Bored by your own guitar chord playing? Try inversions!

Guitarist Rhett Shull plays a chord inversion
(Image credit: Rhett Shull / YouTube)

Chords and rhythm: the two foundations of guitar. But what if you're getting bored by your own rhythm playing? It happens, but it's understandable as we all get into comfort zones as guitarists with the chords we use. The key is gradually building your chord and strumming vocabulary as a player without it feeling like homework. And for chord playing, inversions are the perfect blend of new possibilities and inspiring sounds to make positive changes.

A chord inversion is simply a chord when any other note other than the root is played for the bass. You're taking away the usual, expected root bass not but adding a new feel in the process. Doing this can bring a completely different mood to a chord progression. And that's why, as YouTuber and touring guitarist Rhett Shull points out in his recent video below, a lot of pro players use them because of this. They allow for more interesting chords. 

Chord inversion

(Image credit: Future)

In the example above we've removed the low G root note from a traditional G chord and it becomes G/B because B now becomes the lowest note in the chord. But an inversion can also add a different root note. 

In the example below, our thumb can be added to the familiar D chord to make it D/F#. 

chord inversion

(Image credit: Future)

It doesn't have to be a matter of changing the familiar to become something else - you can find ways to play inverted versions of your favourite chords to add new depths and put you in a better position to play lead lines between chords, as Rhett explains in his video.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.