This was a project that was long overdue for me; a chart showing the five basic seventh chords in root position and in three inversions. To review, the three possible inversions of a seventh chord are:
- First inversion (third of chord in bass)
- Second inversion (fifth of chord in bass)
- Third inversion (seventh of chord in bass)
For consistency I begin with a root position major seventh chord with root located on the sixth, fifth and fourth strings. Then, maintaining the same string sets, I move to the first, second and third inversion voicings by moving each chord tone of my initial root position voicing to the next nearest chord tone of my inversions. For example:
- GMaj7, root position (voicing G F# B D) moves to:
- GMaj7, first inversion (voicing B G D F#) which moves to:
- GMaj7, second inversion (voicing D B F# G) and so on.
I continue this pattern through all five basic seventh chords using three different string sets. Of course these voicings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seventh chords and inversions, but I thought these were some of the most practical as they are commonly used and for the most part comfortable to play.
When going through these I found quite a few new voicings as I always do. You would think I would have seen it all by now, yet I find new voicings nearly every day! Work on these for a bit and we will put them into the context of ii-V-I progressions next, using good smooth voice-leading. The pdf file below shows the voicings with notation and diagrams.