SMG Guitar Lesson #31: Major Chord Inversions

Major Chords are a common type of chord in three part harmony consisting of a root, and major 3rd, and 5th interval. Major chords tend to have a bright, cheery, and harmonious sound.

Because they are so common, (and so useful!), it’s important to be able to invert major chords into each octave position. Below is a chart that shows you how to do this with the five positions labeled as “P1-P5” and root notes represented as squares. Study this chart carefully and make sure you can connect the octave positions along the fret board for any root note.

Test your ability by seeing if you can take the riff from ‘Wild Thing’ (which is pretty much the same as “Louie Louie) and invert it up the fret board. This is a great exercise, as it involves the I, IV, and V chords, i.e., all common chords from the major key. Pay close attention to which positions are used as we move up the fret board. Here, we’ll play C, F, and G from the key of C Major, just to keep things simple. Eventually though, if you want to master the guitar, you’ll need to be able to do this in all 12 keys.

If you’re into lead guitar, you’ll also want to practice your major chord arpeggios in each position, as they are like the bread and butter of lead guitar playing. And for those of you who are metal heads out there, this is also a great exercise for practicing sweep picking. The exercises below are written for the root note of G, but, of course the same shapes and patterns will apply to all major chord arpeggios.

This has been an excerpt from my e-book on Chord Inversions. If you’re ready to learn more, you can get your copy HERE

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