How to Play Guitar Triads

guitar chords notes

A chord consists of 3 or more notes strung together, and its sound comes from the intervals between them.

Major and Minor Triads

The first diagram illustrates a major triad, built starting on C, featuring two whole tones between its notes C and E and 1 12 between E and G.


Triads are the simplest type of chord, consisting of only three notes separated by an interval (which measures their distance). Each note in a triad has what’s known as its root note – referred to as the root note for purposes of naming a triad; for instance a C major triad starts off with C as its root note before having a major third located four frets higher on its neck than C’s root note C; similarly B major chord has this structure but two frets higher up its neck; while F major chord also has this structure as E major triad but one fret further up its neck.

Reduced triads represent the next level up from minor triads and are created by adding a minor second note to the root note of the chord, creating dissonance and tension. G form diminished triads are quite popular in rock music such as My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless album while D form diminished triads can be found across genres including pop, jazz and country music.

The dominant seventh chord is another kind of triad formed by adding a minor seventh note to the root note, producing a dramatic and powerful sound that’s often found in rock music – particularly power chords.

Pentatonic triads can be one of the hardest triads to master due to having five notes instead of three, yet don’t sound difficult once you learn their construction. Just keep in mind that each note is separated by half step or tone to make them easier when learning the fretboard’s intervals.

Treble The treble strings on a guitar are the closest to your ears and typically tuned to E, A, and D for optimal playback. Their highest frequencies include E, A and D with more open strings strung with lighter gauge string to achieve brighter singing quality than heavier bass strings which often weigh significantly more and thicker gauge strings.

Bass Guitar basses feature three strings tuned to E, A and D that produce a much deeper and thunderous sound than its treble strings. The low E string usually sits one step below its high E string for added bassiness; both tuning sharper than A and D strings to achieve their characteristic bassy tone. Furthermore, only its lower E string features a metal nut which helps extend sustain and adds to overall tone of the instrument; an additional string called the sub-bass completes this ensemble.