Recently, I have added more rigor to my personal guitar chord library with the addition of inversions. I developed the "drop 2", "drop 3", and "drop 2 and 4" voicings for all seventh chords.

For ninth chords, the typical convention appears to advocate rootless "drop 2" chords (using the upper voices). While I recognize that this approaches complements a bass player in a band context, it just doesn't strike me as the "right" way forward for me.

So, what other techniques do you recommend for developing voicings for ninth (and higher) guitar chords, where the unaltered fifth is commonly omitted? (My present library dwells on the root-in-the-bass chords, while keeping the extension voices in the proper relation to the root.)

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It depends on the situation being played in. When there's a bass player, he'll be putting roots and fives (not exclusively, but that's his job in a lot of situations), so those notes missing from your playing won't be, well, missed. So, 3s, 7s and 9s are your job. further up the sonic spectrum, as guitar is, they'll sound fine, and complement the bass.

In a solo or lack-bass situation, unless there's keys to provide the roots, your chordal playing sounds better with those notes in, as the listener has something to base the notes on. So, root gets back in. You're probably aware that root is important to establish where you are in the music; 3 is important to establish maj. or min.; 5 not so, as it's already there in spirit (and harmonics) within the 1; 7 and 9 are the icing on the top, making the chords interesting and also changing the sound, with maj and min 7ths, and # and b 9ths.

The root needs to be under, which is why so many guitarists like E A and D keys, freeing up fingers for the other notes. 7ths and 9ths don't have to be above 3s. Little exercise - in A, play 4th string 5th fret with A. Then move down one fret for D. And up one fret for E. 3s and 7s swap.

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