Chord Inversions

When you actually get to look at the succession of chords in a song, it can be pretty intimidating when you see the inversions come up. Chord inversions are something that seems to be really intimidating for most beginner guitar players.

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And there are a lot of guitar players who just shrug off the learning of chord inversions just because they think that it is difficult to learn and that they will be able to become really successful guitar players without even learning these inversions.

What you might not know is that the chord inversions could be something that you really need to learn for you to be able to get the exact chord that would fit the song.

Chord inversions are chords made in the same bass chord. The lowest note of the chord is the tonic. When you execute the chord, you will maintain that lowest chord. Every time you execute a chord in the root or the tonic, this means the chord is an inversion.

In the case of a C chord for example, any chord executed with C as the bass is an inversion of the C chord.

Most of the time, chords are played with about three or four notes fingered on the guitar. This means that you might be fingering two or three notes on the bass position.

In a C chord for example, you need to finger C, E and G. On a Cmaj7, you have a C, E, G, B.

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There are three types of chord inversions. They are respectively and aptly called first, second and third inversions. The first inversion calls for the 3rd of the chord on the bass note. This gives the term for it.

The first inversion of the chord requires the 3rd of the chord be the first note after the root. The second inversion, now, has the 5th of the chord on a bass position.

The terminology is derived from the idea of the 5th of the chord being the second tone after the tonic or the bass. And as you may have realized by now, the third inversion requires having its 7th as the bass. You get the drift, don’t you?

Let’s take for example a Cmaj7. The chord is played with a C, E, G and B. On the first inversion, you will be getting an E, G, B and C. Of course that would be too difficult to perform in the exact order.

So you would have to rearrange the notes in such a ways that your fingers will be able to accommodate the notes. This process is known as the drop-two voicing. The new arrangement will be E, B, C and G.

When you actually think about it, it’s not really that difficult. Here is a list of the steps you need to take in order to create the inversions:

1. Take note of all the notes used in the chord according to the root positions.

2. Take the first note and place it in the last position or at the back of the line of chords.

3. The second note follows suit, taking the last place.

4. Finger the new chord out on the fret board.

5. Repeat the steps this time using the notes from the first inversion.

It’s not too difficult after all, isn’t it?

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About The Author: Harvey Mosley started developing his passion for music at age of 10. He learned to play guitar songs at age of 13 and pursued his love of music since then. He owns now a music studio and inspires many students to learn to play guitar songs. Visit for more guitar song lessons.

Article Source: Chord Inversions

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