How to Play Major Chord Inversions in C on the Bass Guitar

Here, you will be walked through playing the inversions for the C major chord on the bass guitar. You can use these same patterns for any major chord inversion. In these examples, the octave is added to the C major triad, so you play four notes — root, 3, 5, and octave (C-E-G-C) — rather than three.

Here, you see the major chord with C as the root, called the root position. In this chord, C is also in the bass. Here, the term bass refers to the note that sounds the lowest in any chord. Start with the C on the 8th fret of the E string, using your middle finger, and play the C major chord.

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To play the 1st inversion chord, find the 3rd of the C major chord (it’s the E on the 7th fret of the A string). Play the C major chord starting with the 3rd in the bass. The chord is now E-G-C-E, with E being in the bass. C is still the root. Keep your hand in position by starting the inversion with your index finger on the E.

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For the 2nd inversion, find the 5th of C, which is G. You find the G on the 10th fret of the A string. G is now your starting note, but C is still the root of the chord you’re playing. Follow the grid, and keep your hand in position, starting with your middle finger. The chord is now G-C-E-G.

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