Chord inversions for guitar (drop 3)
If you stack the notes of a chord in a different order than usual—e.g. playing the 3rd note as the bass instead of the root—you have created a "chord inversion". If you continue to change the order of the notes in the chord, playing a different note in the bass, you create different inversions of that chord.
Since the different chord shapes consist of the same notes, they are essentially the same chord. But they sound differently. Each chord inversion has its own flavor and character that gives it a unique voice – and because of that, they are often referred to as "chord voicings".
The following chords are called "drop 3 chords" because they initially are constructed by "dropping" the 3rd note from the top (in this case the 3rd) down an octave. This creates a chord shape with a mute string between the two lowest notes (unlike drop 2 chords, that doesn't contain string skips). The drop 3 chords are great for parts where you want the bass line to stand out.
Drop 3 chord structure:
- Root Position: Root-7th-3rd-5th
- 1st Inversion: 3rd-Root-5th-7th
- 2nd Inversion: 5th-3rd-7th-Root
- 3rd Inversion: 7th-5th-Root-3rd
The chords below are inversions of A chords, but you can easily move them up or down the fretboard to change the key – the chord shapes stay the same.