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Practicing Major Triads & Inversions Series 4

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In this tutorial we will use a backing track to systematically practice triad chords and their various inversion shapes on the G, B and E strings. Among the goals of this tutorial are integrate the theory of
chord voicings and voicing motion with practicing and visualizing the specific shapes of triad chord inversions.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of triad chord inversions, then I strongly suggest you review this tutorial which explicitly covers the theory of inversions and triad chord voicings:

Chord Inversions: An Introduction

We will use a backing track to practice these ideas using three major chords: A major, D major and E major. We will use the idea that a chord in it's most fundamental basic unit is only three notes: the 1st (root), 3rd and 5th from it's respective scale. Therefore, an A major chord is the the 1st (root), 3rd and 5th from an A major scale.

A major scale:

A (1) - B (2) - C# (3) - D (4) - E (5) - F# (6) - G# (7)

A major chord:

A (1) - C# (3) - E (5)

Anywhere on any musical instrument you can isolate, find and play these three notes you have an A major chord.

From there we build chord inversions in order to achieve an A major chord in a variety of voicings for different sounds. We do the same to D major and E major chords. We find a place to play these chords on the G, B and E strings. Then we are ready to practice!

Anytime you practice it is valuable to have a reliable standard to measure your progress. Usually this involves playing some specific musical idea, scales or chords along with a metronome in order to gradually improve. In this case, we have a group of chords that we will practice over a backing track. In my experience it is much more motivating, rewarding and fun to play along with a backing track than a metronome. A metronome certainly has it's place in the musician's tool kit. But, we are eventually going to play music with these chords.

The backing track is a simple audio recording of a bass and drums playing the same thing over and again. The bass plays the root notes of the chords we are practicing: A, D, A and E. The bass plays even 1/8th notes walking from chord to chord using notes of the A major scale. Each chord gets two measures, making a total of 8 measures then repeating.

  • A major for 2 measures

  • D major for 2 measures

  • A major for 2 measures

  • E major for 2 measures

  • Repeat!

    ||: A | A | D | D | A | A | E | E :||

    The drums outlines a simple back beat pop-rock rhythm with a cymbal crash to mark the chord changes. Each lesson page has it's own audio file to play in the page or download as an MP3 to use offline whenever you desire.

    The ulitmate goal with this tutorial is to play along with every chord or note, changing at the right time and playing right along in rhythm. Along the way you may need to "miss" the last chord or two in any measure in order to get to the next chord in time. That's fine. Do that until you can add those "missing" chords and fill in all the blanks.

    In this first lesson we have the A major, D major and E major triad chords in root position on the G, B and E strings.

    We have the same exact shape that we can simply shift up and down the fretboard in order to create three different chords.

    When you start to practice these (and all the exercises in this series of lessons) you should start by playing the chord once for an entire two measures. Then try playing each chord as it changes once on each measure. Then try one chord per beat (quarter notes). Then you can try eighth notes.

    Notice that I also have a picking option involving arpeggiation in eighth notes. Use all these options, mix and match them. Explore all the possibilities once you have the shapes and motions firmly under your fingers.

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    Practicing Major Triads & Inversions Series 4