Those who follow Guitar Vlog know how much I value triad practice. Indeed as I often say to students with the triads we have oil in the garden.

Many people tell me - "yes, but I know the triads" and when I show them what I mean by that they are often surprised.

Often people only think about tight positions without trying too hard. But a simple triad of C major (do mi sol) can be played with no less than 27 different rollovers. (see the videos of guitar Vlog)

If we consider a C we have 27 rollovers with tight and open positions.

If we consider that a C maj7 is a lower minor E triad of C, we will have to develop the triads of C and Em.

If we consider that a C6 is a triad of Am bass of do we will have to develop the triads of C and Am ...

And believe me the list is long.

The different triads:


  • major: fundamental / major third / right fifth
  • Minor: fundamental / minor third / right fifth
  • Decreased: fundamental / minor third / diminished fifth
  • Increased: fundamental / major third / augmented fifth
  • Sus2: fundamental / second / right fifth
  • Sus4: fundamental / fourth / right fifth
  • Greater diminished fifth: fundamental. Major third / diminished fifth
  • And we could have fun to decline that practically to infinity

The method I use to work them

There are 3 tight positions for each group of adjacent ropes:

  • strings of mi la and re
  • Ropes of the re and soil
  • Ground strings and if
  • So and mi soil ropes
  • Once we have worked well and developed that we start working open positions.

Example: do mi sol (closed positions); I decide to switch the second voice to the upper octave, which will give me do soil and mi.

Once I have this position I decide to move the floor to the upper octave which will give me

C, mi and sol (mid and ground to the upper octave)

With this system I get 27 positions all over the neck.

One could push the vice to further develop more ideas by keeping do's and mid's in the bass and the floor at the upper octave. And ditto for each reversal.

I let you imagine the number of possibilities on a "simple" triad of C major.

If we worked all the possibilities for each triad and in the 12 half tones we could be happy if at the end of 5 years we mastered this system perfectly.

In the guitar school, I really wanted to insist on the practice of this musical material because it is really something useful in more than one respect.

When you practice a lot of triads and declensions you create reflexes that will be useful to you whatever the music you do.

For a pianist it's almost natural to think that way.

Since I am much more inspired by pianists than guitarists, this system seemed to me almost "magical".

Triads with foreign basses or slash chords

This is another system that would require a lifetime of work.

As I explained above I think any chord as a triad with foreign bass which gives me much more improvisation perspectives.

In addition to the creation of voicings, again, the perspectives are virtually endless.

I also find that this system develops enormously the ear. Indeed the colors of the notes from the fundamental appear much more obvious.

As you can see in this video, the declinations with a triad of C major are extraordinary.

  • C / C: in this case the fundamental and the bass are the same so ...
  • C / Db: in this case we have a nice agreement from the diminished range. Amateur fusion and harmonic tensions you will be served.
  • C / D: a nice agreement 7 sus4 9! Here is an agreement that I use very often. In general it is used to "substitute" a chord 7. With the use of Mixolydian mode. Personally I do not really care about the "we have to do like that" ayatollahs of the theory or a particular style. I also use it in the case of dorian mode, or aeolian or others. If the sound pleases me wherever I hear it in my head I do not wonder if theorists blinkers of music will approve or not.
  • C / D #: still a chord from the diminished range that can be thought of as a chord 7 b9 13, characteristic chord of the diminished scale.
  • C / E: a major triad with its own third to the bass, so nothing extraordinary, however it is very interesting to use this type of inversion in voice pipes. That's something I'm abusing.
  • C / F: I use this type of agreement very often. It can be considered as a Fmaj7 sus2. I also use it on a Dm7. I love this type of color.
  • C / F #: I use this agreement a lot in the case of an impaired F #. It gives us an F # 7 b5 b9.
  • C / G: this is the major triad with its fifth on bass. This chord gives a particular color to the triad. It is used in cases of voice conduct. I've already heard it in pop songs (usually when it's the keyboard that arranges)
  • C / Ab: Here is a nice chord of Ab major7 # 5
  • C / A: simply an Am7
  • C / Bb: an agreement that I love to use. He can express several types of chords. Everything depends on where he is placed. If he succeeds to a C he can be considered part of C mixolydien. In which case it is a chord that expresses the super structure of Lydian mode or lydien b7 (we can also say mixolydien # 11). Paul Mc Cartney uses it in some of his songs.
  • C / B: just like the previous agreement we can consider it in several ways. Like a Cmaj7 with the major seventh on the bass or as a B sus4 b6 b9 (usually we will use an Am / B in this case.

I have just listed you the simple triad of C major with foreign basses. Now imagine if I develop all this with C minor, C decreased, C increased, C sus2, C sus4 ... and all hybrids ... Yes that's right there are practically an infinity of possibilities.

If we add to that the phrasing, to mix 2 with the concept "peer triad", to interchange or, let's be crazy, the concept of polychords ... 10 lives of humans would not be enough to explore all possibilities.

So if you thought you knew your triads I think there is still a lot to discover.


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