Pages Navigation Menu

Inverted Major Shapes With Open String Infusions

One technique I like to use a lot in my own style is shifting open shapes further up the fretboard whilst keeping the open strings intact. In this lesson we will begin with an open Cmaj7 chord with an added G on the bottom, leaving us with an inversion. For those that don’t know, when the root note is no longer on the bottom, the chord is inverted. In this case, the fifth (G) is found on the bottom instead of C.

These voicings are heavily reminiscent of Robin Guthrie and create an airy foundation, allowing for more colourful layers to be sprinkled on top.


How To Use Major 7 Chord Shapes With Open Strings





Technique-wise, there’s nothing incredibly difficult about the idea, but it’s a good test for the more heavy-handed out there. The wiggly lines in the transcription indicate a gentle ripple through the strings as opposed to just whacking them. This is related to sweep picking but nowhere near as difficult. Just hold the pick lightly, then gently ‘brush’ from the sixth string down. Listen to the audio example so you can hear how I do it.

Remember, all we’re doing is shifting the exact same shape further up the fretboard and taking advantage of the fact that the open strings work well with each shift. This is because we are playing in the key of C major, which means any open strings we use will generally sound OK, provided they are strings one, two and three, like we are doing here. Bass strings can be trickier to use because of their ability to dominate the sound and define the voicing.

By now you’ve probably noticed that the third and fourth chords are identical to the first and second, only in a higher octave. Whatever open shapes you decide to try out when employing this shifting technique will work in the higher octave, provided they work in the lower octave to begin with!