Watch the Major Triad Inversions on Low Strings online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Chord Revolution: Foundations
I will now talk about chord inversions. Basically what we're doing is inverting the notes of a fundamental triad. These are all triads. We're going to move now to the key of E and we're going to invert the three notes of a basic E triad. Triad is tonic or root, third, and fifth. That's your basic triad. First step of the major scale, third step of the major scale, fifth step of the major scale. I'm going to play this voicing, for E. This is root, fifth, and third. Some of you might find this a little bit awkward, because I am indeed damping the D string, and I'm not playing the two above. We're going to invert those three notes. I'm going to put the third in the root, the tonic here, the fifth above. Now we're going to put the fifth in the root, third, and the tonic above.
Now all three of these are E major triads. The notes are not changing, they're simply being inverted, moved around and displaced. They're a little further apart in certain cases than they were with your basic triad, they are still E chords. This allows you to do things differently than whatever else is happening around you. You want to move up, so this is the function of different chord voicings. You have a different voicing, because it's appropriate for a certain situation. You want to hear the fifth in the root. You want to hear the third in the root. These things are important to create a sound and give you a whole other dimension to the pallet of the music that you're playing. I'd really like to ask you to learn how to play these things. Those are your basic chord voicings. Start on the low open E string, moving up to a third, fifth, and the root, then I play the octave above that. These will expand and can be played all over the guitar in many different ways. Just understand the concept that you're not playing a different chord, you're still playing E. You're just playing it with a different root note chosen from your basic triad, displacing the notes. And again, you want to learn how to do this all over your instrument.