48 triad chords | Guitar diagrams | Root positions & inversions

48 triad guitar chordsMastering Triads on the guitar is necessary for any guitarist who wants to expand is fretboard and theory knowledge. These chords are not really considered as jazz chords because of their basic sound, but they can be efficient tools for comping and chord soloing. Indeed, the strong point of these chords is the simplicity of learning and playing. You will find in this lesson 48 positions to play major, minor , diminished and augmented triad chords on the guitar.

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What are triads ?

Triad chords, as their name implies, are made up of three notes. They are divided in 4 categories according to wether they are minor, major, augmented or diminished. 

  • Minor triads are built with a root (1), a minor third (b3) and a perfect fifth (5).
  • Major triads are built with a root (1), a major third (3) and a perfect fifth (5).
  • Diminished triads are built with a root (1), a minor third (b3) and a flat fifth (b5).
  • Augmented triads are built with a root (1), a major third (3) and an augmented fifth (#5).

What are "close position" chords ?

It is a chord played with all its tones as close together as they can be. If the notes are spread out, then it is called "open position." An open position chord has some "air" between one or more of its tones. This blog post contains only "close positions".

What are root position chords ?

The tones of a root position chords are in the right order, for example, with a major triad : root - third and fifth. 

What are inverted chords ?

The tones of inverted chords are in a different order than the root positions. Inverted chords don't have the root note in the bass, instead they have the third or the fifth as the lowest note of the chord shape.

Here is an example with the C major chord  built with C-E-G, respectively the root (1), the major third (3) and the fifth (5). The bass note (the lowest note) is the root. This is the basic position also called "root position". This chord can be inversed in two different ways. One with the third in the bass and one with the fifth in the bass.That gives two inverted chords.

Root position  C E G
1st inversion (third in the bass) E G C
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) G C E

Major triads - Chord shapes - Guitar diagrams

Major triads are made up of a root (R), a major third (3) and a perfect fifth (5). Here are 12 diagrams to play them on the guitar, including 4 root positions with basses on the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd strings and their related inverted chords.

Root position  R 3 5
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 5 R
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 R 3

Root positions

Major triad chord bass on 6th string

1st inversions

Major triad chord bass on 6th string 2

2nd inversions

Major triad chord bass on 6th string 3

Major triad chord bass on 5th string

Major triad chord bass on 5th string 2

Major triad chord bass on 5th string 3

Major triad chord bass on 4th string

Major triad chord bass on 4th string 2

Major triad chord bass on 4th string 3

Major triad chord bass on 3rd string

Major triad chord bass on 3rd string 2

Major triad chord bass on 3rd string 3

Minor triads - Chord shapes - Guitar diagrams

Minor triads are built with a root (R), a minor third (b3) and a perfect fifth (5). The 12 following diagrams includes 4 root positions with basses on the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd strings and 8 inverted chords.

Root position  R b3 5
1st inversion (third in the bass) b3 5 R
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) 5 R b3

Root positions

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 6th string

1st inversions

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 6th string 2

2nd inversions

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 6th string 3

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string 2

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string 3

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string 2

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string 3

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string 2

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string 3

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 3rd string

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 3rd string 2

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 3rd string 3

Minor triads - Chord shapes - Guitar diagrams

Diminished triads are built with a root (R), a minor third (b3) and a diminished fifth (b5). Here are 12 guitar diagrams including 4 root positions with basses on the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd strings and 8 inverted chords.

Root position  R b3 b5
1st inversion (third in the bass) b3 b5 R
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) b5 R b3

Root positions

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 1

1st inversions

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 2

2nd inversions

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 3

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 4

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 5

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 6

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 7

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 8

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 9

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 10

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 11

Diminished triad chords guitar diagram 12

Augmented triads - Chord shapes - Guitar diagrams

Augmented triads are built with a root (R), a major third (3) and an augmented fifth (#5). Here are 12 diagrams including 4 root positions with basses on the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd strings and 8 inverted chords to play on the guitar.

Root position  R 3 #5
1st inversion (third in the bass) 3 #5 R
2nd inversion (fifth in the bass) #5 R 3

Root positions

Augmented triad chord bass on 6th string

1st inversions

Augmented triad chord bass on 6th string 2

2nd inversions

Augmented triad chord bass on 6th string 3

Augmented triad chord bass on 5th string

Augmented triad chord bass on 5th string 2

Augmented triad chord bass on 5th string 3

Augmented triad chord bass on 4th string

Augmented triad chord bass on 4th string 2

Augmented triad chord bass on 4th string 3

Augmented triad chord bass on 3rd string

Augmented triad chord bass on 3rd string 2

Augmented triad chord bass on 3rd string 3

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