Playing With Triads

author: hounddogmusic12 date: 07/13/2009 category: for beginners
rating: 10 / votes: 16 
This is a follow-up to a lesson I posted called "understanding guitar triads" I explain in that lesson how to easily move through the triad inversions across the neck...and how to build the 6 main triad chords that you will use...major, minor, diminished, augmented, sus4, and sus2. So if you haven't read that lesson, I highly recommend that you do. Ok, that being said, let's get started... First, let's start with a "chord progression"...for these examples I'm going to show you a progression in "Am". The diatonic chords in A natural minor
 1    2    b3    4    5    b6    b7    8(1)
Am  Bdim   C    Dm   Em    F     G     Am
For those of you who don't know what "diatonic" chords are...simply put, all of the notes within all of the chords fall within the root's scale...but that's another lesson. Moving on...the progression we will use is "Am G Dm Am" then repeat Let's learn the shapes first... Starting on the 1st 2nd and 3rd strings, let's run through the different inversions
   Am  G  Dm  Am   Am  G  Dm  Am   Am  G  Dm  Am   Am  G   Dm  Am 
e---0------1---0----5--3---5---5----9--7--10---9---12--10--13--12--
b---1--0---3---1----5--3---6---5---10--8--10--10---13--12--15--13--
g---2--0---2---2----5--4---7---5----8--7--10---8---14--12--14--14--
d------0-----------------------------------------------------------
a------------------------------------------------------------------
E------------------------------------------------------------------
For simplicity's sake I cheated on that first G chord and played it on different strings... Now that we've played through the inversions on the 1st 2nd and 3rd strings, lets move it to the 2nd 3rd and 4th strings...
  Am  G  Dm   Am   Am  G  Dm  Am   Am  G  Dm  Am
e--------------------------------------------------
b--1--0---3---1----5---3---6---5---10--8--10--10---
g--2--0---2---2----5---4---7---5----9--7--10---9---
d--2--0---3---2----7---5---7---7---10--9--12--10---
a--------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------
Continue on by playing the triads on the 3rd 4th and 5th strings, followed by playing them on the 4th 5th and 6th strings... Now, here's where you need to check out the "understanding guitar triads" lesson... To learn how to move the triads easily... And to know where the root is for the next part of this lesson... Now just playing through the progression like this is really boring, and I understand that, but it's a good excercise to help you learn the shapes. Lots of guitarists use triad shapes in their solos..rather than limit yourself to playing a single scale that covers all the chords in the progression, you can add color to your solos by actually playing over each individual chord using triad shapes... Check out some David Gilmour(Pink Floyd)solos... Classic example... "comfortably numb" solo Let's try an excersize using scale tones from each individual chord's scale... Do something fairly easy to help you learn where the root note is in each shape... Let's say, play the chord, followed by the root, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, and end on the root... And do that for each chord...
  Am                 G                Dm                Am
e--0-----------------------------------1-----0--1--0-----0-----------------
b--1-----0--1--0-----0--------0--------3--3-----------3--1-----0--1--0-----
g--2--2-----------2--0--0--2-----2--0--2-----------------2--2-----------2--
d--------------------0-----------------------------------------------------
a--------------------------------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------------------------------
And continue on with this excersize the same way you did with the first excersize, moving through the inversions... Again in this excersize you are playing the root, 2nd, and 3rd scale degrees of each chord's scale... So you need a basic understanding of scales, if you would like I can post another lesson. Even after adding some scale notes this excercize is still pretty boring... So let's add a little more color, add more scale notes, and don't just walk up and down, mix up the order of the scale notes... And use scales to get from one triad position to the next, here's where you get to be creative...
  Am                               G
e--0-----0-----------3--1--------------------------------------------
b--1--------1-----1--------3/5-----0-----0---------------------------
g--2--2--------2----------------5--0-------0-----0-------------------
d----------------------------------0--0-------0-----------------2p0--
a---------------------------------------------------------3--5-------
E----------------------------------------------------3h5-------------

   Dm                                Am
e-------------------------3--5/8-----5-----5-----------5--8p5--------
b--3-----3-----------3/5----------8--5--------5-----5--5-------8--5--
g--2--------2-----2------------------5--5--------5-----5-------------
d--3--3--------3-----------------------------------------------------
a--------------------------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------------------------

  Am                                   G 
e--5-----5----------------5--8/10------7-----7-----------10--8--7h8p7--
b--5--------5-----5--5h8-----------10--8--------8-----8----------------
g--5--5--------5-----------------------7--7--------7-------------------
d----------------------------------------------------------------------
a----------------------------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------------------------

   Dm
e--10------10--------------13p10------------------             
b--10----------10------10---------13--10------10--
g--10--10----------10---------------------12------                     
d-------------------------------------------------              
a-------------------------------------------------                 
E-------------------------------------------------                   

   Am
e---8-----8--------------8---
b--10--------10-----10--10---
g---9--9---------9-------9---
d----------------------------
a----------------------------
E----------------------------
And from this point, you are now making music... Most importantly, when practicing anything, understand what practice is... If you only play things that you are already comfortable with, you are not practicing... You are playing... During practice time push yourself to learn new things, improve technique, work on timing, etc... PUSH YOURSELF! But have fun in the process... If you want to hear a good example of using triads in rhythm playing, check out Blind Melon's "All That I Need"... I think there is a video lesson for that song on this site... Hope this helps.
More hounddogmusic12 lessons:
+ Modes And Diatonic Chord Progressions The Basics 07/21/2010
+ DADGAD Tuning The Basics 09/14/2009
+ Chord Building 101 Chords 08/25/2009
+ Learning The Fretboard Chords 06/22/2009
+ Understanding Guitar Triads Chords 06/19/2009
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