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C9 fingering?

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(@commoncat)
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Joined: 13 years ago
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Topic starter  

When I play a C9 chord I use my thumb to press the E and A strings. While watching some instructional videos, I notice that most of the players use either their index or middle. Which is correct?


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Which variation of the C9 do you play?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@noteboat)
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"Correct" depends on two things - you, and the context.

Fretting notes with the thumb means having a different orientation of the wrist, which limits the range of the fingers - you can't reach as far when you're fretting with the thumb. Folks who fret with the thumb as part of their 'style' tend to have large hands (Hendrix etc). So if you've got really big hands/long fingers, it might be right for you... even though it wouldn't be right for most.

Then there's context. Even if you have small hands, thumb over fretting might be the best way to handle a specific change (the opposite is also true - even big hands might find it better to fret with a different finger for a specific set of changes). For example, if a change required an open Gmaj7(3x0002), I might fret the low G with my thumb if the alternatives meant a lot more moving around - my hands are average size; in other changes I'd use a different fingering.

I've found that every part of music performance has a bunch of "except for..." situations. Don't lock yourself into one way of doing things just because it's considered "correct" by many. (But on the other hand, don't fall into the trap of doing things only one way because you find it easy - there will be other situations where the easy way really isn't, and it'll hold you back!)

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(@commoncat)
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Joined: 13 years ago
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Topic starter  

I am not sure what you mean by variation, I use my ring finger on the strings gbe, my index on the d string and my thumb for the e & a strings. gotta go (I am at work). :D


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(@davidhodge)
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Roy - it's 332333 (or at least that's the assumption). Even though you can finger the low E (technically, most guitarists would call that "C9/G"), more people tend to not finger it at all and use x32333.

And Tom's given a great answer.

Peace


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(@commoncat)
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Topic starter  

332333 is what I am doing, my instructor is teaching me "Stormy Monday", and this is the way he showed me. He could have told me to mute the low E, I'll clarify next lesson. I was a little confused when watching some online videos and saw that most were not using the thumb. Now I play an acoustic (Taylor 310), and most of the online videos are on electrics, could that have anything to do with it?


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(@corbind)
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332333 is what I am doing, my instructor is teaching me "Stormy Monday", and this is the way he showed me. He could have told me to mute the low E, I'll clarify next lesson. I was a little confused when watching some online videos and saw that most were not using the thumb. Now I play an acoustic (Taylor 310), and most of the online videos are on electrics, could that have anything to do with it?

I don't know about that fingering, I don't think that is a C9.

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(@noteboat)
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It's a C9 Dennis: 332333 = GCEBbDG = 5R3b795

Most people voice it in root position, x32333, but you could also drop the fifth and do x3233x

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(@joehempel)
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I've always seen C9 written x32033, is that a different chord then?

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(@noteboat)
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Yes, Joe, that's a different chord.

When a chord is 9, 11, or 13 it implies a b7 is included - these are the "extended" chords, which means a C9 is an extension of C7. So it needs to have Bb, and it's going to be a dominant chord type.

If you finger x32033 you've got C-E-G-D-G... no Bb. Without the Bb it sounds major instead of dominant, and it's called Cadd9.

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(@gosurf80)
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The x32333 fingering is one of the more common shapes for dominant 9 chords. I normally use my middle finger for the root note on the A string, my index for the third on the D string and barre the G, B, and high E strings with my third finger. See below:

I would definitely leave the low E string muted. Sometimes playing the lower notes of a chord voicing can muddy up the sound.


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(@kent_eh)
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The x32333 fingering is one of the more common shapes for dominant 9 chords. I normally use my middle finger for the root note on the A string, my index for the third on the D string and barre the G, B, and high E strings with my third finger.

Arrrgh, another finger bender for me. :(

I can get my 3rd finger to play 2 of the 3 high strings (sometimes B&E, sometimes G&B), but I always end up muting the other one.

Another thing to add to my "gotta practice that" list.

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(@jhollis94)
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I really struggle with that too - if I use my ring finger to fret the 3rd fret of the E, B, and G strings then I always end up flattening out my middle finger (fretting the C on the A string) so that it mutes the E on the D string. It's a tough one.


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(@bloos66)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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Same here - I've only started to work on this the other day and can't get my ring finger flat enough to hold down gbe, and it's giving me cramps as well. Oh well, it will take a bit of finger gymnastics to get this one going...

Any particular tricks or recommendations that any of you have to get the fingers into the right place easier - other than practice, practice, practice?


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(@scrybe)
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If this lame attempt at description is any help, I tend to barre the high strings with my finger rolled slightly forward, so I'm sort of fretting with the side of my ring finger (the side that's next to the pinky finger). This allows me to fret the other notes with my index and middle fingers without accidently muting any of the strings in the barre.

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