Don't Know Your Triads? Just Do This!

To understand triad patterns, we need to do is study how to track root notes along the length of the neck. And, one of the best ways to study this is through practicing a triad inversion workout. If you don't know how to do that - you're in luck! This lesson breaks it all down in a fun easy way!

One of the most important things about learning to cover the guitar neck with smaller chord patterns is to realize that the shapes we most often use for first position chords will already contain the notes necessary for creating other chords within them.

For example in this lesson we'll learn about the process of "Inversions." Chord tones can flip around and create other fret-board shapes on the neck with inversions. Plus, inversion study is an excellent fingerboard study.


Major and Minor chord patterns that function on the neck using three notes are called triads. And, since triads have three notes, we can organize them on the neck using groups of three strings.

Once we learn a primary shape, (that we’ll call our Root Position pattern), we can then travel along the neck laterally and learn two more shapes that invert (flip around) the chord tones.

These inverted shapes will be called our first and second inversions. And, the notes of each chord will flip around, and invert, so keeping track of the root will be the main job you’ll have at first.

Our first study using this process will involve a common chord that most guitar players already know, it’s the 4th-string rooted “F.”

The diagrams below show how inversions would work if we did the inversion process along the fourth string using an “F Major” chord…

This triad process can be done with any chord, and it can be applied from off of any guitar string. Let’s try this again, but this time we’ll set things up from off of the 5th guitar string using another incredibly popular chord (that I’m sure many of you also know), it’s going to be the standard open position, “C Major” chord.

Here’s what our inversion process looks like when we use the open position, “C Major.”

Keep in mind that this approach can be used with any chord type, and that goes for any major or minor chord, 7th chords, extended types, literally any chord out there.

The triads (that we used here), can be built like you’ve just seen, (off of any set of three guitar strings anyplace on the guitars fingerboard, using Major or Minor, Diminished or Augmented)...

Once you start studying and practicing this method (for learning the chord inversions along and across the neck), what’s really cool is that you can play them as your rhythm riffs in a song, and they really come across as sounding just killer!

For a great example of this triad process in action, just have a listen to the music composed by guitar legend, Eddie Van Halen…. He loves using these triad process chord shapes in the Van Halen songs. The keyboard riff from "Jump" is a great example.

Thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at

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I've worked on these guitar courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program that you'll ever find. 

The course layout and structure will help you learn to identify exactly what is required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that simply makes sense.

I look forward to helping you further at

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Until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next Creative Guitar video. Bye for now!



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