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Secrets of Guitar Chord Inversions for Playing Rhythm Guitar

Apr 9, 2008
Chord inversions use diatonic chords and are important for playing lead guitar. There are several aspects of playing the rhythm guitar well and the mastery of using chord inversions is one of them.

When you have moved from the basic to the advanced stage, you will be able to play around with most of the chords. So you probably know how best to play the A major chord as it is one of the most elementary of all. If you are already a competent rhythm guitar then you probably know how to play the A major chord with three different variations: an open A major chord plus the two barre chord shapes, which has one with a root in the 6th string and the other with a root on the 5th string.

If you think with all these three positions you are ready to play your rhythm guitar but then here is something else that you need to know: There are several other ways of playing A major, which fall under what is called lead guitar chord inversions.

What chord inversions really mean is that you are playing the chords in inverse. If someone tells you to play a major or minor chord inversion on your lead guitar then it simply means that the major or the minor chord has to be played based on a different sequencing of the root chord, which is the 3rd and 5th.

When the root chord is right at the bottom then it can be said that the chord is "Major or Minor, Root Position". But now if we move the root chord to the top and leave the 3rd chord at the bottom then what we get is the chord "Major, or Minor, 1st Inversion". And if we raise the root further up to the middle say to the 3rd from the top then this will leave the 5th at the bottom and it will be known as chord "Major or Minor, 2nd Inversion".

When you learn how to invert the chords then it will add to your flexibility, which will help immensely while playing rhythm guitar and especially when you are trying to bring in harmony using chords. There are times when the melody can be best played using the top note of the chord and sometimes you can do it by playing the chord at the bottom or in the middle.
About the Author
E Walker is the founder of Planet of Rock Music Studios. Listen to samples of Free Backing Tracks. Find out how these Guitar Jam Tracks will bring your skills to the next level. You are just One Click Away!
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