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Scale-tone triads 1


The next three posts are devoted to scale-tone triads. This post gives you the idea. The last two will apply it.



I’ve talked about building a chord on the first note of the scale in previous posts. and


So what about building chords on the other notes of the scale? What chords are built on those?


Before I get to that, some review is in order.



I’ve made the point elsewhere that a triad is a three-note chord. Open string chords are triads that have more than three-notes (some of the three notes are doubled). We’re going to reduce those open string triads to three notes.  For example, the G major open string triad looks like this.

Gmaj open chord

And it looks like this on the staff. There are three Gs, 2 Bs and 1 D.

Gmaj open chord staff



This can be reduced to this. There is one G, one B, and one D.

gmaj 3 note


Which looks like this on the fretboard.


gmaj 3 note in chord box



This is a scale-tone triad built on the first note of the G major scale (the G – 3rd fret, high E string). For each note of the scale, there is an individual triad. Some have this shape. Others have a different shape.


(At this point, you may be saying, “The open-string chord sounds a lot better. Why learn this other one?” Stick with me. It’ll be worth it).


Where are they?

To get the location of the triads built on the other notes of the scale, we need to know where those other notes are. To do this, we play the G major scale on the E string starting on the third fret. Here’s what that looks like.


single string G major scale


Play that a few times to get to know where all the notes are. Do it using only your index finger. Imagine that each time you play one of those notes, you’re playing a triad.


In the next post, you’ll play the actual triads as a sequence from the first note of the scale to the last.


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