This article teaches one essential guitar triad exercise. When learning jazz guitar chords, one chord type that is frequently neglected is the triad.

While major, dominant and minor 7th chords are indeed the four main chord types used in jazz, the triad is worth focusing on. Having a firm grasp of triads will ensure the necessary technique is in place when learning the multiple functions of triads.

This guitar triad exercise was shown to me by friend and guitar teacher Ed Ellis.

The harmonized major scale and 3 note adjacent string triads on strings 234 are used to demonstrate this triad exercise. Tips for taking this exercise further are suggested at the end of this guitar triad exercise article.

When most guitarists practice triads of the harmonized major scale, they tend to practice them in a vertical fashion using mostly symmetrical shapes as demonstrated in the example below.

 

Guitar Triad Exercise - 2 Harmonized Major Scale vertical

 

There is nothing wrong with this. However, the guitar triad exercise in this article helps to provide an even deeper knowledge of triads because it utilizes root position, first inversion and second inversion triads.

 

Guitar Triad Exercise Step 1 – Scale on Strings 234

 

The first step in learning this guitar triad exercise to play the scale on strings 234 as demonstrated in the tab below. This may seem like a strange way to practice a scale but it will test ones knowledge of keys rather than memorized fingerings. It also also essential to know the scale this way for the next step.

 

Guitar Triad Exercise - 1 Scale on Strings 432

 

Guitar Triad Exercise Step 2 – Triads on Strings 234

 

Once the scale can be fluently played on single strings, add the appropriate triad from the harmonized major scale where applicable. Use the root as a guide.

The example below demonstrates how the exercise should look if all the correct triads are found.

 

Guitar Triad Exercise - 3 Exercise Demo

Notice that the exercise finishes on a different C major inversion than it started on. Repeat the exercise again using this C inversion, and once more after that.

The exercise should be completed three times per adjacent string set. There are 3 different triad inversions and running the exercise three times will ensure that all inversions are covered.

 

Further Guitar Triad Exercise Tips

 

  • Practice the exercise in all 12 keys
  • Practice the exercise on different adjacent string sets such as123, 234, 345, 456 to cover the entire guitar neck
  • Apply this guitar triad exercise to different tunes in the woodshed.

 

I hope that you enjoy this guitar triad exercise and that is useful. What are your favorite ways of practicing triads? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

 

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