What Is An Inversion
What is an inversion? To understand inversions we first need to understand chord construction and, for this lesson, the construction of major and minor triads.
Lessons on Triads can be found here
As a quick primer, a Major Triad consists of the Root, Major 3rd and Perfect 5th. Below is a fingering for a C Major Triad:
Minor Triads consist of the Root, a Minor 3rd and a Perfect 5th. Below is a fingering for a C Minor triad:
When we create an inversion of a chord we simply build up from a note other than the root. The C Major Triad is spelled C E G. But if we use that same set of notes, building from E we find the sequence of E G C.
Below we see a First inversion C Major Triad:
If we build C Major up from the G we find the sequence of G C E.
Below we see a fingering for a Second Inversion C Major Triad:
By continuing this set of patterns for the C Major Triad we could play the arpeggios in a continuous line up the fretboard:
Minor Triad Inversion
We can do exactly the same thing for the minor triad too. Below we see the First Inversion C Minor Triad:
Here we have the Second Inversion C Minor Triad:
Exercise: Try playing the inversions of each major and triad through the Cycle Of 5ths and Cycle Of 4ths
Arpeggios In A Single Position
By using inversions it’s possible to view and play all chord tones of a chord progression within a single restricted position. If we take the chord progression of C- F – G – C. We can play each arpeggio in a single position as follows:
C Major Root Position:
F Major Second Inversion:
G Major First Inversion:
Master Blaster (Jammin’)
The verse riff for Master Blaster (Jammin’) by Stevie Wonder is a great example of using inversions within a bass line.