Slash chords drop 3 guitar shapes 1

Slash Chords For Guitar - Lesson With Charts And Diagrams

Slash chords, distinguished by a chord followed by a forward slash and a bass note (e.g., C/G), are a powerful tool for enriching your guitar sound.

This guitar lesson for beginners unravels the mystery behind slash chords, revealing how they redefine familiar shapes and add a touch of sophistication to your chord progressions.

What's A Slash Chord?

A slash chord in music refers to a chord written in the form "X/Y," where X is the chord's root note, and Y is the bass note.

This indicates that the chord should be played with a bass note different from its root. The symbol "/" (slash) is used to separate the chord and the bass note.

Example with C major : A basic C major chord is made of three notes that are C (root) E (third) G (fifth).

When putting the fifth (G) in the bass, we get a new voicing (G C E) which is named "C major chord with fifth in the bass". This chord will be noted C/G.

What is a slash chord on guitar

Notice that the bass note does not necessarily belong to the chord, it can be any other. E.G : C/B, C/D, etc...

Slash chords are used to :

  • Simplified method for interpreting complexe chord notations. For example CMaj7#9#11 can simply be written B/C.
  • To create chromatic bass lines to connect chords together.
  • To re-harmonize a piece.
  • To name easily inverted chords.

Most slash shords majoritarily feature a major triad on top. Nevertheless, other types of chords can also be employed as :

  • minor
  • diminished
  • augmented

Basic Slash Chord Shapes

Here are 8 common and popular slash chord voicing shape for guitar : 

  1. C/G (C major with G bass).
  2. D/F# (D major with F# bass).
  3. G/B (G major with B bass).
  4. A/C# (A major with C# bass).
  5. Am/C (A minor with c bass).
  6. Am/G (A minor with G bass). In this example G doesn't belong to the Am chord. It is actually the b7 of A, meaning that it can be also be named Am7/G.
  7. D/A (D major with A bass).
  8. C/E (C major with E bass).
Slash chords guitar shapes

Same Triad With 12 Bass notes

The exercise below implies a G major triad (G - B - D) played with 12 different bass notes, actually the 12 notes of the chromatic scale

The aim being to train your ear to hear what the consonant and dissonant triads are.

Notice that in the first bar we will be using a close voiced triad in root position with bass notes on the 6th string.

In the measure 2, 3 and 4, we will be using an inversion of the triad (D - G - B).

Try to developp these exercices by : 

  • Changing the type of triad (minor, augmented, diminished).
  • Choosing an another inversion of the triad (so another fingering)
  • Playing the triads in all twelve keys (A, Bb, C).
  • Playing descending or random bass notes lines.
Slash chords for guitar

Same Bass Note With 12 Triads

Contrary to the previous exercise, we will keep playing the same bass note over 12 different triads.

Guitar slash chords

Here is a chart listing slash chords using major triads with C in the bass and their common names. Try to replace your usual chord positions by slash chord voicings.

C/C C E G / C Cmaj
Db/C Db F Ab / C Dbmaj7
D/C D F# A / C D7
Eb/C Eb G Bb / C Cm7
E/C E G# B / C Cmaj#5
F/C F A C / C Fmaj
Gb/C Gb Bb Db / C C7b5b9
G/C G B D / C Cmaj9

Ab C Eb / C


A/C A C E / C C13b9
Bb/C Bb D Eb / C Cm11 - C7sus4
B/C B D# F# / C Cmaj7#9#11


Inverted Chords

Inverted chords are chords in which the notes are rearranged so that a note other than the root is the lowest pitch. Inverted chords are commonly noted with a slash as shown in the drop 2 and drop 3 examples below.

Drop 2 Chords

These notations indicate the chord quality (major seventh) along with the bass note, providing a clear representation of the different inversions of the Cmaj7 chord using the Drop 2 voicing technique (second highest note dropped in the bass).

Inverted chords are noted with a slash followed by the bass note.

  1. Cmaj7 (Root Position): Notation: Cmaj7 - Voicing: C E B G
  2. Cmaj7 (1st Inversion): Notation: Cmaj7/E - Voicing: E B C G
  3. Cmaj7 (2nd Inversion): Notation: Cmaj7/G - Voicing: G C E B
  4. Cmaj7 (3rd Inversion): Notation: Cmaj7/B - Voicing: B E G C
Slash chords drop 2 guitar shapes

Drop 3 Chords

To get a Drop 3 voicing, you take a closed-position chord and drop the third-highest note by an octave. The following notations and diagrams indicate the chord quality (major seventh) along with the bass note for each inversion.

  1. Cmaj7 (Root Position): Notation: Cmaj7 - Voicing: E B C G
  2. Cmaj7 (1st Inversion): Notation: Cmaj7/E - Voicing: G C E B
  3. Cmaj7 (2nd Inversion): Notation: Cmaj7/G - Voicing: B E G C
  4. Cmaj7 (3rd Inversion): Notation: Cmaj7/B - Voicing: C E B G
Slash chords drop 3 guitar shapes

Try to experiment with all chord families. You'll find the interval formulas and voicing shapes in this Guitar Chord Dictionary.

Exercises Over 2 5 1 Progressions

Here are some examples on how to apply slash chords over a 2 5 1 progression.

The first exercise in C major implies a drop 3 Dm7 in root position which is actually an F major triad with D in the bass (F/D).

The second chord is G7/Db which can be seens as Db7b5, tritone substitution for G7.

The third chord is a G major triad with C in the bass (G/C), it can also be named Cmaj9.

Slash chords 2 5 1 for guitar

This second example is a G major 2 5 1 progression implying a drop 3 Am7 with root in the bass, actually a C major triad with A in the bass (C/A).

The second voicing is a D major triad with C in the bass (D/C), it is made of the same notes as D7.

The third chord is a drop 3 Gmaj7 followed by its 1st inversion with third in the bass (Gmaj7/B)

Slash chords 2 5 1 progression guitar

The third and last example of this lesson is a C major 2 5 1 progression.

It implies an Am7/C chord, best known as C6.

The second chord is a D major triad with C in the bass, actually a D7 with b7 in the bass. This is the same voicing as the D7 in the previous exercise, but the top notes are played on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd string instead or 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

It ends with a common C6/9 chord.

Slash guitar chords 2 5 1 sequence
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