What are Inversions?

What are Inversions?


What are inversions and why are they useful?


Let’s begin with look at how chords are made. Chords are made up of different notes from the major scale placed in convenient locations across the fretboard of the guitar allowing them to be played simultaneously. As we often see these take the form of what we call ‘open chords. These are the chords that focus on using fretting positions around the first three frets of the guitar neck and utilizing the open string notes for ease of playing. An inversion, however, is a way of playing this same group of notes but in a different place across the guitar neck. This is useful for a couple of different reasons, the first being that it opens our guitar playing up to being able to create more different sounds and moods on this guitar using the same chords we already know and understand. The second is that we can play with the pitch order of the chords for example, in the simple open chord form of C major the lowest pitch note is the bass note C followed by E then G then C and E respectively. Using different inversion can allow us to use the same grouping of a few tones but in a different order. Here are some examples of inversions of C7 using the notes C, E, and Bb






Try playing some of these different inversions of the C7 chord and adding them into your twelve bar sequences to add some cool jazzy flavors to the sound of your rhythm playing.