Major Triads In C

Major Triads In C

“Triads” are 3-note chords.
There are major chords and minor chords.

  1. Major chords consist of a root, a major 3rd (above the root) and a 5th (above the root). i.e. C E G
  2. Minor chords consist of a root, a minor 3rd (above the root) and a 5th (above the root). i.e. C Eb G

Today we’ll cover the major chords on strings 1 2 3 in the key of C
There are 3 major chords in a major scale: on I, IV and V.
This means: on the first chord in the scale, the 4th chord and the 5th chord. In the key of C, I, IV and V are: C, F and G

Here are all the C major chords on the top 3 strings.

c-triads

Learn the C chords first.

  1. The 553 shape (5th fret, 5th fret, 3rd fret) is what you call “root position”. The notes from low to high are C E G (root, 3rd, 5th). Whenever you play that shape on these 3 strings, you play a major chord with the root as the lowest note.
  2. The 988 shape (9th fret, 8th fret, 8th fret) is what you call “1st inversion”. The notes from low to high are E G C (3rd, 5th, root). Whenever you play that shape on these 3 strings, you play a major chord with the 3rd as the lowest note.
  3. The 010 shape (open G string, 1st fret, open E string) is what you call “2nd inversion”. The notes from low to high are G C E (5th, root, 3rd). When you play the 010 shape up 12 frets, you get the same notes on the frets 12/13/12. Whenever you play that shape on these 3 strings, you play a major chord with the 5th as the lowest note.

There is a trick to speed up your memorization of the location of the 3 shapes. The trick is to focus on the notes on the G string. The notes you are looking for (for a C chord) are C, E and G.

  1. C is on the 5th fret of the G string
  2. E is on the 9th fret on the G string
  3. G is on the 12th fret on the G string.

Focusing on these 3 notes on the G string only, helps you memorize the location of each C shape.

The 5/5/3 shape goes on the root C
The 9/8/8 shape goes on the 3rd E
The 12/13/12 (010) shape goes on the 5th G

Play these 3 C chord shapes up and down till you feel pretty confident you have them memorized.
Then move on to learning and memorizing the F shapes.
You’ll notice, it’s the same 3 shapes, just in different locations.

f-triads

The notes in an F chord are F, A and C
These are the 3 notes you’re focusing on on the G string.
You play the root shape on F on the 10th fret
You play the first inversion (3rd in bass) shape on A on the 2nd fret
You play the 2nd inversion (5th in bass) shape on C on the 5th fret

Once you get all the F chords memorized: go up the neck with C chords and down the neck with F chords.
When you can do this pretty easily: learn the G chords.

g-triads

G chords are easy if you know the F chords really well. The G chords are the 3 F chords up 2 frets.

When you get the G chords down, go up with C chords and down with G chords.

One you feel you get all C, F and G chords down pretty well on these 3 strings, you are ready for the next exercise.
Practice these chords over a 12-bar blues in C

C | F | C | C |
F | F | C | C |
G | F | C | G |

Here’s what you do:

In bar 1: play 2 different C chords, 2 beats each, downstrokes only.
In bar 2: play 2 different F chords, 2 beats each, downstrokes only.
In bar 3: play 2 different C chords, 2 beats each, downstrokes only.
In bar 3: play 2 different C chords, 2 beats each, downstrokes only.
In bar 5: play 2 different F chords, 2 beats each, downstrokes only.
In bar 6: play 2 different F chords, 2 beats each, downstrokes only.
… and so on.

This is going to be challenging at first, but this is a good drill to really nail down these chords.
When you can do this pretty well, start practicing it with a metronome.
Work it up to 145bpm.
When you can play this exercise at that tempo, you don’t have to think anymore: you really have your C, F and G triads memorized.

Hit me up anytime at [email protected] if you would like me to send you backing tracks of the above chord progression, if you have any questions, or if you would like to book a lesson.
You’re on your way to becoming a great guitar player.
Have fun! 🙂

Conclusion

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  1. Improvising with Triads | ZOT Zin Guitar Lessons Says:

    […] Major Triads In C […]

    July 10th, 2020 at 8:25 am