Minor Triad Chords | Close, Open and Inverted Voicings | Guitar Diagrams

What's a Minor Triad?

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, an A minor triad is made up of A (root), C (minor third) and E (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

What's an Inverted Chord?

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. That means that the bass can be the third or the fifth instead of the usual root note, thus giving different voicings.

What Are The Four Main Types of Triads?

The four types of triads are :

  • Major : 1 3 5 
  • Minor : 1 b3 5 
  • Diminished : 1 b3 b5 
  • Augmented : 1 3 #5

Minor Triad Chord Charts | Root Positions and Inversions

Minor Triad Chords - Close Voicings

You will find below 4 guitar diagrams containing 12 minor triad chord shapes in closed position. Remember that close voiced chords are those where the root position, and all inversions, fit within the space of one octave.

The interval structures for close voiced triads are :

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

 

Minor Triads - Open Voicings

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 comping, composing or chord melody.

What is An Open Voiced Triad?

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 that 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 open 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

 

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.

Here are three guitar diagrams each containing three open minor triad shapes. The root chord R 5 b3 is in blue. The first inversion b3 R 5 is in red and the second inversion 5 b3 R is in green.

Triad Pairs

What is The Triad Pairs Technique?

Minor triads can be used by pairs, this is what we call "the triad pairs technique". It's a simple principle employed by many jazz improvisers. The basic used is to take two adjacent minor triads from the diatonic scale that are the ii and iii degrees, e.g with the C major scale. 

As you can see the C major scale (just as all the scales) contains three minor chord types related to the second, third and sixth degrees. Only two triads are adjacent, Dm and Em, the second and third degree.

 

Minor triad pairs in the major scale

The triad pairs system consists in playing these two triads over any diatonic chord. In this way you highlight some chord tones as explains below.

 

Minor triad pairs against chords of the major scale

Practicing Diatonic Minor Triad Pairs

The examples below show how to practice minor triads using the triad pairs system.

  • The first exercise consists in playing the two adjacent minor triads of C major in order to cover the sixth string of the guitar using the root voicing (1 - b3 - 5) and the two related inversions (b3 - 5 - 1 and (5 - 1 - b3).
  • The second tab contains minor triads with basses on the sixth string.
  • The third tab have minor triads with basses on the fifth string.
  • Third exercise, basses on the fourth string.
  • Fourth example, basses on the third string.

 

Minor triad pairs on guitar

 

Minor triad pairs on guitar 6th string

 

Minor triad pairs on guitar 5th string

 

Minor triad pairs on guitar 4th string

 

Minor triad pairs on guitar 3rd string

Minor Triad Pairs Over Major 2 5 1 Progression

Here is an easy example of use of diatonic minor triad pairs over the iim7 chord of a classic 2 5 1 sequence.

Triad pairs guitar exercise 1

  • 40 Minor II V I Licks

    This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor II V I jazz licks.
  • 40 II V I Jazz Guitar Licks

    This pdf method for guitar contains 40 II V I jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This guitar method is a printable PDF eBook contains 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation on how to play over II-V-I chord progressions using different kind of voicings.
  • II V I Bundle

    This package contains 3 PDF methods for jazz guitarists with tabs, audio files, analysis about the II V I progression.
  • 40 Mixolydian Jazz Guitar Lick

    This package contains a guitar method available as a PDF with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
  • 40 Minor (Dorian) Jazz Guitar

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • Diatonic Licks Bundle

    This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
  • Guitar Walking Bass Lines

    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
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation, audio files and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • 11 Jazz Blues Studies

    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.
  • Mastering The Altered Scale

    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.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    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.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    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.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    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.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    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.

Last edited: 04/12/2020

  • No ratings yet - be the first to rate this.