Watch the 11: Triads and Inversions online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar
Inversions are the various ways to play a chord. In essence, you play the same notes of a chord, but arranged in a different order. Chord inversions are an important part of your study; they add variety to your rhythm playing and really help build excitement when accompanying a soloist.
Included in this course is an encyclopedia of chord inversions that I prepared called, Inversion Excursion. Inversions are a lifelong study and should be approached as such. Inversion Excursion is a great reference, but it is important to learn how to find inversions on you own. When working with inversions, strive to recognize the sound of them.
1. Finger the C major triad (C-E-G) on the top 3 strings as follows: C on the 5th fret of the 3rd string, E on the 5th fret of the 2nd string and G on the 3rd fret of the 1st string.
2. Find the 1st inversion of the chord on the same 3 strings by identifying the next chord tone (i.e., C-E-G) on each of the 3 strings.
3. Find the 2nd and final inversion on the same 3 strings following the same procedure (i.e., identifying the next chord tone on each of the 3 strings).
4. Repeat the lesson on each set of strings using major and minor triads.
5. Included in this chapter is a chord shapes supplement to help you get started.
6. Work out all sets of triads on each set of 3 strings, this time skipping one string. We refer to these as "spread voicings."
7. Apply this approach to all major and minor triads.
8. Do this exercise in other keys with the goal of learning your inversions in all 12 keys.
9. Refer to the Inversion Excursion supplement and take a key or 2 a day and incorporate the inversions into your practice routine.