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  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing

  • 30 Days to Better Guitar Playing




  • stevie ray vaughan guitar

    Major Scale Triads

    by Simon James




    One of the most effective ways of opening up the fretboard is to make good use of Triads both as exercises and a stools for improvisation. A Triad can be described simply as any group of Three Notes. You may have heard already about a Tonic Triad, which refers to the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of a scale for the root note or Tonic Chord. For example the Triad of a C Chord, contains a C, D and G and it is called a Tonic Triad if it is the first note or Tone of the Scale.

    It follows, then that for each of the notes of a particular scale we can play a corresponding Triad or 1st, 3rd, and 5th, for each note as we play through that scale.

    The benefits in this are potentially countless.One use is that you will solidify your knowledge of chords in the Diatonic Sequence, another is that you will find it a good deal easier to switch between one position and another as well as across strings when you are improvising. A third benefit may be that you will easily be able to spot corresponding harmony lines once you have your Triads safely in your Technical repertoire. These are just the first three uses that leap to mind, you will find many others, I promise, and I would be happy to see any suggestions for other uses in the Comments boxes below as I still find different ways to apply Triads to my playing today.

    In the following exercises I have chosen C Major as the key. We will be moving up the String playing the Triads, that is 1st, 3rd and 5th notes for each chord, for all of the Chords in the Diatonic Sequence, with C Major being the Tonic Triad.

    C Major Triads: String Sets 1, 2 and 3

     
     

    C Major Triads: String Sets 1, 2 and 3

    The first set of strings is a good place to begin as the Sequence starts on the Tonic Triad namely C. With it we will play the 3rd (E) and the 5th (G) but notice that there is an inversion. The root note of the Chord when played in this string set will always fall on the second string, or in the middle. As you play through this exercise (and I recommend that you play three notes per beat slowly first of all) notice how the root note of each chord is always on the second string.

    easy blues boxes  

    C Major Triads: String Sets 2, 3 and 4

    The following set is on strings 2, 3 and 4. This time we will be starting on a G Major chord as the layout of the guitar has causes us to begin on a different ote in the Diatonic Sequence of Chords for C Major. The root note of each chord is again the note to be played in the middle of each particular inversion. So we play each Triad as the 5th, 1st and 3rd for each chord.

    easy blues boxes  

    Here is a lick in Box 2 that utilizes some of these notes that would work well over a Quick Change in the first four bars of a Blues Progression. Like the example before this one takes a Major 3rd from the Major Scale by way of the C to C# in Bar 4: easy blues boxes  









    C Major Triads: String Sets 3, 4 and 5

    Our next Box is a position that has become synonymous with the playing of B.B. King. Notice how this one has a Major feel to it:

    easy blues boxes  

    By adding the chromatic notes on the first string (from the E to the D) and by bending the second string (from the C to the D) this lick can be effective over each of the I-IV-V chords in the progression:

    easy blues boxes  

    C Major Triads: String Sets 4, 5 and 6

    I have termed Blues Box 4 the Eric Clapton position solely because I have seen Clapton play a number of licks in this position. It could also be called an Albert King position because it is another way of playing licks like the ones found in Blues Box 2.

    easy blues boxes  

    This lick cries out for some full tone bends on the second string as I have seen Clapton do, and feel free to practice some Albert King style phrasing here too:

    easy blues boxes  

    Blues Box 5: Country Blues Position

    The final box is not one I use so often in Standard 12 bar blues as it has a distinctly country blues flavour. Nevertheless it is well worth learning and can yield some interesting Major Blues country licks.

    easy blues boxes  

    Angus Young is one guitarist who uses this position a great deal. Here is one such lick similar to one of his phrases in the solo to Back In Black that could be incorporated into a more typical Blues solo.

    easy blues boxes  




    Related Posts:

    1. Using Arpeggios to Master Any Chord Progression

    2. Diatonic Arpeggios

    3. Riff of the Week : Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

    4. 3 Essential Jimmy Page Blues Licks

    5. Lick of the Week: Thrill Is Gone by B.B.King