How to Use Easy Triads on Guitar

I guess that will come further down the line in later lessons of Grade 3 as this lesson is, I assume, juts an introduction to triads.

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Stuart, I don’t know, if you are using the app? If so, you can e.g. practice your triads by playing them over a simple track there. For example, I chose a song with an easy, repetetive chord progression and replaced chords by triads. I first tried to find the triads at different positions on the neck and then just to play them over the track. Sounds lovely. It’s at least one option to get used to the different shapes and their voicings. Two simpler examples are “More than this” by Bryan Ferry or “Stumblin’ in” by Suzie Quattro. Both are nice tunes with repetitive easy chord progressions to practice the basic implementation. You can also experiment to just strum them or to pick the notes out and you’re able to slow down the speed and try to increase it step by step.

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I would learn to play it with 2 fingers. It’s a bit tricky and will take some practice. It’s been discussed in other threads, do a search if you want more details.

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Love Is the Drug - Roxy Music

The triad “chips” are very obvious throughout this song.

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@Stuartw Jack and Diane is full of triads and only 3 chords using 3 different places on the neck. Justin has a lesson for it as well.

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I was referring to E-shape and A-shape barre chords and how major/minor triad grips on strings 1-3 are related to them:

E-shape grips:

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There’s another lesson on triad you might find useful: Introduction to Triads

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Thanks all. This seems to have opened a can of worms! Feeling a bit over whelmed with this to be honest.

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Thanks @sequences

Vintage Club #12 was explicitly about teaching songs & riffs that use major & minor triads on the G, B & E strings.

There are video shorts for each of four sings too.

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No need to worry too much about it. You could start out with playing a simple A-D-E or G-B-D progression first in what Justin refers to as grip 1 (with the root note on the 1st string) just to get a feel for using these grips and how they sound. When you feel comfortable with that you can add the other grips and tackle minor triads as well. No need to rush these things.

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I think you made a small typo G C D for grip 1. B would be a minor grip.


I meant a G major - B major - D major chord progression.

My bad: just wondering why you’d suggest a chord progression that isn’t in any Major Key to a beginner?

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Yep, that was typo, I stand corrected. :slight_smile:

@Stuartw, you and I are in similar places in the course. Here’s how I think of triads, keeping things super-simple:

Most of the chords we’ve learned so far are built from three notes - the root, the major third, and the fifth for a major chord; the root, the minor third, and the fifth for a minor chord. The power chords are only the root and the fifth, no third. Sevenths also include the seventh, but let’s set those aside here.

Our most familiar chords all use more than three strings, so some of those intervals (root, third, or fifth) get repeated on more than one string, but they don’t have to be. For example, if you don’t strum the D (4th) string on a D chord, you’re still playing a D chord; you’re just not repeating the D. We’ve also been taught so far that it’s desirable to have the root note be the lowest pitch in the chord, but it doesn’t have to be. (Changing their order is called “inversion.”)

A fun exercise (at some point) is to play 1-3-5 triad combinations on each set of 3 adjacent strings, i.e. strings 1, 2, and 3; then strings 2, 3, and 4; and so on. It really reveals how those intervals are laid out on the fretboard and why the chords we’ve learned are constructed the way they are.

As you’d imagine, stripping a chord down to its minimum 3 notes on adjacent strings makes the chord sound less “full,” since you’re narrowing the range of pitches being included - but it’s still a perfectly valid chord. In theory, you could use the triad version of any chord in a song in place of the chords you’ve learned, but it wouldn’t sound as rich because of the loss of range in pitch. So, where a song includes triads, it’s likely to achieve that sparse effect.

Don’t let any of this worry you. It’s an introductory glimpse into the bigger picture. Like everything else, it seems foreign at first, but in time, as it’s repeated in new contexts and other pieces are added, it will come together to contribute to a broader understanding of what we’re doing - and why.


You must know a lot more theory than I do. To be honest I have never really looked in to what the notes of a chord. Just a case of getting fingers in the right place quick enough.

Easier said than done!

I hope so. Small start to bigger things :slight_smile:

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I encourage you to explore - at your own pace - the notes in the chords. It really will prompt some “Aha!” moments where some curtains will fall away and a few things will become less mysterious.

Here’s a tool that I’ve found very helpful:

With it, you can “click in” on the fretboard diagram a chord you know and see a breakdown of its components on the left. Notice that there are different displays on the left panel (the three boxes at the top) that will break it down in different ways, all useful. You can add, change, or remove notes in the chord to see what the result is. But then it’s even more helpful to explore some of these on your guitar, too.

The best part is that there’s no hurry, so it’s a joy to have all of these things to learn.