1 Proteus 4 months ago My Tru-Arc™ brother Steve won a White Falcon acoustic at 2016's Hoosier Daddy Roundup - he says he knew from the time he saw the guitar that it would be his, but the palpable joy and excitement he showed when this came true was nonetheless little short of Mel Waldorf's display when he won Powdog's amp at the NorCal.Steve had been through a miserable spring and summer, and said he knew the Falcon would change his life: he was going to learn to play guitar.The gleaming White Falcon is always at the ready, reclining in a deluxe wooden stand near the mirror-black grand piano in his living room. And indeed, he's diligently applied himself to a great series of online lessons and has made enormous strides in the last year. Every once in awhile he calls with a cogent observation he's made about something he's just learned, or some fretboard connection he's just made. Steve being Steve, these are always insightful and give me the opportunity to think a little deeper into the mechanics of guitar playing and the harmonic architecture built into the grid of strings and frets.This morning's question from Steve was about one very specific chord inversion, and it's a good question. (There may be other voicings about which the same thing can be asked, but this is about THIS one).To wit: why does an open 6th-string E sound so bad with a standard 1st-position C chord? We know E is the 3rd of the scale, and there are already Es in two other octaves in that chord. But let that low E in, and it sounds...well, beyond muddy. It sounds wrong. It sounds bad.I don't think this is a matter of the guitar being played, or of personal taste. Come to think of it, it's applied to every guitar, acoustic or electric, on which I've ever (accidentally or purposely) tried it.Yes, on any harmony instrument making the 3rd the lowest note in a chord has a particular effect. It doesn't always suit the context. And, sure, you can mud it up by including intervals directly above it (like the 5th). But a chord with the 3rd in the root frequently sounds exactly right in an arrangement, particularly when part of a moving bassline. That goes for any key.And, by way of contrast, a D with a 2nd-fret-6th-string F# sounds ... well, great to my ear. I overuse it every chance I get. (Typically leaving out the 5th string for clarity.) And that chord is only a full step above the offensive C/E. But even when I leave the C on the 5th string out of the chord to keep it clean, that low E just sounds...bad. It sounds bad, is what it sounds.It's not the inversion itself which is the problem. On piano, it sounds OK (in context). Guitar-centric illustration: I have a song with a slowly descending bass line which in the inevitable place logically wants that low E against a C. When I play it on a guitar with synth access, the synth part sounds great (usually with an orchestral strings sound, in the same octave as the guitar). But the guitar output - played at the same time on the same instrument - sounds...bad is the word.And it's not the low E itself which offends. That's our favorite note on the whole guitar, ainit? Big, bold, fundamental, the root of a zillion great riffs and rock & roll progressions.The low E sounds somewhat better when played against a C formed by barring an A at the 3rd fret - though still not as good as D/F#.So what's going on when the open E is played against a first-position C?