Watch the Inversions in a Solo Setting online guitar lesson by Matthieu Brandt from Songwriting on Guitar
Aside from playing chords in their root position (root of the chord played in the bass, meaning the lowest) we can color a chord by throwing the chord tones around. The most obvious way of doing this is to change the bass note and play one of the other chord tones that's not the root, as the lowest note. In three note major and minor chords, these notes are the third of the chord (major or minor) and the fifth. These notes will give the chord an unsettling sound and will propel the progression forward. The chords will be inverted. When the third of the chord lies in the bottom, the chord is said to be a first inversion. When the fifth of the chord is played as the lowest note, the chord is in second inversion.
The reasons to use an inversion as a songwriter is:
- to create a nice bass line
- to create a little more tension on a specific chord