What Are Triads?
Triads – three notes built in thirds. They are usually the first chords that beginner guitarists learn. Getting familiar with all triads on the guitar fretboard will develop your musical knowledge and comping skills.
What Are The Four Main Types of Triad?
A triad consists of (1), a third which can be major (3) or minor (b3), and a fifth either perfect (5), diminished (b5) or augmented (#5), hence giving 4 qualities of triads :
• Major triads are built of three notes : root, major third and perfect fifth.
• Minor triads contain a root, a minor third and a perfect fifth.
• Diminished triads are built with root, minor third and diminished fifth.
• Augmented triads are built with root, major third and augmented fifth.
• MAJOR TRIADS ( Commonly no quality symbol added)
• MINOR TRIADS – “m”/“min”
• DIMINISHED TRIADS – “dim” or a degree sign “°”
• AUGMENTED TRIADS – “aug” or a plus sign “+”
Major Triad Chords – Charts and Guitar Fretboard Diagrams
How to Build a Major Triad?
Major triads are formed by stacking the root, major third and perfect fifth of the major scale. Referencing the chart below, the C major triad is made up of C (root), E (major third) and G (perfect fifth).
C major scale C D E F G A B
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) 7
C major triad 1 X 3 X 5 X X
Major triad chords | Close voicings | Root position and inversions
A chord arranged so that the notes of the chord are in a different order,
as a note other than the root is in the lowest voice. In the following diagrams you will find four root positions related to the third, fourth, fifth and sixth strings. Each root position occurs two inverted chords with the third or the fifth in the bass. That gives 12 closed positions for one chord.
where the root and the inverted positions, fit within the space of one octave. You have to learn how to practice and master these twelve positions in twelve keys, and name each chord that you play.
The four guitar diagrams below show you how to play close voiced major triads with basses on the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd string.
Root position R 3 5
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 5 R
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 R 3
Open voiced major triads
What Are Open Voiced Triads?
Since major triads are built with 3 notes, it is possible to drop the second highest note (the middle note) of a major close voiced triad up an octave to produce what will call a drop 2 voicing referred to as open voiced triad. It is a very much appreciated technique by composers and arrangers.
This concept can be applied to any chords as minor, major, diminished and augmented. The chart below show you three major open voiced triads in connection with the three guitar diagrams below.
Root position (root in the bass) R 5 3
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 R 5
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 3 R
Major Triad in first 2 strings