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Intervals -- number names explained

Scales: Major and 3 minor

Inversion of Intervals

Letter spellings and spelling system


Chord construction

Chord Progressions

The four Triads

Minor scale chord progressions






Triads — The four basic triads (three-tone chords)

Here, our focus is on studying and playing root position triads (with no doubled tones) on the fretboard using three-string string-sets. These are the chords we’ll be using to construct our initial chord progressions with. We’ll begin with a quick review of the four basic triads (Major, minor, diminished and augmented) and follow with two comprehensive root-position triad charts.

The Major triad

The Major triad, our primary reference chord, is composed of a Major-third interval and a perfect-fifth interval.

The minor triad

The minor triad consists of a minor-third interval and a perfect-fifth. The only difference between the Major and minor triads, then, is the type of third interval used — Major or minor.



Figure 1



Figure 2




Augmented and diminished triads

The perfect-fifth interval found in Major and minor triads is the standard or normal fifth of all chord construction. In chord-formula, the perfect-fifth interval is symbolized with a plain unqualified numeral five (5) with no flats or sharps. There are two other types of fifth interval that occur naturally in chords: the raised or augmented-fifth and the lowered or diminished-fifth. Augmented and diminished triads take their names from these intervals — i.e. their fifths.

The augmented triad

The augmented triad contains a Major-third interval and a raised or augmented-fifth.

The diminished triad

The diminished triad contains a minor-third interval and a lowered or diminished-fifth.



Figure 3



Figure 4







Figure 5









The four triads — fretboard plots and fingerings

Guitar: View 1, View 2
Lefty Guitar: View 1, View 2
Bass Guitar: View 1, View 2 Inverted Bass triads 1 2
Mandolin and Tenor Banjo: View 1, View 2
Ukulele: View 1, View 2
6 string Viola da Gamba and Lute: View 1, View 2

Make sure to muffle (or do not sound) any strings but those three in use for each triad. Strings not to be played are marked with X’s at the nut.






Guitar triads


Guitar Triads, view 1




Guitar Triads, view 2


Lefty Guitar triads


Lefty Guitar triads, view 1




Lefty Guitar triads, view 2


Bass Guitar triads


Four triads on bass guitar, View 1




Four triads on bass guitar, View 2


Mandolin and Tenor Banjo triads


Mandolin and Tenor Banjo Triads, view 1




Mandolin and Tenor Banjo Triads, view 2


Ukulele triads


Ukulele Triads, view 1




Ukulele Triads, view 2




Ukulele Triads, view 2



Next up is scales.



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© Copyright 2002   Roger Edward Blumberg


All  text, images, system components, devices, key terminology* and logos, on this web site are copyrighted [physically at the U.S. Library of Congress]. Reproduction in any form without written permission from the author and creator is prohibited.

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© Copyright 2002   Roger E. Blumberg












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