• LOGIN
  • No products in the cart.

Triads

The Complete Guide to Triads

One of the most common mistakes that all musicians face in their studies is not having a firm grasp on the basics.

 

Just because you are an advanced player does not mean that you ignore the basics.

 

As a matter of fact, many times, advanced players focus on very basic concepts in their practice session such as triads.

 

Think about it…

 

A tree needs strong roots in order to grow tall and house needs a solid foundation or else it will crumble. As a musician you are no different. The better understanding you have of the basics the better musician you will be.

 

Now just because triads are basic does not mean you will not use them in your playing.  It is actually quite the opposite!  All musicians use triads every time they play and the more advanced you become as a player the more opportunities you will have to use them in new creative ways.

 

 

maxresdefault

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So let’s get started…

 

 

What is a Triad?

 

In music, a triad is a set of three notes that are stacked in thirds. When stacked in thirds,

the triad’s members, from the lowest pitched tone to the highest, are called:

 

the Root (1)

 

the Third (3) – its interval above the root is a minor third (three semitones/half steps) or a

major third (four semitones/half steps)

 

the Fifth (5) – its interval above the third is a minor third or a major third. Its interval above

the root is a diminished fifth (six semitones/half steps), perfect fifth (seven

semitones/half steps), or augmented fifth (eight semitones/half steps).

 

Triads are built by stacking every other note of a Diatonic scale (e.g., standard major or

minor scale).  For example, C-E-G spells a triad by skipping over D and F. While the

interval from each note to the one above it is a third, the quality of those thirds varies

depending on the quality of the triad.  There are only 4 triads that exist in Western Music.

 

 

THE 4 TYPES OF TRIADS

Major triads contain a major third and perfect fifth: 1 3 5 

Minor Triads contain a minor third, and perfect fifth: 1 b3 5

Diminished Triads contain a minor third, and diminished fifth: 1 b3 b5 

Augmented Triads contain a major third, and augmented fifth: 1 3 #5

 

The above definitions spell out the interval of each note above the root.  Since triads are

constructed of stacked thirds, they can be alternatively defined as follows:

 

Major Triads contain a major third with a minor third stacked above it.  For

example, in the C major triad (C-E-G), the interval C-E is a major third and E

G is a minor third.

 

Minor Triads contain a minor third with a major third stacked above it. For

example, in the C minor triad (C-Eb-G), the interval C-Eb is a minor third and

Eb-G is a Major third.

 

Diminished Triads contain two minor thirds stacked.  For example, in the

diminished triad C-Eb-Gb, the interval C-Eb is a minor third and Eb-Gb is also

a minor third.

 

Augmented Triads contain two major thirds stacked.  In the C Augmented triad (C-E-G#,

the interval C-E is a Major third and E-G# is also a Major third.

 

 

TRIAD INVERSIONS

 

A chord’s inversion describes the relationship of its bass to the other tones in the chord.  In

an inverted chord, the root is not in the bass. It is not the lowest note.

There are only 2 inversions of triads giving us a total of 3 triads.

 

Root position: 1 3 5 (C-E-G)

First inversion: 3 5 1 (E-G-C)

Second inversion: 5 3 1 (G-E-C)

 

First inversion: 3 5 1 (E-G-C)

The first inversion of a triad is when the 3rd is in the bass.  For example, in a C major

triad the bass becomes E, the 3rd of the triad, with the 5th and the root stacked above it

(the root now shifted an octave higher).

 

Second inversion: 5 1 3 (G-C-E)

The second inversion of a triad is when the fifth is in the bass.  For example, in a C major

triad the bass becomes G, the 5th of the triad, with the root and the 3rd stacked above it

(both again shifted an octave higher).

 

On the guitar you can play all triads on different string groups.  For example you can play a

triad on string group 6-4, 5-3, 4-2, or 3-1.  Because triads are the building blocks of chords

they are very important.  We suggest learning them thoroughly and consistently reviewing

them.  On the following pages we will show you all Major triads with their inversions on all

string groups.

