Bing Hodneland logo



List Bestselling Books


List Bestselling DVDs


Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
In Association with

All the information on this site is free. But if it is of value to you, I appreciate a tip.

Previous page:

Lesson 16 - Major Triad - Part 2

Next page:
Previous page: Lesson 15 - Right and Left Hand Technique - IV Next page: Lesson 17 - Good Right and Left Hand Technique - V

Lesson 16 - Major Triad - Part 2

Lesson: 16
Title: Major Triad - Part 2
Level: Intermediate
Style: Theory
Instructor: Roger Brotherhood

SOME of you folks may have looked at the previous lesson regarding the importance of learning the map of major and minor triads in all locations on the fingerboard. I thought it might be a good idea to take another look at the map and talk about some ways to make memorizing it a little easier. If you'd like to take another look at the first post, search the field for "TRIAD MAP".

It's important NOT to try to memorize "shapes" on the guitar. This can become overwhelming when you begin to learn ALL the possible chords on the instrument. Instead, try to learn the relationships between the basic chord tones (Root, 3rd, and 5th).

It's a good idea to start with the Root/5th relationship. Here's the way it looks, ANYWHERE on the fingerboard.

 E|---|---|---|---|   E|---|---|---|---|   E|---|---|---|---|---|
 B|---|---|---|---|   B|---|---|---|---|   B|---|---|---|---|-R-|
 G|---|---|---|---|   G|---|---|---|-R-|   G|---|---|---|-5-|---|
 D|---|---|---|-R-|   D|---|---|---|-5-|   D|---|-R-|---|---|---|
 A|---|---|---|-5-|   A|---|-R-|---|---|   A|---|---|---|---|---|
 E|---|-R-|---|---|   E|---|---|---|---|   E|---|---|---|---|---|
 E|---|---|---|---|-R-|   E|---|---|---|-5-|
 B|---|---|---|---|-5-|   B|---|-R-|---|---|
 G|---|-R-|---|---|---|   G|---|---|---|---|
 D|---|---|---|---|---|   D|---|---|---|---|
 A|---|---|---|---|---|   A|---|---|---|---|
 E|---|---|---|---|---|   E|---|---|---|---|

Rock players refer to this as a "power chord". It's the most basic relationship on the guitar. Here's the way the map looks when you tie all the Roots and 5ths together.


Remember, these relationships are true no matter which note you choose as the root. A really good exercise is picking a note anywhere on the guitar and playing the COMPLETE map of Roots and 5ths with that note as the root. Make sure you go down to the lowest available note, and up to the highest available note before you return to the note you started on. Make sure you become VERY familiar with the map using the roots: E, A, D, G, and C. Any other chord root will be 3 frets or less from one of these tones.

Here's the relationship of the 3rd to each root. Again, this is true ANYWHERE on the fingerboard.

 E|---|---|---| E|---|---|---| E|---|---|---| E|---|---|---| E|-3-|---|---|
 B|---|---|---| B|---|---|---| B|---|---|---| B|---|-3-|---| B|---|-R-|---|
 G|---|---|---| G|---|---|---| G|-3-|---|---| G|---|-R-|---| G|---|---|---|
 D|---|---|---| D|---|-3-|---| D|---|-R-|---| D|---|---|---| D|---|---|---|
 A|-3-|---|---| A|---|---|-R-| A|---|---|---| A|---|---|---| A|---|---|---|
 E|---|-R-|---| E|---|---|---| E|---|---|---| E|---|---|---| E|---|---|---|

Notice how you have to compensate for the tuning of the guitar when you transfer these intervals to the second and third strings. (The B and G strings.)

Here's how the map of roots and 3rds looks when you put it together with the Roots and 5ths. Remember, the Roots and 5ths form the skeleton of the major and minor triads. Once you know those, the 3rds are easy to add on.


Remember, learn the Roots and 5ths WELL before you even think about adding the 3rds. Then, practice up and down the neck as before, except this time whenever you reach a Root, play the 3rd. Then continue on to the 5th, which takes you to the next Root, etc.

It might be a good idea to take another look at the first post on the triad map, at this point.

Remember, this concept is the secret to making everything else you learn on the guitar easy. ANYTHING you learn about the guitar will be related to and based on this map . . . chords, scales, EVERYTHING!!

Please let me know if there is an interest in this stuff ... I'll be happy to continue with this from time to time if there is.

Have fun,

Roger Brotherhood

Previous page: Previous page: Lesson 15 - Right and Left Hand Technique - IVNext page: Lesson 17 - Good Right and Left Hand Technique - V Next page:

Previous page: Next page:
Previous page: Lesson 15 - Right and Left Hand Technique - IV Next page: Lesson 17 - Good Right and Left Hand Technique - V