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I heard that if there is a chord written like x/y then that means an x chord with y in the bass. This can be played by playing x normally, but then playing the y note on the 6th string, correct?

Then what about G/B? B on the 6th string is the same as the B on the 5th string 2nd fret. That note is already played in a G chord. So does that mean that all notes lower than that note are omitted?

Here is a list of ways to play G/B. The only one that makes sense to me is 7. 1 is very similar to 7, except instead of playing B on the second string D is played. Won't that sound different? How can these two be the same chord?

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2  
Keep in mind that when playing with a bass player (who will likely be on the B), any voicing that doesn't emphasize the G in the root (which would clash with the bass) will work. Indeed, you can just take normal G voicings and omit the root. When playing solo, on the other hand, it's important to indicate the root of the chord. –  Rein Henrichs May 31 '11 at 18:47
    
Related: music.stackexchange.com/questions/2445/… –  Rein Henrichs May 31 '11 at 18:48
    
I think we can improve this question by making it general instead of only specific to Guitars. Or at least make it clear that you are only asking about Guitar in your title. –  Phelios May 30 '13 at 2:09

4 Answers 4

In the G/B chord you play a normal G with B as a bass. That means that the lowest note you have is a B. Since a G chord contains the notes G D and B you can play a G chord from any position as long as you play B as a bass.

As you can see in all the examples from your link the lowest note is always a B. That is also why you leave out the 6th string from your normal G chord. You will still have a higher G as well as a higher D in the same chord, but now the bass note is a B instead of a G.

Chords are made out of at least three different notes. A G major chord is G B D. The different chord positions will sound a bit different but the harmonies are the same, and since you are only playing G B and D it will still be a G chord.

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Technically, chords are made out of at least two different notes. Pedantic Man, away! –  Rein Henrichs May 31 '11 at 18:48
3  
Technically, perhaps, but in practical use a major or minor chord is a triad meaning three notes. –  Wheat Williams Sep 11 '11 at 3:36

You've pretty much got it figured out.

If you read G/B as "G over B" it makes sense that your lowest note needs to be a B. There is nothing that says what string the B has to be played on, only that the G chord has to be above B. So, you can voice the chord up and down the neck, and keep the lowest note a B.

When this is really important is when there's a moving line in the harmony and is a B at that point.

When arranging for a group I'd often let a guitar ignore that voicing if I had other instruments that were moving the harmony line already. It just depends on how strong that note/harmony needs to be in the overall sound of the band.

And, for the theory of it, it's really a G chord in first inversion.

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Everyone else above has talked about the theory related to this question, but here's an actual G/B chord voicing that may help you out.

-x-
-8- (4th finger)
-7- (3rd finger)
-5- (1st finger)
-x-
-7- (2nd finger)

...where the root is on the D string (where your first finger is).

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One of the purposes of a slash chord is to make the bass move stepwise. So it you don't have a bass player, you might want to look at the voicings of the surrounding chords as well to make the bass move as desired.

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In this example, withholding the content of this chord and the progression, this makes the most sense as it usually highlights the IV chord motion. –  Shawn Strickland May 30 '13 at 4:14

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