Now, by definition, C major triad must contain a C as the root (bass) note, an E note and a G note – a total of three notes and no more. But, when we play it on a guitar we generally play five or six strings that, albeit, sound the three notes, but produce five or six pitches with 2 to 3 C notes of various pitches. It is obvious from the chord diagrams, that we play E as the root note in case of the more common, second shape (set 1).
Moreover, here we play C both as a bass as well as otherwise. Thus these are not purely “C major in root position,” though these are all “C major chords.” This is common practice and there is nothing wrong it – it’s just the way a guitar chord is played these days (not for all of classical guitar though). This concept applies to all other chords that are played with such redundant notes.
Thus, when we strike a full guitar chord, we play the chord along with its inversion(s) making most chords, not in root position.So, how do we play pure chords and inversions? (read on.)
A point to note here would be the common form of the C major chord in nut position played as x32010.
Here, the chord uses five strings to play a triad. Thus two notes viz. C and E are played twice. But the feel of the original triad, CEG is somewhat preserved as the bass note (played on the highest string – the 5th string) is still remains C. Similar examples are E major/minor, A major/minor, G major/minor, etc played using their full shapes.
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