Playing Chords in Different Spots (Inversions)

Lesson
Materials

Quick Review:

The notes of a chord can be played in all sorts of positions and locations. There are a few standard positions we can learn to make playing chords go smoothly and easily. 

It’s easier to learn chords in root position but as you may have noticed, sometimes you need to jump a long way with your hand in order to play the next chord. When you play a chord in a different order, you can minimize moving far and wide and just play the notes that are close by.
The technical name for doing this is inversions. You’re playing inversions of a chord.

The G chord in root position is G B D. The G chord in it’s first inversion is B D G. The G chord in it’s second inversion is D G B.

G major

Let’s go through G and it’s inversions, solid.

Right hand:

Root position G B D.

First inversion B D G – remember to use fingers 1 2 5.

Second inversion D G B.

Root position.

Now to play them broken, we play G B D – B D G – D G B – G B D.

Try and keep all of the notes nice and even. If you need to go quite slowly to do so, that’s exactly what you should do. 


F major

Let’s go through a few more chords now. Starting with F. 

Root position F A C.

First inversion A C F.

Second inversion C F A.

Root position F A C.
 


D major

Next we’ll try D major. Now it has a black note in there but it’s the same fingering.

Root position D F# A.

First inversion F# A D.

Second inversion A D F#.

Root position D F# A.

Did it feel different? If it did, don’t worry, many people need a few run throughs to get comfortable with this.
 


A major

Alright, now for the left hand. Let’s do A major next which has the notes A C# E.

Left hand:

Root position 5 3 1.

First inversion 5 3 1.

Second inversion 5 2 1.

Root position 5 3 1.
 


Eb major

Let’s also play E flat. This is a different shape as well but it’ll still use the same fingers. The notes of this chord are E flat, G, B flat. So we’ll play 5 3 1, 5 3 1, 5 21, 5 3 1.

Exercises

Choose any of these inversions to practice for a week. Then try moving on to a new chord.