How to Play Barre Chord Inversions in Fingerstyle Guitar

Learn how to play barre chord inversions from guitarist Adam Smale in this online fingerstyle guitar lesson from Howcast.


So, to create some new sounds with your bar chords, we're going to talk about bar chord inversions. We are going to take our R5 and our R6 chords that we have talked about before, and let's start with R5, I'm going to take this C major R5 chord shape and I am going to play some inversions.

Now, you might not know what an inversion is, but all inversion means when it comes to chords is that you are flipping the notes around. Instead of having the C as my lowest note, I'm going to go to the next note in the chord, which happens to be E. I have that as my lowest note. It's still a C chord. It sounds the same, yet different, kind of like an oxymoron.

My E is the lowest note on the fifth string. Now, I am going to play this voicing here, which is very similar to an F chord that you know down here, but up here it's C major. Now G is in the bass.

So, this might come in handy when you're jamming along on a chord and you're getting really bored just playing the same voicing over and over and over again. You can [playing guitar] switch things around so that it creates a little more interest, not only for you, but also for the listener.

So let's explore the sixth string. You can do the same type of approach on the sixth string. I'm going to play a G bar chord, R6, G major, and we're going to switch notes around to create our inversions. In G, with G on the bottom, it's our root position. And I do this as my first inversion with B in the bottom.

Then I can do this here, borrowing from our five shake, but I'm actually reaching down and grabbing the fifth of the chord which creates our second inversion, our last inversion for a major chord.

So, let's go through this again. G, G over B, for our first inversion. Then G over D just to create some new sounds. And there you have some bar chord inversions for you.

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