The James Brown Chord

The James Brown Chord

This chord (Solid dots only) is an E9 shape that appears in many of James Brown’s songs. It is often played with a fast funky rhythm pattern. To get an authentic sound – slide into the chord from a fret below. Generally you don’t need to play the open low E string – but sometimes it adds a little extra, so let your ear be the guide.

Adding the note on the 9th fret of the first string with your little finger produces a E13 sound.

Sliding into the E9 and then cycling between the E9 and E13 is the key to the sound on JB’s classic track “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine. Have a play with it, you will soon get the riff. Check the video for how it sounds – although I think a clean guitar sound is better than the slightly distorted sound in the video.



The 9th chord is used in many of JB’s songs and is a staple of funk guitar playing. See the next instalment in the blog for another example or two.

As usual any questions just drop me a line.

Guitar Lessons in Bristol, Backwell, Nailsea and Keynsham.

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