 

Once you know the Major Triads on all string groups, we will look at the rest of the triads

(minor, diminished, and augmented). Be sure to notice how they differ from the Major

shapes.

 

All triads will be illustrated in the key of C.  Don’t forget to transpose (internal link?) them!

 

Major Triads

 

Major-triads-guitar-string-group-3-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p1000315  p1000316 p1000317

 

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-2-57-20-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the above Major Triads are on string group 3-1.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the root position triad (1 3 5/C E G)

 

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (3 5 1/E G C)

 

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 3/G C E)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

Major-triads-guitar-string-group-4-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Major Triads are on string group 4-2.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the 1st inversion triad (3 5 1/E G C)

 

The second one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 3/G C E)

 

The third one is the root position triad (1 3 5/C E G)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

Major-triads-guitar-string-group-5-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Major Triads are on string group 5-3.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 5th, 4th, and 3rd, and strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the root position triad (1 3 5/C E G)

 

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (3 5 1/E G C)

 

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 3/G C E)

 

 

Let’s look at the last string group…

 

 

Major-triads-guitar-string-group-6-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Major Triads are on string group 6-4.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 3/G C E)

 

The second one is the root position triad (1 35/C E G)

 

The third one is the 1st inversion triad (3 5 1/E G C)

 

 

Ready for more?

 

 

Now let’s go on and learn the Minor Triads on all string groups.

 

All triads will be illustrated in the key of C.  Once again, don’t forget to transpose (internal link?) them!

 

 

Minor Triads 

 

Remember that a Major Triad is the 1, 3, and 5.  In the key of C it was C, E, and G.

Do you remember the difference between Major and Minor Triads?

You simply flat the 3rd of the triad which means to move the note down by 1 fret.  Now instead of having the notes C, E, and G, you will now have the notes C, Eb, and G.

minor-triads-guitar-string-group-3-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Minor Triads are on string group 3-1.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings of the guitar.

 

 

The first one is the root position triad (1 b3 5/C Eb G)

 

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 5 1/Eb G C)

 

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 b3/G C Eb)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

 

minor-triads-guitar-string-group-4-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Minor Triads are on string group 4-2.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 2nd, 3rd, and 2nd strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 5 1/Eb G C)

 

The second one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 b3/G C Eb)

 

The third one is the root position triad (1 b3 5/C Eb G)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

 

minor-triads-guitar-string-group-5-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Minor Triads are on string group 5-3.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 5th, 4th, and 3rd, and strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the root position triad (1 b3 5/C Eb G)

 

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 5 1/Eb G C)

 

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 b3/G C Eb)

 

 

Let’s look at the last string group…

 

 

minor-triads-guitar-string-group-6-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Minor Triads are on string group 6-4.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the 2nd inversion triad (5 1 b3/G C Eb)

 

The second one is the root position triad (1 b3 5/C Eb G)

 

The third one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 5 1/Eb G C)

 

 

Ready for even more?

 

 

Now let’s go on and learn the Diminished Triads on all string groups.

 

All triads will be illustrated in the key of C.  Once again, don’t forget to transpose (internal link?) them!

 

 

Diminished Triads 

 

Remember that a Minor Triad contains the 1, b3, and 5.  In the key of C it was C, Eb, and b.

Do you remember the difference between Minor Triads and Diminished Triads?

You simply flat the 5th of the Minor Triad.  Now instead of having the notes C, Eb, and G, you will now have the notes C, Eb, and Gb.

diminished-triads-guitar-string-group-3-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Diminished Triads are on string group 3-1.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the root position triad (1 b3 b5/C Eb Gb)

 

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 b5 1/Eb Gb C)

 

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (b5 1 b3/Gb C Eb)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

 

diminished-triads-guitar-string-group-4-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Diminished Triads  are on string group 4-2.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the 2nd inversion triad (b5 1 b3/Gb C Eb)

 

The second one is the root position triad (1 b3 b5/C Eb Gb)

 

The third one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 b5 1/Eb Gb C)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

 

diminished-triads-guitar-string-group-5-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

 

All of the above Diminished Triads are on string group 5-3.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings of the guitar.

