Posted by Mike Cramer on 8:25 PM

Learning triads and their inversions is a must for all guitarists, regardless of stylistic interests. In our rush to play our favorite songs we often skip directly to larger chord forms and harmonic structures instead of gaining a solid foundation in basic chord structure and harmony. It's not until later, however, we get a sense that a piece of the harmonic puzzle is missing from our chord vocabulary.

If any or all of this sounds familiar read on! In this post we'll look at the major triad and inversions in closed position.

The Major Triad

The major triad is a three note chord built by taking the first, third, and fifth notes of the major scale and stacking them on top of each other. (If you are unsure as to how to create the major scale view this post on major scale construction.)

I will refer to the notes of the chord by number. Therefore, the major triad has the formula [1 3 5]. By looking at the chord tones as numbers the triad is no longer root specific. The formula is the same for any major triad regardless of key.

Figure 1


Inversions

Once we've created the triad we can rearrange the notes in the chord. By doing so, we've created different inversions. If the root is the lowest note of the chord, it is in Root position. If the 3rd is the lowest note it's called a 1st Inversion triad and if the 5th is on the bottom then it is a 2nd Inversion triad.

Figure 2

Closed vs. Open Position Chords

The handout accompanying this post diagrams triads in closed position. This means that the notes of the triad are as close to each other as they can be. An open position triad has larger spaces between the individual notes of the chord than it's closed position counterpart. Open and closed position chord voicings are both heavily used, one is not better than the other, they achieve different sonic results.

Figure 3

Practice Tips

Print off the handout and you'll see the triads and their inversions organized by string group. Pick a key and move through that chord's inversions staying on the same string group. Be aware of what inversion your are playing, also note where the root is located in each shape. Be sure to practice this exercise on all string groups in all 12 keys.

Make practicing your triads and inversions a part of your daily practice routine. You will start to see the fingerboard more clearly and you'll have more options for playing through chord progressions.

Download Handout

0 comments:

My Latest CD


Search