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What are Drop 3 Chords?

Drop 3 chord voicings are an essential technique used by guitarists and other musicians to create rich and full-sounding chords. In this article, we will explore what drop 3 chord voicings are, how they are constructed, and how they can be used in your playing.

What are Drop 3 Chord Voicings?

Drop 3 chord voicings are a particular method of arranging the notes of a chord on the guitar fretboard. In a drop 3 voicing, the third note from the top of the chord is dropped down one octave. For example, a C major chord played in drop 3 voicing would have the following notes arranged from low to high: C, E, G, and then another C an octave higher than the first.

The result of this technique is a chord voicing that has a strong bass note and a bright, open top end. This type of voicing is particularly useful when playing in a band or ensemble, as it allows for the other instruments to occupy the middle range of the frequency spectrum without interfering with the guitar's sound.

How are Drop 3 Chord Voicings Constructed?

To construct a drop 3 voicing, you start by playing a standard chord on the guitar. For example, let's use the C major chord again. In its standard form, the notes of a C major chord played on the guitar are arranged from low to high as follows: C, E, G, C, E.

To create a drop 3 voicing, we take the third note from the top of the chord (in this case, G) and drop it down one octave to create the following arrangement of notes from low to high: G, C, E, C. This results in a bright and full-sounding C major chord voicing.

It's worth noting that the drop 3 voicing technique can be applied to any chord on the guitar, not just major chords. You can use this technique to create drop 3 versions of minor, dominant, diminished, and augmented chords as well.

How Can Drop 3 Chord Voicings Be Used in Your Playing?

Drop 3 chord voicings are an excellent technique to use when you want to add depth and complexity to your playing. Here are a few ways you can use them:

  1. Playing Chord Melodies - Drop 3 voicings can be used to create interesting and dynamic chord melodies, where the guitar is used to play both the melody and harmony simultaneously.

  2. Jazz Harmony - Jazz guitarists frequently use drop 3 chord voicings to create complex harmonies and chord progressions. This technique can be used to create a rich and full sound in jazz standards and improvisations.

  3. Comping - When playing in an ensemble, drop 3 chord voicings can be used to create a full and balanced accompaniment behind a soloist or vocalist.

In conclusion, drop 3 chord voicings are a versatile and essential technique for any guitarist to master. They can be used to create interesting chord melodies, add depth and complexity to jazz harmonies, and create a full accompaniment in an ensemble. With a bit of practice and experimentation, you can incorporate drop 3 voicings into your playing and take your guitar skills to the next level.


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