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Guitar Skills: 2nd Inversion Chords

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

This is a level 3 skills in the Triquetrae Guitar programme.

Second inversion’; what do these words mean? Is that even English? Let me address these questions. First of all, yes, those are two words found in many English dictionaries. Second of all;

‘Chords’ are two or more notes occurring at the same time. If you sing a note, and your friend sings a note at the same time, you will have created a chord. Applying this to a piano, if we play a C, and play two other notes above that, E and G, then we have created a major chord; the basic building block on which all western music is constructed. The notes of C major are C, E and G.

Now for the immense question posed at the start of this post. If we take our C, E and G, and move our C up to the next C on the piano, we will have created an inversion, specifically a first inversion. If we do the same for our E, we will have created a second inversion chord. Our notes therefore are; G, C, E. These are still the same notes as we had before, just rearranged. Of course when we move our G up we’re back to our regular CEG.

If we put these notes on a guitar, we get a shape that resembles the D major you no doubt already know. Had we rearranged a minor chord in this fashion, we will have a shape that resembles a D minor chord. These are our two basic chord shapes, and we can move these up the fretboard to make different chords to fit our various songal needs (relating to songs, not ‘a handful or small amount of gleaned corn’)

These shapes found in the blog can be put anywhere on the fretboard, as long as you know the notes of the B string, the second highest string on the guitar. If you know that the 8th fret of the B string is a G, then you know how to play both a G major and G minor in second inversion.

If we know that the 5th fret is E, then we know both an E major and an E minor. More examples?

Too bad. I am not writing any more examples; you will have to learn the notes of the B string yourself.

However armed with this knowledge you can try for yourself to create second inversion shapes on guitar. Knowledge is power; the more musical weapons of mass destruction you have in your arsenal, the less likely you are to be musically invaded; whatever that may entail

Download the Worksheet

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