Simple Triads

These chords are very easy to play, and they will make your playing sound a lot fuller. This is probably the next step up from power-chords. They also make for some nice picking parts.

21

Major And Minor Chords

I'll start with a little bit of theory. A triad is a 3 note chord. This chord is made of the 1st, 3rd and 5th of the scale tones. So basically, a C Major Triad would be - C E G. I hope that makes sense. If you don't understand it, look at some of the lessons on basic chord construction. Anyway, enough theory. I'll show you the basic shapes.
Major Triad Shapes
     C D  E  F   G  A  B
e |----------------------|
B |----------------------|
G |-0--2--4--6-----------|
D |-2--4--6--8---0--2--4-|
A |-3--5--7--9---2--4--6-|
E |--------------3--5--7-|

Minor Triad Shapes
    Cm  Dm  Em  Fm  Gm  Am  Bm
e |---------------------------|
B |---------------------------|
G |-0---2---4---6-------------|
D |-1---3---5---7---0---2---4-|
A |-3---5---7---9---1---3---5-|
E |-----------------3---5---7-|
The main trick with these chords is that you have to make sure you only play the strings which you have fingers on, or which are meant to be played open. Otherwise it can sound pretty bad. Here's a little picking tab using these chords:
    Bm           G           Em          A
e |--------------------------------------------------|
B |--------------------------------------------------|
G |------------------------------4-----4-------------|
D |-----4-----4-----0-----0----5-----5-------2-----2-|
A |---5-----5-----2-----2----7-----7-------4-----4---|
E |-7-----7-----3-----3------------------5-----5-----|
Combined with power chords, these chords can make your playing sound a lot fuller.

1st Inversions: Major And Minor Triads

An inverted chord is where the root note of the chord is played somewhere else in the chord (i.e. instead of C E G, the chord would be played E G C [1st Inversion] or G E C [2nd Inversion]). For now I've only done the 1st inversions, but I'm thinking/planning on making another lesson with more inversions/string sets and crap like that.
Major Triad Shapes (1st Inversion):
    C  D  E  F   G  A  B
e |----------------------|
B |-1--3--5--7-----------|
G |-0--2--4--6---0--2--4-|
D |-2--4--6--8---0--2--4-|
A |--------------2--4--6-|
E |----------------------|
Minor Triad Shapes (1st Inversion)
    Cm  Dm  Em  Fm  Gm  Am  Bm
e |---------------------------|
B |-1---3---5---7-------------|
G |-0---2---4---6---1---3---5-|
D |-1---3---5---7---0---2---4-|
A |-----------------1---3---5-|
E |---------------------------|
Alright, now I get a little more complicated. If you are into music styles which use more complicated chords than majors or minors.

Augmented And Diminished Chords

Augmented triads are pretty easy to play. All the notes are close together on the fret-board.
Augmented Triad Shapes
    C+  D+  E+  F+  G+  A+  B+
e |---------------------------|
B |---------------------------|
G |-1---3---5---7-------------|
D |-2---4---6---8---1---3---5-|
A |-3---5---7---9---2---4---6-|
E |-----------------3---5---7-|
Diminished Chords make for a bit of stretch, but it's possible.
Diminished Triad Shapes
    D  E  F  G   A  B  C
e |----------------------------|
B |----------------------------|
G |-1---3---5---7--------------|
D |-3---5---7---9----1---3---5-|
A |-5---7---9---11---3---5---7-|
E |------------------5---7---9-|

