TRIADS: Inside Out - Module 2 Sneak Peek - Using the major scale as a blueprint for Triads in a Major Key

In module 2 of ‘TRIADS: Inside Out’ we are taking the triad inversions that were learnt in the first module and applying them to the chords in a key to be able to play through any diatonic major chord progression.

Chords scales (playing up through the diatonic chords in the scale) is a super useful exercise to learn chord shapes and how they relate to one another. You can do this with triads, barre chords, seventh chords etc. We are, of course, focusing upon triads at the moment. Rather than climbing up the neck horizontally with the chord scale (which is the most common approach, keeping the triads in the same inversion) we are playing through the chord scale within one particular area of the fretboard. I like to call these ‘segments’, so here is an example playing through the first segment in the key of G major, keeping it all between the 2nd and 5th fret of the guitar.

Module 2 goes through these chord scales in all the different segments of the fretboard and demonstrates how you can use that to quickly add a guitar part to a chord progression. You can find out more about the course and sign up by hitting the button below:

Part 1 of TRIADS: Inside Out - Learning your Closed Voicing Triad Inversions

The first thing you need to learn about triads is the intervals that make up the four different types (major, minor, diminished and augmented) and how to play their different ‘inversions’ up the neck.

The graphic below summarises the content of the first module of my latest video course release ‘TRIADS: Inside Out’. You can sign up and join us inside right now if you want to find out more (which you really should. Triads are SO useful).

Closed voicings find the three notes of the triads as close as they possibly can be within one octave. With the triad containing three notes (a Root, third and fifth), there are three different combinations of these three intervals, known as the inversions.

We have (in order of pitch)

  • Root - Third - Fifth (a root position triad)

  • Third - Fifth - Root (a first inversion triad)

  • Fifth - Root - Third (a second inversion triad)

Closed Voicing Triads String Set 1.png

The examples shown are the four different triad shapes rooted in C on (what I call) string set 1 (the high E, B and G strings).

There are a couple of great exercises within the course to help you memorise the shapes so definitely check it out and I hope to see you inside!

Chord of the Day - How to play a Dmaj7

I had requests on Instagram to add audio/video of me playing my ‘Chord of the Day’ so I thought it best to create a video when I post a new chord with some additional insight, and add it here on my blog.

Today’s chord is the open position D major seventh (Dmaj7). Adding the major seventh to a major triad instantly gives it that dreamy, jazzy quality and this is no exception.

It’s a great little workout for your barre finger 1 if you’re just getting started out with barre chords too.

When harmonising the major scale, the maj7 chord is found upon the 1st and 4th scale degrees, so you can safely replace a I or IV chord with a Imaj7 or IVmaj7 (as long as it sounds good!). In a minor key, it would be a b IIImaj7 and b VImaj7.

This Dmaj7 could then be used in the key of D major (or its relative minor, B minor) or A major (F# minor). Always use your ears though when trying different chords in a progression.

What’s particularly of interest is that any maj7 chord can be thought of as a Root note plus a minor triad formed upon the major 3rd (3) of the maj7 chord. In this example, the 3 is the note F#. Therefore, you can play a Dmaj7 chord by playing an F# minor triad over a D bass note (thinking in slash chords - F#m/D).

With that knowledge you can quickly play three different voicings of the Dmaj7 by playing up the three inversions of the F#m triad on string set 1 (EBG).

My newest course ‘TRIADS: Inside Out’ is now open for enrolment and will going into much more detail of triad substitution for seventh chords. The first module will teach you all the triad inversions on string set 1. You can get more details here or in the sidebar.

If this is a little over your head right now then definitely check out my other course 'Guitar Rut Busters: Essential Theory’.

Practise well.

P.S. Can you think of any other ways we can use triads to create seventh chords?