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Chord Inversions: Minor Chords


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Chord Inversions: An Introduction

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In this lesson we will apply the concept of a triad chord voicing and subsequent chord inversion voicings to minor chords.

Minor chords are defined as the 1st, 3rd & 5th note of a minor scale played at the same time. In this example I am using an A minor chord. Since the notes of the A minor scale are:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, a

Then, the A minor chord is the notes:

a, c, e

Played together this results in the triad of an A minor chord played in it's most basic form.

Pitch-wise, the lowest possible place to start playing an A minor chord on the guitar is to play the "a" on the 5th fret of the bottom E-string, the "c" on the 3rd fret of the A-string & the "e" on the 2nd fret of the D-string. This is called a Root Position chord because the notes are arranged low to high 1st, 3rd & 5th.

When you first learn to play you are limited by only knowing how to play a chord in certain specific locations on the fretboard. By applying the concept of a chord inversion you can learn every possible place to play any given chord all over the fretboard.

Notice that by playing the 1st (the note "a") one octave higher than it's original location you have created a different "voicing" for the chord. Now instead of:

1st, 3rd, 5th

a, c, e

You now have, low to high:

3rd, 5th, 1st

c, e, a

This is known as a First Inversion chord voicing. To continue the concept, move the 3rd up an octave & you will get, low to high:

5th, 1st, 3rd

e, a, c

This is a Second Inversion chord voicing. If you continue again you will move the lowest note, the 5th, up an octave & you will be right back where you started at a Root Position chord voicing, except the entire chord will be up an octave from the original location!

In this manner you can "cover the fretboard" with A minor chords!

In short, there are many places you can find the 3 notes that comprise a minor chord. The concept of chord inversions is what will help you to identify & organize them visually & auditorily.

Here is the notation for the sequence of inversions I am playing up the neck in the video. They are all A minor chords in rising inversion voicings.

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lesson notation