Triads are an important part of a rhythm player's toolbox. In a previous blog post, Learn Triads to Connect Chords to become a better Rhythm Player, I gave a basic overview of what triads are and how to start learning them on your guitar. In this blog post, I will dive deeper into how they are constructed and how to start learning how to voice lead progressions.
When I first started playing guitar, I could only play a handful of open chords and a few bar chords. While I could play some songs, there were many that just didn't sound right. It was frustrating because I knew I had the basics down, but I felt limited in my playing.
It wasn't until I learned about triads on the guitar that I started to feel like a more well-rounded rhythm player. Triads allowed me to understand how chords were constructed and gave me a deeper understanding of how chords fit together on the fretboard. Suddenly, I was able to play more chord voicings and create interesting chord progressions that changes how I sounded.
Learning triads on the guitar opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I was able to play a wider variety of rhythm parts and find the right part to fit into a band. Knowing triads is an essential skill for any guitarist looking to up their rhythm guitarist game and become a well-rounded musician. Don't limit yourself to just open chords and bar chords - embrace the power of triads and see where they can take your playing! In this week's blog post, I'll show you what triads are, how to find them on your fretboard and quick ways to incorporate them into your playing.
What are Triads?
If you're new to the world of music theory, you might be wondering - what exactly are triads? Triads are three-note chords that are built from the notes of a major or minor scale. They are made up of the root note, the third, and the fifth of the scale. These three notes create a chord that is both harmonically rich and musically versatile.
To create a major triad, you take the root note, skip a note, and then play the next note. For example, in the C major scale, the notes are C-D-E-F-G-A-B. To create a C major triad, you would take the C, skip the D, and play the E and G notes. This creates a chord that sounds bright and happy, and is commonly used in many genres of music.
In contrast, a minor triad is created by taking the root note, skipping a note, and then playing the note after that. For example, in the A minor scale, the notes are A-B-C-D-E-F-G. To create an A minor triad, you would take the A, skip the B, and play the C and E notes. This creates a chord that sounds melancholy and is often used in sad or emotional songs.
Some other common types of triads include augmented and diminished triads, which have their own unique sounds and uses in music. By understanding how triads are constructed and the different types that exist, you can start to unlock the full potential of the guitar and create rich, complex music.
Here is an example of triads in a C Major Scale.
Inversions are different voicings of a chord where the notes are rearranged in a different order. This means that instead of the root note being played as the lowest note, one of the other notes is played in its place. Inversions can be used to create interesting chord progressions and harmonic variations, adding depth and complexity to your playing.
To play triad inversions on the guitar, you can start by taking a root position triad and moving one of the notes up an octave. For example, a C major triad in root position (C-E-G) can be played in first inversion by moving the C note up an octave, resulting in an E-G-C triad. Similarly, in second inversion, the E note would be moved up an octave, resulting in a G-C-E triad.
Inversions can be used to create seamless chord changes to the closest version of the next chord. This is called voiceleading. For example, when transitioning from a C major chord to an A minor chord, voiceleading would be moving the G note of the C major chord up a whole step to he A in an A minor chord. This only changes the notes that are required to get to the next chord and creates a smooth transition between the two chords and creates a connected sound.
Types of Triads
There are four types of triads, each having a unique sound. The two most common triads are Major and Minor triads.
Major - Building from the root, the second note of the triad is called the 3rd and is a major 3rd (4 semitones / 2 whole tones) higher than the root. The third note is called the 5th and is a minor 3rd (3 semitones / 1 1/2 whole tones) higher than the 3rd and a Perfect 5th (7 semitones / 3 1/2 whole tones) higher than the root.
Minor - The minor chord only differs from a Major triad by one note. The 3rd is lowered by a 1/2 step (semitone). Building from the root, the second note of the triad is called the b3 (flat 3rd) and is a minor 3rd (3 semitones / 1 1/2 whole tones) higher than the root. The third note is called the 5th and is a major 3rd (4 semitones / 2 whole tones) higher than the 3rd and a Perfect 5th (7 semitones / 3 1/2 whole tones) higher than the root.
Diminished - The diminished chord only differs from a minor triad by one note. The 5th is lowered by a 1/2 step (semitone). Building from the root, the second note of the triad is called the b3 (flat 3rd) and is a minor 3rd (3 semitones / 1 1/2 whole tones) higher than the root. The third note is called the b5 (flat 5) and is a minor 3rd (2 semitones / 1 1/2 whole tones) higher than the b3(flat 3) and a Diminished 5th (6 semitones / 3 whole tones) higher than the root.
Augmented - The Augmented chord only differs from a Major Triad by one note. The 5th is raised by a 1/2 step (semitone). Building up from the root, the second note of the triad is called the 3rd and is a major 3rd (4 semitones / 2 whole tones) higher than the root. The 3rd note is called the #5 (sharp 5) and is a major 3rd (4 semitones / 2 whole tones) higher than the 3rd and an Augmented 5th (8 semitones / 3 whole tones) above the root.
Where to Play Triads
Learning triads on the guitar can be a great way to improve your playing and create more interesting chord progressions. To get started, it's best to begin by learning how triads fall on three adjacent strings. On a standard guitar, there are four sets of three adjacent strings (654, 543, 432, and 321).
For example, let's take a G Major triad and its inversions and map it out on the fretboard on the 432 string set. Notice how each inversion has a specific shape and where the root, 3rd, and 5th of the chord are in relation to each other. When the G note is the lowest note, the chord is in 'root position'. When the 3rd is the lowest note, the chord is in '1st inversion', and when the 5th is the lowest note, the chord is in '2nd inversion'.
To apply this knowledge, let's consider a simple chord progression with three major chords: GMaj, CMaj, and DMaj (I, IV, and V of the key of G Major). You can voice lead this chord progression in three different ways on the 432 string set. Practice playing this chord progression in each of the three different spots and get used to the three different shapes that occur in every progression. Use the shapes above as a reference.
Next, play the GMaj, CMaj, DMaj chord progression on the other string sets three different ways. Each progression should start on each of the three inversions of the GMaj triad. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of how triads work on the guitar and how they can be used to create a variety of chord progressions.
I hope that this blog post provide you with some value. If you have any questions or feedback please don't hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.