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What does G/B, C/G, ect... mean?

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Postby aquaticape » April 5th, 2008, 6:16 am

This question has probably already been answered but I could not figure out how to search past questions (Can't use chords). So how do you play the chord C/G when it is written over the lyrics? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
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Postby greybeard » April 5th, 2008, 7:09 am

The chord comes first, followed by a slash, followed by the note that is played in the bass position. So C/G means a C chord with a G (e.g. low E, fret 3 with a normal open C) in the bass.
The technical name for it is an inversion. The first inversion puts the 3rd degree (in a C chord - E) of the scale into the bass position and the second inversion puts the 5th into the bass (G in a C chord).
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Postby Wes Inman » April 5th, 2008, 10:32 am

Not to change anything Greybeard said, his explanation is excellent, but I think it helps to see what these chords are. Here is a G change to G/B, then C to C/G:

Code: Select all
  G               G/B         C          C/G
e-3p-----3-----3-----3-----3-----0----0------0-----0-
b-0------0-----0-----0-----0-----1i---1------1-----1-
g-0------0-----0-----0-----0-----0----0------0-----0-
d-0--------------------------------------------------
a-2m--------------2-----2-----3r----3----------------
e—3r--3-----3-----------------------------3r----3----
      1  &  2  &  3  &  4  &  1  &  2  &  3  &  4  & 



In a lot of music you will hear a descending bass line. Listen to Something by the Beatles and you will hear several descending bass lines. And this is where you will see "slash" chords often.

Here is an example of a very common descending bass line you will hear often.

Code: Select all

Descending bass line
  C     G/B     Am      G
e-----0------3-------0-------3-
b-----1------0-------1-------0-
g-----0------0-------2-------0-
d------------------------------
a--3-----2-------0-------------
e-------------------------3----



So, your chord progression is going C, G, Am, G, but they use the B note for the bass over the G chord to get the descending bass line. So when they want you to play a bass note other than the root note, they show it as a slash chord, in this case G/B.


I hope that didn't cause confusion.


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