👋 Hey! Sorry for the time between my last series and this topic – I’ve been super busy – but I’m back with another fun and exciting lesson! Today we’re going to be looking at Major 7 Chord Inversions! I’m excited to discuss this technique as Chord Inversions can be quite tricky to memorize and master all at once. Not only do you have Chord Inversions on your 6th String Root, 5th String Root, and 4th String Root, but you have Major 7th, Dominant 7th, Minor 7th, and Minor 7th (♭5) to learn as well.
Along with a bucket of Chord Inversions to learn, I see most inversions shown linearly, going up the fretboard and staying on the same string root. This method makes it a bit harder for me to learn Chord Inversions as I don’t think “linearly” when playing guitar. I like to think in positions. So, today, I’m teaching an inspiring and useful way to memorize Chord Inversions: by thinking of them as Arpeggios!
Chord Inversions As Positional Arpeggios
As mentioned above, I see most Chord Inversion charts showing the inversions linearly – which I still use, especially in walking bass lines. So, if we take a GMajor7th Chord, we normally see a Root Layout like so:
However, it can be challenging to memorize all inversions this way. Let’s think in positions, like a scale or arpeggio, to achieve this, like so:
So, instead of spanning our chord root on one string, we are going to break this up into a positional arpeggio so we can think in positions, rather than just memorizing voicings. This method helps with the following:
- Learn Chord Inversions faster
- Learn all E, A, and D – Root voicings at once
- Make mental connections to voicings to create cool musical lines
Sold? Cool. Let’s get into the Major 7th Voicings, grouped in pairs of 4:
Major 7 Chord Inversions:
For this lesson, I’m going to using Major 7 Chord Inversions in the key of G (G – B – D – F♯). Three important notes before we proceed:
- We are focusing on the Melody Note. We want to arpeggiate the Melody. The root might not fall in a perfect arpeggio.
- Some Chord Inversions are difficult to grab (I’m looking at you, 5th on the A String below…). If you find yourself struggling, try substituting another note or try a different grip.
- Again, Pay attention to the melody note! 😀 This is Chord Melody guitar after all, and I want you to focus on the melody note and it’s surrounding tensions / extensions.
To practice the Major 7th Chord Inversions above, set a metronome to a low BPM (always practice slowly to be more efficient and reduce injury) and run these chords up and down the neck. Then, don’t look at the chord diagrams to help commit them to memory.
Lastly and most importantly, incorporate them in a song while comping. I’m thinking “Misty” when there are a few 2-Bar Major Chord stretches.
Okay, that’s it for now! Stay tuned for part 2, which will feature Dominant 7th Voicings. As always, Let me know what you think below!
Want to download a PDF of this lesson? Click below.