The Jimi Hendrix Chord
So there it is – The Jimi Hendrix chord – the E7#9. This is a wonderfully dissonant chord often heard in Jimi’s playing. It is probably most obvious in Purple Haze. The basic chord sequence for this is:-
E7#9 – G – A
This shape could be considered a derivation of the James Brown Chord – the E9 – but the 9th note (the F#) has been sharpened to G. This means that the third of the chord, the G# and the sharp ninth (G) are just a semitone apart, giving the chord it’s dissonant sound. This is obviously a movable chord shape, but the E version of this chord can take advantage of the available open low E string for an even fuller sound. These sorts of chords can sound great in a 12 bar blues as the V chord as they add lots of tension making the resolution to the I chord even more satisfying to the ear (e.g. use E7#9 as the E chord in a 12 bar blues in A).
I often use a version of the 7#9 chord when I want to add a little dissonance in my general rhythm playing, because sometimes I just want to spice things up a bit. The second shape shows how you can use a little finger barre to add the #9 to an standard E shape 7 chord. This can be fun as it is generally an unexcpected tone in standard progressions.
You will also note that a sharp 9 is the same note as the flat 3rd – often played against a major chord when using the minor/blues pentatonic scales – hence why it is always nice to put a little blues curl (1/4 note bend) on this tone for a very bluesy feel in your lead playing. Nice. It also explains why a Em7#9 does not exist as such as the #9 tone is the same as the third of the chord and so does not add any further colour.
If you have any questions then please leave a comment.
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