Lightbulb Moment, I Think

I was watching a video recently and the chords from ‘Knockin On Heaven’s Door’ popped into my head. Just the G, D, C progression.

I’ve only played full chords before, even when I played my live gig (mostly open and bar chords) and I have been reading theory on scales and chords, so I looked closer at triads and their inversions.

I started playing around with some chords, looking at the CAGED system to see where I could find triads and inversions for each position. The song I mentioned earlier kept coming into my head so, instead of the full chords for that progression I decided to use triads to play the progression…why waste a good song when I’m trying to study? :slight_smile:

The more I experimented the more excited I got and realised that a huge chunk of my actual practice was missing because I only focused on full chords (6,5 and 4 note chords). Using triads and inversions has suddenly opened up a huge chunk of the neck that I never really touched when playing rhythm. Plus it has given me more tonal varieties to play with.

I have no idea why I didn’t actually put into practice all the theory I’ve studied over the time I was previously learning guitar, but I know now that it was a huge mistake.

If you haven’t delved into triads and inversions before and are comfortable with full chords I highly recommend trying to use them sooner rather than later. :slight_smile:


I agree. Triads are great. Justin has some excellent videos on triads in his theory course. I’m currently working on the triads on strings 1, 2 & 3. Lots of fun.


You just opened up a very important window and let in a bunch of light and fresh air. Good on you! Full bar chords and six string open chords are over used, over rated, muddy sounding (at times) and somewhat limiting in a lot of cases. Triads open up a brave new world.

BONUS HINT: I like to play “Knockin” in the key of D in drop D tuning:
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Note the use of triads in the intro and outro.


Yeah mate, a whole new world. In 2 1/2 years of playing, triads have gotta be the most fun, versatile, and useful things on a guitar, for both rhythm and lead.

Cheers, Shane


Wait until you discover single notes!


Learning triads was a huge step in opening up the fretboard for me, too. I look back on it as a milestone, for certain. Congrats!


Thanks for the replies :slight_smile:

Here is what I’ve been playing with. Other triad/inversion suggestions are very welcome for this progression.

1 Like

While practicing the riff from Crazy Train to get my fingers stronger and moving I recognised triads in the tab that I’d been looking at when studying. It looks like I’ve found a massive missing piece of my guitar journey :slight_smile:

By the way, practicing the Crazy Train 2 bar riff really makes your forearm burn LOL

1 Like

As soon as you discover that there is more than jamming the regular old chords over a song, a world opens up.

When you start learning, these letters C, D and G point to one thing each; that open chord.
But then you learn you can play part of it, or in an arpeggiated fashion…or as a barre chord…or part of a barre chord…or a triad…or play a little lead part instead of the chord, or even fill in extra chords, harmonizing, etc… you learn to decorate them with Sus2/Sus4/add9/7 variations, you add technique tricks and apply tiny bits of theory and even random finds all over the neck or just in that part where you like it. Every tiny bit builds and adds to that toolbox; your “guitar vocabulairy”

**Congratulations, **
You reached one of many milestones yet again;
Keep it up; keep exploring.
Those letters C D and G can mean A LOOOOT of things :wink:


I’m definitely more energized this time around. I might be slower than I was before, but the knowledge in my head has surpassed where I was previously. I’m finding the instrument more exciting. I need to rein myself in sometimes to keep on track in my practice session because I keep exploring new avenues LOL

1 Like