 

The first one is the root position triad (1 b3 b5/D F Ab) – ***THIS ONE IS IN THE KEY OF D!***

 

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 b5 1/Eb Gb C)

 

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (b5 1 b3/Gb C Eb)

 

 

Let’s look at the last string group…

 

 

diminished-triads-guitar-string-group-6-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

All of the above Diminished Triads are on string group 6-4.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings of the guitar.

The first one is the 2nd inversion triad (b5 1 b3/Gb C Eb)

The second one is the root position triad (1 b3 b5/C Eb Gb)

The third one is the 1st inversion triad (b3 b5 1/Eb Gb C)

 

 

 

 

Ready for even more?  Sure you are…

 

 

Now let’s go on and learn the Augmented Triads on all string groups.

 

All triads will be illustrated in the key of C.  Once again, don’t forget to transpose (internal link?) them!

 

 

Augmented Triads 

 

Remember that a Major Triad contains the 1, 3, and 5.  In the key of C it was C, E, and G.

Do you remember the difference between Major Triads and Augmented Triads?

You simply sharp the 5th of the Major Triad.  Now instead of having the notes C, E, and G, you will now have the notes C, E, and G#.

Augmented-triads-guitar-string-group-3-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

All of the above Augmented Triads are on string group 3-1.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings of the guitar.

The first one is the root position triad (1 3 #5/C E G#)

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (3 #5 1/E G# C)

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (#5 1 3/G# C E)

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

 

Augmented-triads-guitar-string-group-4-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

All of the above Augmented Triads  are on string group 4-2.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings of the guitar.

The first one is the 1st inversion triad (3 #5 1/E G# C)

The second one is the 2nd inversion triad (#5 1 3/G# C E)

The third one is the root position triad (1 3 #5/C E G#)

 

 

 

Let’s look at the next string group…

 

 

Augmented-triads-guitar-string-group-5-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

All of the above Augmented Triads are on string group 5-3.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 5th, 4th, and 3rd, and strings of the guitar.

The first one is the root position triad (1 3 #5/C E G#)

The second one is the 1st inversion triad (3 #5 1/E G# C)

The third one is the 2nd inversion triad (#5 1 3/G# C E)

 

 

Let’s look at the last string group…

 

 

Augmented-triads-guitar-string-group-6-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIBELIUS INSERT/VIDEO INSERT/PICTURE INSERT

All of the above Augmented Triads are on string group 6-4.  This means, as you can see, that we are only playing the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings of the guitar.

The first one is the 2nd inversion triad (#5 1 3/#G C E)

The second one is the root position triad (1 3 #5/C E G#)

The third one is the 1st inversion triad (3 #5 1/E G# C)

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS, you have now learned all triads on the guitar and this is no easy feet.  Sao go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back and tell all of your friends and family.

 

However, knowing them and using them are 2 completely different things.  Now you have to learn to practically apply them to your playing.  In other words, how to use triads in real life playing situations.

 

 

Do you want to know how?

 

 

THE NEXT STEP

How to practice triads (LINK TO OTHER POST)

Using them in your pop chordal playing with songs by artists like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and more… (INTERNAL LINK TO OTHER POST)

Using them in your jazz soloing like guitarists like Kurt Rosenwinkel (LINK TO OTHER POST)

0 responses on "Triads"

Leave a Message

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TAGA PUBLISHING : THE BEST WAY TO LEARN GUITAR ONLINE

taga publishing white logo Practice with purpose at TAGA Publishing. It is your turn to play. We provide unique instructional videos/courses/books and PDFs that have been chosen because of a commitment to weaving your own story, meant for the player who never wants exactly the same experience twice and wants to evolve.

Follow us

top
TAGA Publishing | All rights reserved 2018