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Triad Improvisation Part 1.

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Triad Improvisation Part 1 -  By Brian Calloway

In this lesson/article entitled "Chord Triad Improvisation Part 1." we will take a look at chord triads on the 3,2,1 strings of the guitar. A chord triad is a chord that contains only 3 notes. They are built by using the (1) Root (3rd) and (5th) intervals of the major scale if the triad is major. In the key of G the notes in a G major triad would be G (Root), B (3rd), D (5th).

Note: There are only four types of triads. Major, Minor, Augmented and Diminished. Since we already touched on what makes up a major triad let's take a look at the remaining three triads and how the intervals differ from the major triad.

  • If the Triad is Minor we would lower the 3rd interval (1, flat 3, 5) notes from the Natural Minor Scale.
  • If the Triad is Augmented we would raise the 5th interval (1,3, sharp 5) Notes from the Whole Tone Scale.
  • If the triad is Diminished we would lower the 5th interval (1, flat 3, sharp 5) Notes from the Diminished Scale.

In the following examples we will use the major chord forms as a reference to the rest of the triads to keep things simple. The major form is the first chord in each example followed by augmented, minor and diminished triads.

Important: You should memorize each form.

Since there's only 3 notes there will only be three chord forms or 2 inversions. An inversion is playing a chord inverted with the 3rd interval or 5 interval in the bass instead of the root note. Since were working with triads we will only have 2 inversions.

Let's get started!

Make sure you listen to each midi file example in the attachments below.

Form 1.

|----3-----|
|----3-----|
|----4-----|
|----------|
|----------|
|----------|

Example 1.


   Major    Aug.     Minor    Dim.
|-----3-3-----3-3-----3-3-----3-3----|
|---3-------4-------3-------2--------|
|-4-------4-------3-------3----------|
|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|

Make note that the Major and Augmented chords are Major based and the Minor and Diminished chords are Minor based.
This is determined by the 3rd degree. All major chords contain a Major 3rd and all Minor Chords contain a Minor 3rd.

Form 2.

|----7-----|
|----8-----|
|----7-----|
|----------|
|----------|
|----------|

Example 2.

    Major    Aug.    Minor   Dim. 
|-----7-7-----7-7-----6-6-----6-6----|
|---8-------8-------8-------8--------|
|-7-------8-------7-------6----------|
|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------|

Form 3.

|---10-----|
|---12-----|
|---12-----|
|----------|
|----------|
|----------|

Example 3.

    Major       Aug.         Minor        Dim. 
|-------10-10-------11-11-------10-10-------9-9--|
|----12----------12----------11----------11------|
|-12----------12----------12----------12---------|
|------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------|
|------------------------------------------------|

Now when we put them all together we have a total of 12 chords.

  • 3 Major
  • 3 Minor
  • 3 Diminished
  • 3 Augmented

Example 4.

   Major         Augmented     Minor      Diminished
|-3--7--10----|-3--7--11----|-3--6--10--|-3--6---9--|
|-3--8--12----|-4--8--12----|-3--8--11--|-2--8--11--|
|-4--7--12----|-4--8--12----|-3--7--12--|-3--6--12--|
|-------------|-------------|-----------|-----------|
|-------------|-------------|-----------|-----------|
|-------------|-------------|-----------|-----------|

You should start to see the pattern of how these triads chords lay on the guitars fretboard. Practice these examples in all keys to get the full effect. Make sure you learn these chord types or you will be lost in the next 3 parts of this lesson. We will look at Triads on the 4,3,2 strings in the next installment. Enjoy!

PreviewAttachmentSize
321triads_Example_1.mid277 bytes
321triads2_Example_2.mid277 bytes
321triads3_Example_3.mid277 bytes
321triads4_Example_4.mid433 bytes