Over the course of my posts on music theory we’ve covered a lot of ground. This post takes it back to basics somewhat to explore triads in more detail.

Triads are the building blocks of most Western music.  But not only that, they’re also very versatile and for guitarists offer an excellent opportunity to explore the fretboard in a few different ways. This means they could help you out of a rut using chords in one position all of the time, for instance.

For now we’ll consider major and minor Triads. If we take a C major triad (C E G) as an example, we can play the triad as chords harmonically up and down the fretboard (audio here):

C major-page-0
You can of course use these shapes in different positions as the basis of chords by adding notes as required or layer them to produce a fuller sound.

Another way to use them would be to play the triad as an arpeggio across the fretboard (audio here):

c major arp-page-0

The same principles apply to the C minor triad (C Eb G).  The first example is to play the chords harmonically up and down the fretboard (audio here):

C minor-page-0

The C minor triad as an arpeggio across the fretboard (audio here):

c minor arp-page-0

Ideally you could work these out for all triads in all Keys to learn all the possible positions on the fretboard, you could do this chromatically or using the circle of fourths or fifths.

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