Ultimate Guitar Lesson

VI. Inversions and Slash Chords

An inverted chord is one whose root is not in the bass.

Voicing Specifies Name Notes
Root position root in bass Cmaj7 C-E-G-B
1st inversion 3rd in bass Cmaj7/E E-C-G-B
2nd inversion 5th in bass Cmaj7/G G-C-E-B
3rd inversion 7th in bass Cmaj7/B B-E-G-C

Triads and extended chords may also be inverted in the same way. After the specified bass note, the others may be in any order.

To specify the bass note, just write it after the slash. You can also use the slash method to put a non-chord tone (9, 11, b5, or anything) in the bass. Sometimes this is easier than writing a complex chord name.

Easy Name Hard Name Notes
D/F F13b9(no5, 7) F F# A D

A horizontal slash denotes a polychord: two chords played simultaneously, with the upper one in the higher octave.

Bbmi B D# F# Bb Db F
B 1 3 5 7 9 #11
The above notation is a way of specifying a Bmaj9#11 chord.