Intro: beyond add9s
If you've ever heard Andy Summers' work in The Police, you'll be familiar with those stretchy add9 and minor add9 shapes found in Every Breath You Take and plenty of other Police songs.
Added ninths sound great, but those shapes have become a cliché, so let us expand your chord vocab with a few variations…
Aadd9 à la Summers
Having twisted your fingers around our first shape, do you get what we mean by ‘Andy Summers chords’? This is the classic Every Breath configuration.
Aadd9 first inversion
Simply rearranging the notes and creating a new voicing can be a great approach, especially with chords of four or more notes.
For this pleasantly shimmering shape, the lowest note is the major third, making it a first inversion. For navigational purposes, the root is on the D string.
Simple Am add9
Or how about going for the simplest option - a straight triad, with the 9th on top? Here’s the A minor version; to make it a standard add9, just raise the G string note by one fret.
Aadd9 (B string root)
Played out of context, it’s not immediately apparent what this is, but stick an A bass note underneath and it’s definitely an Aadd9, but with the root up on the B string. Lower the top E string by a fret to create the minor version.