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    stratkat
    Bm G Em A e |-----|
    B |-----| G |-----4-----4-----| D |-----4-----4-----0-----0----5-----5-----2-----2-| A |---5-----5-----2-----2----7-----7-----4-----4---| Isn't E and Am at the end? cuz teh E has all major notes, and the A has a flat? E |-7-----7-----3-----3-----5-----5-----|
    4-string-4-eva
    TyphoidSpider wrote: You should have explained how to use triads and still play in key. Powerchords, being neither major nor minor can be used on every scale degree.
    no they cant, the leading chord of any key has a flat 5th and so you cant play a powerchord on the 7th degree.
    stm22
    I have a question, isnt this one F# instead? Its got F#, C# and A# so that really confused me when you said its an F. e |----- B |-7--- G |-6--- D |-8--- A |----- E |-----
    minichibi
    TyphoidSpider wrote: You should have explained how to use triads and still play in key. Powerchords, being neither major nor minor can be used on every scale degree. Triads however are more complicated, The major progression goes I ii iii IV V vi vii* (upper case means major, lower case means minor and * means diminished). The notes in the key of C major are C D E F G A B. If you combine the two you see that in C major, if the root note of your triad is a G (V), you should play a major triad. But if the root note is a D (ii) you should use a minor triad. Anyone confused by this should read slash_pwns' article 'Learning Music Theory: The Beginning' and SilentDeftone's lesson 'What Chords Are In What Key, And Why?'. They are long (especially the former, i suggest you print it and keep it for reference, I do) but they are essential if you are thinking of writing your own music, or even if you want to understand the music you are learning. This is a good article, yes, another lesson with all the inversions would be good, and make sure to indicate the root note on the tabs. Again, good work!
    Any chance I could get links? I searched them and couldnt find either of them.... I found other lessons that I read but they were all short and sort of shallow.
    stratkat
    my coment got messed up, but isn't it supposed to be E and Am at the end of the third tab, since E has no flats, but A does.
    Riftwind
    You have to remember that between E and F, B and C, that there is only a half step, not a whole step. Other than that, great post .
    Gatro1369
    'Question'... Each 'Diatonic Scale, has 3 minor Triads / #2-#3-#6 (degrees). When the 3rd of each 'triad' is a 'C' or 'F', do you add the (b), even though, the interval suggests the Triad, is already a minor in its 'Natural State.
    Riftwind
    STM22 you are almost right. It should be 875, FAC. It does not look like he mentioned it, but for those who see it, the first inversions are just the seventh shape.
    morffius2u
    Are you freaken kidding me ? This may as well be written in ****ing chinese !
    RKK29573
    never knew I could read a lesson at 11:33 pm and say ".....wooow, never knew that!" thanks this helps
    guizard
    hi i'm really new to guitar and its notations...so what does the |-x-| stand for in the notations?? i know the numbers ,i.e., |-2-| etc represent the fret no.... but what does the 'x' mean?
    tanvir manku
    that means the note is muted just lay your finger on the string n do not press. then pluck it. NIRVANA - smells like teen spirit is a good example
    TyphoidSpider
    You should have explained how to use triads and still play in key. Powerchords, being neither major nor minor can be used on every scale degree. Triads however are more complicated, The major progression goes I ii iii IV V vi vii* (upper case means major, lower case means minor and * means diminished). The notes in the key of C major are C D E F G A B. If you combine the two you see that in C major, if the root note of your triad is a G (V), you should play a major triad. But if the root note is a D (ii) you should use a minor triad. Anyone confused by this should read slash_pwns' article 'Learning Music Theory: The Beginning' and SilentDeftone's lesson 'What Chords Are In What Key, And Why?'. They are long (especially the former, i suggest you print it and keep it for reference, I do) but they are essential if you are thinking of writing your own music, or even if you want to understand the music you are learning. This is a good article, yes, another lesson with all the inversions would be good, and make sure to indicate the root note on the tabs. Again, good work!
    Mahavishnu80
    TyphoidSpider wrote: You should have explained how to use triads and still play in key. Powerchords, being neither major nor minor can be used on every scale degree. Not all powerchords-eg in C major key a tritone would have to be played instead of B5. Triads however are more complicated, The major progression goes I ii iii IV V vi vii* (upper case means major, lower case means minor and * means diminished). The notes in the key of C major are C D E F G A B. If you combine the two you see that in C major, if the root note of your triad is a G (V), you should play a major triad. But if the root note is a D (ii) you should use a minor triad. Anyone confused by this should read slash_pwns' article 'Learning Music Theory: The Beginning' and SilentDeftone's lesson 'What Chords Are In What Key, And Why?'. They are long (especially the former, i suggest you print it and keep it for reference, I do) but they are essential if you are thinking of writing your own music, or even if you want to understand the music you are learning. This is a good article, yes, another lesson with all the inversions would be good, and make sure to indicate the root note on the tabs. Again, good work!
    Nor'Easterbass
    hobo467 wrote: Nice job; I never knew what these chords were called but I do use them quite a bit.
    ditto.
    westo
    finally! i never knew what chords those stupid triads were and now i may use them freeelllyyyyy! thank you. will u be my lover?
    hobo467
    Nice job; I never knew what these chords were called but I do use them quite a bit.