This chord goes well with Phrygian Mode and second mode of Melodic Minor.

From Mark Levin's Jazz Theory Book: "The Notes most often played on a susb9 chord, .. , are root, b9, 4th, 5th, and 7th. This will yield for Esusb9 those notes: E,F,A,B,D.

So do you have any practical fingerings on fretboard for susb9 chords?

2 Answers 2


A chord position for your example would be 0-2-3-2-3-0. You can move this up the neck by not playing the sixth string and wrapping you thumb around to fret the first string, e.g. 2-4-5-4-5-x for F#sus♭9.

You could voice F#sus♭9 as 2-2-2-1-2-2, or 2-2-2-1-2-0 to increase the presence of the ♭7. They can be played up the neck depending on your reach and how good you are at partial barres.

Gsus♭9 could be 3-3-0-1-1-1. You will have difficulty barring it but could just play x-x-2-3-3-5 for Asus♭9 for example; moving the root high and dropping the ♭7, which could still result in a workable sound depending on your purpose. If you have a large reach you could instead drop the fourth by playing x-x-2-3-8-5.

Asus♭9: x-0-0-4-5-3. Naturally this goes up the neck very nicely if you can reach for the barre.

A#sus♭9: x-1-1-1-0-1, also quite easy to play higher. Notice that if you tune your fifth string down one semitone, Asus♭9 becomes x-0-0-0-0-0.

You can of course make variations by dropping some notes (the fifth is easiest to drop while maintaining a good sound) or using ♭2 instead of ♭9 (i.e. adding it in earlier/lower, such as 5-2-0-0-1-0 for Asus♭9). You could also start with the ♭7 -- e.g. 3-0-0-4-5-3 for Asus♭9 -- or another note, though it will certainly give the chord a different flavor.

  • Note that I didn't get into the Melodic Minor chords that use a 6th, since the question seemed focused on the 1-4-5-♭7-♭9 version.
    – user28
    Aug 6, 2011 at 17:52

Are you doing 9 chords or b9 chords. It looks like some of those (e.g. -x-0-0-4-5-3) are hitting the 9th and not the b9th. To change the example chord, all you have to do is flat the note on the 3rd string (-x-0-0-3-5-3-) which is an easier chord to move around the neck in my opinion.

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