6/9 Chords

This one is quite uncommon in rock or pop but easy to find in jazz where it’s usually used as a more interesting tonic chord. The only obvious place I could find this in the rock world was America’s Horse With no Name where the second chord of the main vamp is a 6/9. Interestingly, this chord contains the entire major pentatonic scale and is also a set of stacked fourth intervals, meaning you can play a whole barred figure at any fret and technically be playing a 6/9 chord with the root on the third string. I’d think you’d want a strong bass note behind the guitar to make that work. I haven’t tried it, but I thought it was interesting enough to include.

Chord Template 1: Strings 3/4/5

Chord template for strings 3, 4, and 5 in C Major

I’ve spent a lot of time working on chords and harmony lately, and I’ve concluded that I really need a good roadmap to move up and down or across the neck to speed the up the composition process. The most obvious place to start that wasn’t the 6th-string bar chords we all know was the 5th-string-root shape that seems to come up first for dominant 7th chords or the Hendrix chord. There are a few fantastic voicings in here.

The m9’s of the second and sixth degree are a chord I’ve highlighted before, and the m7 of the seventh was frankly a surprise. It never occurred to me to drop the flattened 5th to create a less tense seventh chord of the major scale, but it seems more useful than just avoiding the seven altogether. I also really like the maj7(add9) and maj7(add13) you get in the root and fourth positions. There’s a load of color on tap in this template. I’m looking forward to connecting seamlessly it across strings and to a larger set of voicings.