Minor triad chords (min) | Close, open and inverted voicings | Guitar diagrams

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Chord formulas chartA triad chord is a combination of three notes. This is generally the first kind of chord that a beginning guitarist learn. Mastering triad chords is an efficient way to expand your fretboard and musical knowledge.This is the first step before learning more complex chords. Triads, as their name implies, are made up of a roota major or a minor third,  a perfect, a diminished or an augmented fifth. That gives four qualities of triads :

  • Minor triad : root - minor third and perfect fifth.
  • Major triad : root - major third and perfect fifth.
  • Diminished triad : root - minor third and diminished fifth.
  • Augmented triad : root - major third and augmented fifth.

Notation symbols 

  • Major triad : Generally, no quality symbol is added.
  • Minor triad :"m" or "min".
  • Diminished triad : "dim" or a degree sign "°".
  • Augmented triad : "aug" or a plus sign "+".

Minor triads charts and guitar diagrams

Minor triads are constructed by stacking the root, the major third and the perfect fifth of a minor scale.  As it is shown in the chart below, the A minor triad is made up of A (root), Eb (minor third) and G (perfect fifth). In comparison with the major triad chords, the third is lowered by a semitone.

 A minor scale A B C D E F G
Formula 1 2 (9) b3 4 (11) 5 b6 (b13) b7
A minor triad 1 X b3 X 5 X X

 

Root positions and inversions

Before starting exploring minor triad chords you have to know that an inverted chord is a chord whose notes are arranged in a different order. Which means that the bass can be the third or the fifth instead of the usual root note, thus giving different voicings.

You will find below, 12 guitar diagrams containing four root positions. Each root position is related to two inverted positions with the third or the fifth in the bass. That gives 12 closed positions to play the same minor triad. Remember that closed guitar chords are those where the root position, and all inversions, fit within the space of one octave.

Minor triad chords | Basses on 6th string | Root position and inversions

Here are three guitar diagrams to play minor triads with the bass on the sixth string. 

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

 

Root position

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 6th string

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 6th string 2

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 6th string 3

Minor triad chords | Basses on 5th string | Root position and inversions

The following minor triad chord diagrams have their basses on the fifth string. 

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

 

Root position

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string 2

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 5th string 3

Minor triad chords | Basses on 4th string | Root position and inversions

The following diagrams have their basses on the fourth string. 

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

Root position

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string 2

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 4th string 3

Minor triad chords | Basses on 3rd string | Root position and inversions

Here are 3 last positions which have their basses on the third string. 

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

Root position

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 3rd string

1st inversion (third in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 3rd string 2

2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)

Minor triad chord diagram bass on 3rd string 3

Open voiced minor triads

As it is explained previously, minor triads are built with 3 notes. A root (1), a minor third (b3) and a perfect fifth. There can be open or closed voiced triads whatever they are (minor, major, diminished and augmented). Open voiced triads provide a great way to expand your chord vocabulary. They are very useful for composing or chord melody.

What's the difference between closed and open triads:

Closed voicings : The notes are as close together as possible, all included in one octave.

Open voicings : The notes are spread over more than an octave.

An open voiced triad is built by moving the middle note of a closed voicing up on octave. Let's take an example with a C minor triad (close voicing). It is built with C, the root, Eb the minor third and G, the fifth. To build a open voicing, you have to move the middle note which is Eb an octave up. This way you get a new voicing : C (Root), G (fifth), Eb (minor third). Now you can repeat this operation with the two inverted closed minor triads to obtain two other opened minor triad voicings.

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

 

Minor open voiced triads

Open voiced minor triads - Guitar diagrams

Minor open triad - Root position

Minor open guitar triad chord 8 1

Minor open triad - First inversion

Minor open guitar triad chord 6 1

Minor open triad - Second inversion

Minor open guitar triad chord 1

Minor open triad - Root position

Minor open guitar triad chord 5 1

Minor open triad - First inversion

Minor open guitar triad chord 4 1

Minor open triad - Second inversion

Minor open guitar triad chord 7 1

Minor open triad - Root position

Minor open guitar triad chord 2 1

Minor open triad - First inversion

Minor open guitar triad chord 9

Minor open triad - Second inversion

Minor open guitar triad chord 3 2

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Last edited: 19/10/2017

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