I'm playing the following voicing of a C7 chord on the guitar:

enter image description here

Strictly speaking this would be denoted as a C7/A♯ slash chord.

But I'm trying to figure out what voicing name this would have.

Is this just a 3rd inversion or some other voicing name?

Let me explain why I'm confused...

A C7 in close position would be:

1 (C), 3 (E), 5 (G), ♭7 (B♭)

For me to construct the voicing shown in the image above, I would (in a practical sense), see that I needed to drop the ♭7 by an octave so it was played on the D string of the guitar. Which would then require me to move the root (C) up an octave (as I couldn't play both the ♭7 and the root on the same string).

In doing that, from a degree perspective, what we have now is:

♭7 (B♭), 3 (E), 5 (G), 1 (C)

Because the ♭7 is now in bass position, this suggests the voicing is a 3rd inversion of the chord. But the remaining degrees are not in order. Does that matter?

e.g. I would've thought a strict 3rd inversion to be ♭7, 1, 3, 5

On a side note: I've been led to believe there are scenarios where a voicing could be called something like "drop n of n inversion", is that correct? I don't think that would apply to my primary question above. But I believe what I would've called a "drop 2 of Cmaj7" (just for example) could also have been called a "drop 2 of Cmaj7 2nd inversion" because the particular voicing I would likely use on the four high strings - d,g,b,e - would have the 5th degree in the bass position, which by definition is kinda of like a 2nd inversion of the chord


The lowest note played in a chord denotes its inversion, regardless of the order of the higher notes, Thus, in C7, root position has C at the bottom, 1st inv. has E, 2nd inv. has G and 3rd inv. has Bb. The other notes need to be there (with the exception on occasions of 5), to constitute the named chord, of course.

It would be called C7/Bb (not C7/A#,as A# is an aug 6, we need b7).

On guitar there is sometimes a problem in that certain voicings cannot comfortably be fingered, thus a 5th may need to be left out, and sometimes it makes sense to double other notes, usually an octave apart.

There is a naming system called 'drop x' which you are aware of, and this is how the voicing you mention gets named.

Incidentally, you mention Cmaj7, which on guitar at least, doesn't sound good with a C note on the top string. The other inversions work well, but that one just doesn't seem to sound convincing.


Inversion naming depends only on what the lowest note is. It tells us nothing about the voicing. So yes, it's C7, 3rd inversion.

If you wanted to describe the voicing, 'raise 2' might seem more appropriate than 'drop 2' :-)

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