Guitar Chords All About Triads

As you progress with your guitar playing, learning new chord shapes will broaden the repertoire of songs you can perform. These movable shapes allow for creating chord progressions with unique sounds and colours.


In theory, triads are chords composed of three notes. Major triads have an upbeat sound while minor ones tend to produce sad or melancholic tones.


Triads, chords that only contain three notes, form the fundamental building blocks of guitar chord theory and serve as the basis for all major and minor chords. There are four kinds of triads: major, minor, diminished and augmented.

Each chord type offers its own distinctive sound and can be found in various genres of music. For instance, C7 chords contain C as their root note plus E and G notes plus B flat (seven scale steps above it), making their sound distinct to regular C chords. You’re sure to encounter these chords frequently while listening to your genre of choice so taking time to understand these different kinds can prove invaluable!

Open chords occupy a unique spot as being among the easiest guitar chords to learn and can be performed by guitarists of any skill level. No barring is needed and one finger per string may suffice – making this an excellent starting point for newcomers who wish to acquire confidence on their instrument.

Power chords may seem complex at first glance, but they only use two fingers and are easy to learn. Power chords are perfect for adding rock or blues sounds to your playing and can even help create simple progressions. Furthermore, they serve as an excellent introduction to barre chords if that is something that interests you.

Chord extensions are an integral component of chord progressions and an ideal way to add an extra level of interest and versatility to any song. There are numerous extensions, but sevenths, ninths and thirteenths are among the most commonly used – these can add depth and create more pronounced sounds in any chord voicing.

Alternate chords can add tension and complexity to your guitar playing, adding tension and complexity that is unique from regular chords. Popular in jazz and classical music, alternate chords are created by adding an additional sixth interval into an original chord; this results in jazzier sounding chords which change the feel of any song.

Slash or split chords are created by taking one note out of an existing chord and adding it to another, creating an entirely different sound that works equally well in both major and minor keys. They’re sometimes known as suspended chords due to their unfinished sound; therefore they sometimes give off an air of being unfinished and incomplete.

Other Types of Chords

Want to expand on how to form more complex guitar chords? Check out my section on augmented and diminished chords – there are various variations here but for now I’ll just give an overview.

An augmented chord has the same structure as a major triad, but adds an extra note – usually a major third but sometimes also minor third or major second – giving it more drama or tensional qualities. Conversely, diminished triads feature similar structures but remove one minor third to produce a more melancholic and sad atmosphere.