing your songs with “2-5-1″ progressions!
    5. Another altered chord progression you can try
    6. Chord progression with various altered chords
    7. The secret to inspiring your own flavorful altered chords!



    { 21 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jim

    Really liked the added 9 trick. thanks jermaine for all you do man. Again, how do you do it mannnnn???????????????????????????????

    Reply

    2 Jim

    Oh yeah, and your video makes perfect sense. I was wondering how you went from not writing anything for a long time to doing daily posts. That video answers a lot. So im glad to be a beneficiary of your new found energy.

    Reply

    3 Robert

    I really am getting a lot from the posts that you write for all your members,thank God for people like you.keep them comming and we will try to keep the members comming.(Thanks)

    Reply

    4 pirates86

    nicely done! I’m so glad i’ve finally found a good place to grow musicaly!

    Reply

    5 Corey

    This added 9 trick is a very good tool. I use it all the time myself. The 9 can also be used as a grace note in alot of major chords too, which adds so much flavor to your playing. Listen to guys like Jonathan Powell. They use the 9 ALL THE TIME, lol. Be blessed.

    Reply

    6 Joe

    Jermaine, Thanks for making something that has always seemed impossible to me, so easy to understand. Keep up the great work!

    Reply

    7 TRUMUSIC1SOUL aka BRIAN

    great blog…hint to the newbies….twang the 9 …it gives you a fuller sound…thanks JG

    Reply

    8 Roland

    The added 9 (D) makes the C chord fit the ‘F’ bass note a lot better :-)

    Reply

    9 Nicki

    Jermaine, I am LOVING these blogs. Whenever I get a notification in my e-mail that there’s a new blog that you’ve posted I can’t wait to see what new tricks I’m going to learn. You make playing the piano so much fun! Thank you SO much!!!

    Reply

    10 Eresmas

    Just sounds marvelous and yet feels so easy again. Something you can play with your eyes closed and you feel like woooooh!

    Reply

    11 Smiley

    Hello Jermaine, I wanted to let you know, to be encouraged your labor is definitely not in vain, as you may already now. I appreciate the fact that you continue to push learning theory, not only that but you have broken it down to its simplest form so that anyone who desires to learn can do so with ease. I still can remember and still have the VHS tape (remember those?) of GospelKeys 500! It was given to me as a gift from a friend and that got me hooked on your system. Keep up the awesome work! God Bless!

    Reply

    12 jonas

    oh i like this portion hear nad play in your web sites it’s good for the beginners and those w ho want to learn some akills in instruments god bless you all there i have no more comments on these because it’s good you know that folks and friends

    Reply

    13 Maxi Keighley

    Je voudrais apprendre a jouer la guitare .

    Reply

    14 Oraine

    I am getting better play at church.keep up good work and i know your blessing is on the way.you’re a real friend thanks for your help from jamaica

    Reply

    15 Oraine

    I am really getting better while playing at church.keep up good work and i know your blessing is on the way.you’re a real friend thanks for your help from jamaica

    Reply

    16 jhooks

    really great work!

    Reply

    17 stepohen

    THANKS FOR YOUR THE LESSONS YOU BEEN GIVING TO ME ON THIS WEB SITE. I HAVE IMPROVED IN THE PLAYING OF THE PIANO. I’M DOING GREAT IN MY CHURCH GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU FOR LESSONS. STEVE.

    Reply

    18 micheal

    pls, i want you to send me some things i need to know in playing guiter because am still a leaner thanks

    Reply

    19 sabrina

    sounds so hard but is so easy i started playing guitar a few days ago and didnt get it but know i can really add flavor

    Reply

    20 sabrina

    AHHHH!!!! how do you tune this thing ???????????????????????

    Reply

    21 apprendre la guitare

    Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the information you provide here and
    can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at
    how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G ..
    Anyways, superb site!

    Reply

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