Triads in Major Scale Series - Part 1

by Pedja Simovic

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  • Hello GMC!
    Welcome to my new series. Today we are focusing on triads in major scale.
    This series will have 3 parts and will cover all possible triad inversions all across the guitar neck. Before getting further lets mention a couple of things about triads!

    What are triads? Simply put, a triad is a 3 note chord! Is it any 3 notes that make a chord? Well, not really :) Triads are constructed by stacking intervals of diatonic 3rds one on top of another. What does the term diatonic mean? It means that we can use only notes that belong to particular scale. In these series we are focusing on C major scale because it has no sharps and flats. I encourage you very much to apply all this material in all 12 keys! In fact, I hope you really do it as it will enrich your chord vocabulary and give you more choices when accompanying singer/soloist, playing songs, songwriting or writing your own arrangements!

    When talking about triads, we actually have 3 possibilities how to play them. These possibilities are called inversions simply because we have different order of notes within a triad or any chord.

    Every triad has some sort of Root, 3rd and 5th. In key of C major if we were to have some sort of C chord it would be C E and G notes. Why these notes you wonder? C major scale has the following notes : C D E F G A B C. If triads are built by stacking diatonic 3rds (every other note in the scale) then if we start with C (root) we skip D and get E, then skip F and get G! So our triad from C note is C E G. You can now do all the rest of them to get some theory and harmony moving in your mind.

    Speaking of inversions here are possible inversions for C major triad (CEG). The same principle applies to all triads in C major scale.

    1) Root inversion (C E G)

    2) 1st inversion (E G C)

    3) 2nd inversion (G C E)

    As you see root inversion has Root in the bottom of the chord, 1st inversion has 3rd and 2nd inversion has a 5th in bottom.

    Todays part 1 lesson of the series focuses on Root inversion of triads in C major scale.

    Make sure you check out spoken video for more explanations and practicing suggestions.

    For this lesson I used my custom built guitar going through POD X3 Live into Nuendo. The effect I used was called "Clean chorus" with slight delay modifications.

    When you finish part 1 of the triad series you will :

    - Expand your chord vocabulary

    - Learn root inversion triads in major scale on all 4 possible string sets (654,543,432 and 321)

    - Learn how to apply those voicings in other styles of music

    - Expand your songwriting skills with more voicings

    - Improve your fingerstyle technique

    I hope you enjoyed part 1 of triads in major scale series. Let me know if you have any questions and I look forward hearing from you all.


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