Major Triad Chords - Guitar Fretboard Diagrams
What Are Triads?
Triads are a combination of three notes built in thirds. They are generally the first chords to learn for the beginner guitarist. Learning and playing triads on all over the guitar fretboard will expand your musical knowledge and comping skills.
Triads are made up of a root (1), a third which can be major (3) or minor (b3) and a fifth which can be perfect (5), diminished (b5) or augmented (#5). Thus giving four qualities of triads :
- Major triads are built of three notes : root, major third and perfect fifth.
- Minor triads contain a root, a minor third and a perfect fifth.
- Diminished triads are built with root, minor third and diminished fifth.
- Augmented triads are built with root, major third and augmented fifth.
- MAJOR TRIADS
- Generally, no quality symbol is added
- MINOR TRIADS
- "m" or "min"
- DIMINISHED TRIADS
- "dim" or a degree sign "°"
- AUGMENTED TRIADS
- "aug" or a plus sign "+"
Major Triad Chords - Charts and Guitar Fretboard Diagrams
Major triads are basically built by stacking the root, the major third and the perfect fifth of the major scale. As you can see in the chart below, the C major triad is made up of C (root), E (major third) and G (perfect fifth).
|C major scale||C||D||E||F||G||A||B|
|Formula||1||2 (9)||3||4 (11)||5||6 (13)||7|
|C major triad||1||X||3||X||5||X||X|
Major triad chords | Close voicings | Root position and inversions
An inverted chord is a chord whose notes are arranged so that a note other than the root is in the lowest voice. In other words, the notes of the chord are in a different order.
In the following diagrams you will find four root positions related to the third, fourth, fifth and sixth strings. Each root position occurs two inverted chords with the third or the fifth in the bass. That gives 12 closed positions for one chord.
What is a Closed Chord?
Closed guitar chords are those where the root and the inverted positions, fit within the space of one octave. You have to practice and master these twelve positions in twelve keys. You also have to be able to name each chord that you play.
The four guitar diagrams below show you how to play close voiced major triads with basses on the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd string.
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||3||5||R|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||R||3|
Open voiced major triads
Since major triads are built with 3 notes, it is possible to drop the second highest note (the middle note) of a major close voiced triad up an octave to produce what will call a drop 2 voicing referred to as open voiced triad. It is a very much appreciated technique by composers and arrangers.
This concept can be applied to any chords as minor, major, diminished and augmented. The chart below show you three major open voiced triads in connection with the three guitar diagrams below.
|Root position (root in the bass)||R||5||3|
|1st inversion (third in the bass)||3||R||5|
|2nd inversion (fifth in the bass)||5||3||R|
Let's take an example with a close C major chord. It is built with a root (C), a third (E) and a fifth (G). By dropping the second highest note (E) up an octave, we obtain a new sequence of notes : C, G and E respectively the root, the fifth and the third. This is a C major open voiced triad chord. Bar 1
In bar 2 the second highest note of the first inversion of C major is dropped up an octave. That gives E (third), C (root) and G (fifth), referred to as an open C major chord third in the bass (C/E).
As you can see in bar 3 , the second highest note of the second inversion of C major is dropped. Thus giving G (fifth), E (third) and C (root). This is a C major open voiced triad with the fifth in the bass. (C/G).
The chart below show what notes are highlighted when a major triad is played over a specific degree of a given chord. Example with the first row of the table : when playing a a major triad starting on the second of C major (D) we highlight the 9, #11 and 13 of C.
|CHORD TYPE||MAJOR TRIAD STARTING ON||TRIAD ANALYSIS||CHORD||TRIAD|
|major||2||9 #11 13||C||D|
|major||5||5 7 9||C||G|
|major||3||3 13 1||C||F|
|MAJ7||5||5 7 9||CM7||G|
|MAJ7||2||9 #11 13||CM7||D|
|MAJ7||3||3 #5 7||CM7 (#5)||E|
|min||b3||b3 5 b7||Cm||Eb|
|min||2||9 #11 13||Cm||D|
|min||4||11 13 1||Cm||F|
|min||7||7 9 11||Cm||Bb|
|min||5||5 M7 9||Cm(Maj7)||G|
|min||M7||M7 b3 #11||Cm(Maj7)||B|
|min7||2||9 #11 13||Cm7||D|
|min7||b3||b3 5 b7||Cm7||Eb|
|min7||4||11 13 1||Cm7||F|
|min7||b7||b7 9 11||Cm7||Bb|
|7||2||9 #11 13||C7||D|
|7(sus4)||4||11 13 1||C7sus4||F|
|7(sus4)||b7||b7 9 11||C7sus4||Bb|
|7#9||#9||#9 5 b7||C7#9||Eb|
|7b9||6||13 b9 3||C713b9||A|
|7alt||#4||#11 b7 b9||C7alt||F#|
|7alt||#5||b13 1 #9||C7alt||Ab|
|m7b5||2||9 #11 13||Cm7b5||D|
|m7b5||4||11 13 1||Cm7b5||F|
|m7b5||6||b13 1 b3||Cm7b5||Ab|
|m7b5||b7||b7 9 11||Cm7b5||Bb|
Here below you can see (and hear) what tones are highlighted when playing the twelve major triads over the same bass note (C). The lower stave show the bass note (C) whereas the higher stave show the major triads. Example with the second bar : playing a Db major triad (Db-F-Ab) over C brings out the b9, 11 and b13 (or #5) of C.
This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on guitar.
This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files related to 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
This pdf method for guitar contains fourteen 2 5 1 jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
This guitar method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor 2 5 1 jazz patterns.
This package contains 3 PDF methods for jazz guitarists with tabs, audio files, analysis about the II V I progression.
PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.
This giant guitar poster for any guitar player, student or instructor contains colorful arpeggio diagrams.
This guitar poster contains eighteen neck diagrams representing the most used scales in music.
This giant printed color poster contains 63 guitar chord diagrams for jazz players, students, teachers and schools.
Guitar reference poster about Greek modes for guitar teachers, students and music schools.
This is a printable PDF for guitar teachers and students containing seven cheat sheets about the modes of the major scale.
This printable PDF provides 7 diagrams to play medieval church modes on guitar.
You'll find here a printable PDF file containg guitar charts and diagrams of the seven modes of the harmonic minor scale.
You'll find a printable PDF in high resolution including guitar charts of the seven modes from the melodic minor scale.
Free major 7 arpeggio cheat sheets for guitar students and teachers. Three files are available for download, PDF, JPEG and PNG.
This page contains three music cheat sheets for guitar teachers and students about minor seventh arpeggios
This page contains a link to three cheat sheets about dominant 7 arpeggios. Guitar neck diagrams, theory and chart.
Three printable cheat sheets for guitar about m7b5 arpeggios for teachers and students.
Three music cheat sheets in PDF , JPEG and PNG formats for guitar teachers and students.
Three files (PDF, JPEG, PNG) including minor major 7 arpeggios shapes and theory for guitar teachers and students.
You'll find guitar cheat sheets with shapes, theory and formula chart about augmented major 7 arpeggios.
This page provides three augmented dominant 7 arpeggio cheat sheets for guitar players.
Last edited: 2021-09-17