Learn Guitar Chords - Major Inversions
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- Major Inversions
- Major Inversions 1
- Major Inversions 2
- Major Inversions 3
Inversions. That is a fancy word for playing the same chords in different positions "up the neck".
In this section we will be studying the Major Chord Inversions. If you recall there are 12 Major chords in the musical alphabet being:
A, A#/Bb, B, C C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab. Which gives us a total of 12 chords groupings to show you.
The Major chords are built using notes from the scale. Each Major Chords uses the Root or I, the Third or III and the Fifth or V of the scale. If you would write out the entire C major Scale for instance, you would have the following:
C D E F G A B C. Looking closely at that scale the I, III and V notes would be the C the E and the G or CEG. These are the only 3 notes used to make up the C major chord. Every C Major Chords will have one or more of each of these notes. Here are a few more note spellings of common Major Chords:
- G Major: GBD
- F Major: FAC
- D Major: DF#A
- A Major: AC#E
- E Major: EG#B
Since there are only 3 notes in each major chords, it stands to reason that there will be only 3 chord formations of any particular chord, right?
Well not exactly. Although in theory, this is basically true, you can contort your fingers to reach some pretty unusually chord formations on the guitar.
Also, we will be looking at full 5 or 6 string chords in this study of inversions, so we have included 3 basic chord forms.
So each of the Major Chord Forms will be given a name, and guess what, they conform with the notes within the major chord and the position in the scale. We will identify them with Roman Numerals so as not to confuse you with fret, finger or string numbers.
So the C major chord would have inversions based on the C chord notes as follows:
C E G - the note spelling
I III V - the Inversion Name
Now lets look at the chord forms we will be memorizing:
It is possible to play just parts of these chord forms too. In other words you don't need to play a full 5 or 6 string form. Maybe you want to play only the top 3 or 4 strings. These are still inversions and still Major Chords, you are just playing fewer notes.
If you do play 3 notes chords, they are more often referred to as a triad, meaning 3 notes.
This is inversion form I. This looks like a full F# bar chord doesn't it? That's because it is. You can however play this chord up the neck and it becomes several chords.
The root of the Chord or the Chords name if taken from the first string, which is an F# or the Roman Numeral "I"
If you were to play an F Major chord with this form it would be played on the 1st fret. 3rd fret would be a G, 5th fret an A and so on.....
This is inversion form III. This may or may not be a familiar chord for you. On the acoustic or classical guitar, it is typically quite a difficult chord to play. Non-the-less, it is the Form III of the major chord.
The inversion of the Chord or the Chords name if taken from the first string again, and is given the Roman Numeral "III", because it is the 3rd note of the scale.
If you were to play a D Major chord with this form, you would play it on the 2nd fret. On the 4th fret it becomes an E Major and the 5th fret is an F Major.
This is inversion form V. Again, this may or may not be a familiar chord for you. On the acoustic or classical guitar, it is typically quite a difficult chord to play. Non-the-less, it is the Form V of the major chord.
The inversion of the Chord or the Chords name if taken from the first string again, and is given the Roman Numeral "V", because it is the 5th note of the scale.
Playing this chord on the 1st fret would result in a Bb Major chord, on the 3rd fret it would be a C major and on the 5th it would be a D major chord.
To look at the three pages of inversion, please select one of the tabs at the top of this article.
If you like, you can also download a free PDF of these chords by clicking on this Major Inversions link.