Drop 2 Chords Chart (Advanced Chord Lesson) | Hub Guitar

Drop 2 Chords Chart (Advanced Chord Lesson)

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"Dropped" chords are used for building chord structures that fit better on the guitar than closed-position chords.

Let's take a look at a Bb major 7 chord in closed position. That means the chord's total width is less than an octave.

So this is a Bb major 7 chord. Now that works fine. But if I try to put the chord in first inversion, with the third of the chord on the bottom, everything will spin out of control. Because the Bb has to go up to D on the XII fret, and D has to go up to F. So what's gonna happen is this chord is going to span way further than I really want to play. It's gonna go across 7 frets and it's gonna be really hard to play. So that's not gonna work very well. The chord would stretch across 8 frets and it's nearly impossible to play.

That's because the guitar is tuned in fourths. The easiest intervals to play chords with are fourths, fifths, and similar. If you try to play chords using a lot of thirds, they'll often stretch across too many frets.

So we're going to modify the maj7 shape a bit to make it fit on the guitar.

For a drop 2, I'm going to DROP the second note from the top. This is a bit counter intuitive but this is a rare case where we'll count the chord notes from the top. I'll drop the second note from the top down an octave. Now it starts with this pattern, I drop the F down an octave and I have this pattern. Now I can take this A and put it on the second string which is free.

Now the whole chord fits into a drop 2 shape. Note that the chord is now an inversion because I dropped the 5th into the bass. Now it's a second inversion chord.

So if we follow this structure through to all of the inversions, we'll find they're a lot easier to play than inversions of the closed chord.

I'm going to cheat now and go straight to the root position Bb major drop 2. Then I'll show you how to play all inversions. So here is Bb major seven. Here is the first inversion. Here is the second inversion. And here is the third inversion.

So those are the major seventh chord voicings. But as long as you're aware what the notes are in the chord -- where the root, third, seventh and fifth are -- you can modify the chord to become a dominant 7, minor 7, or just about any other type of four-part chord.

Commonly used in jazz guitar, these movable chords are useful for accompanying in a variety of styles.

A major 7th chord is built from the notes 1-3-5-7 of a major scale. Playing this configuration of notes on the guitar sometimes proves unwieldy.

Let’s play B♭maj7 in the root position:

Root position B flat major 7th chord on strings 4321; frets are 12, 11, 10, 9.

Sure, this is doable. But what about the first inversion of the chord, with the third on the bottom?

First inversion closed B flat major 7th chord on strings 4321, difficult to play

Ouch! Almost impossible.

This unwieldy fingering might make us want to rearrange the configuration of the chord so that it is more playable on the guitar. One of the most popular ways to do this is to create what is called a “drop 2” chord.

A drop-2 chord is created by “dropping” the second highest note in the chord to the bass. This “opens up” the chord’s structure a little bit, making it more easy to fit onto the guitar.

This B♭maj7 chord would be in the second inversion, except that the second-highest note, the root, has been dropped to the bass—meaning it is now in root position.

B♭Maj7 Drop 2 — Root Position

Root position drop 2 B flat major seventh.

B♭Maj7 Drop 2 — 1st Inversion

We can create inversions of this chord the same way as before: by replacing the note on each string with the next highest chord tone:

First inversion drop 2 chord.

The 3 moves to the 5, the 7 steps to the R, the 5 jumps to the 7, and the R goes up to the 3. Each chord tone moves up to the next possible chord tone.

Notice how in both of these chords, the root and fifth form an adjacent pair, as do the third and seventh.

B♭Maj7 Drop 2 — 2nd Inversion

Repeating this process yields the second inversion of the chord:

Second inversion drop 2 chord.

B♭Maj7 Drop 2 — 3rd Inversion

And repeating it once more reveals the third inversion:

Third inversion drop 2 chord.

Remember the crazy and unwieldy first inversion of the chord we saw above? The unplayable one? Well, if we turned it into a drop 2, here’s what it would look like. The 7 got moved down to the bass, and then we were able to move the R to the 2nd string instead of the 1st string where it was originally.

Chord Configuration

The drop 2 chords always follow a predictable layout for every chord and every inversion.

Note that the root and fifth are always on adjacent strings, and the third and seventh appear in a pair as well.

The drop 2 can be played on any adjacent four strings, for a total of three groups of drop 2s for each set of 4 strings (1234, 2345 and 3456). Note that, although the chords and all of their inversions will be 100% the same across different string shapes, they will all have different shapes. This is because the B string is tuned differently than the rest of the guitar, so it warps the pattern.

Chart of Chord Tones

Remember, the same pattern can be used on the other string sets: 6543 and 4321. It is shown here on the middle four, as above.

Strings 6 5 4 3 2 1
Root Position x R 5 7 3 x
1st Inv x 3 7 R 5 x
2nd Inv x 5 R 3 7 x
3rd Inv x 7 3 5 R x

Key Tasks

  1. Memorize the above fingerings for the Maj7 chord and its inversions.
  2. Convert these chords to the following: min7, min7♭5, dom7, dim7.
  3. Practice these chords in the keys of C, G, B♭, F, and D.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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