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Bottom string triads?

Music Theory
12 Oct 2009 19:30 | Quote
Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Karma: 1

There are lessons on Youtube, etc. teaching and using triads on the 3 high strings (E,B,G) but not much of anything of triads on the bottom 3 strings (E,A,D).

There's lots of info, songs, etc. using power chords (5th chords) on the bottom 3 strings but not on triads on those strings.

Is there a reason for this? Do bottom string triads have their place in some type of music? Why use a D5 power chord when it is just as easy to use the same D root on the A string...A(5th) on the low E and the F(3rd) on the D string to make the chord either major or minor?

These triads could still be used with pentatonic scales but is there a reason they aren't all that popular?

12 Oct 2009 20:56 | Quote
Joined: 13 Jul 2009
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yyou can just figure them out by yourself! if you can figure out high string triads,then apply the same theory to the bottom strings
12 Oct 2009 21:58 | Quote
Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Karma: 1
Thanks alex,

I can figure them out. I'm just curious why I never see them used.

The 'Chord name' finder on this site is really useful. I like to put in a few notes...see what type of chord is produced, then try to figure it out the root, third, etc. Then I form other chords with the same notes.
13 Oct 2009 14:55 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
well where to start. i doubt there is anything on the internet besides treble because as you stated there not popular.
one, because six of five voiced triads sound much fuller if your playing by yourself(in two ways, one it is just you playing/ your the only one in there rhythm section)
two, if you have a piano play a triad way down at the bottom. it's going to sound muddy because harmonics start to get funny down low(and high but that another story). Now the guitar doesn't go that low but you see why/whats happening(guitars bass register is that of a cello[low "E" is E2)
three, and this is most important rock guitar by in large(many exceptions) is filled with a bunch of idiots doing finger painting in kindergarten. Power chords are supper neutral you really can't go wrong in using them. It is why I have stopped posting in "i have these chords why scale?" because as long as the scale and the interval(power chords) have the same tonic/root it works. Unless your playing Arabic music(based in what western theory calls locrian major[if using 12-tone]) your golden. the progress tells you nothing so for people who have bad ears/brains power chords are the way to go. This is also the reason why it is common to for jazz musicians to leave out the 5th. Also this is by no means an attack on power chords i use them, my hero and who i see as the "modern day Bach"(in terms of being a genius), T monk uses them all the time. They have a sound like all intervals and should be used not abused.

passed the no saying now on to the yes saying.

before we get into uses. To learn all the three voiced triads i feel is a very good way to "see" the guitar. it will help you because now you find how everything links up. building chords, soloing, learning new theory and how they work, just about everything becomes easier. So even if your not going to use them in a practical playing way In my opinion learning them is for so much more the just playing three voiced triads. And for it to work you need to learn the steps of each chords. weather it is a 3,5,1 or a 1,3,5. Also just don't learn the ones that are three strings next to each other leaning all three voiced triads but learning all the ones right next to each other is a good starting point.

A major(steps 1,5,3)

one use that i love is interlocking guitar parts. the band, Television's guitarist, Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine, used this to astonishing levels just listen to there ground breaking album "Marquee Moon" and you will hear it.

then next is poly-chords. which is the idea if you play a "major C triad" and I play a "minor E triad" while look what the new harmony is A "C major 7th" and then just expand upon the idea(generally it is only two chords but i have here three chords more then once). Also this thinking help in chord construction, and is a another way to have interlocking parts. So if you have two rhythm play like piano and guitar this is what going to happen.

also it helps in Chord/melody sets. while you may not actual play a triad in the bass register your definitely thinking in this way. Jimi Hendrix's "little wing" is done this why.

Also it helps in composition. Look at RHCP's "Snow" is it no coincidence that the piece is in broken triads (him being a good follower of Jimi Hendrix)

So what music uses it a lot simple answers jazz, but as said it shows up and other places. Les Paul pounded through them in his songs. Part of getting Jimi sound is using 1st inversion triads. they show up a lot you just have to look for them. but as said before still learn them there one of my favorite ways to get around, and it is almost a must in music to have different perspectives on things
14 Oct 2009 14:20 | Quote
Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Karma: 1

Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. You offer some good perspective. I appreciate the chord patterns and the reference to particular guitarists and pieces.

One of the issues when learning theory is trying to differentiate what is the logic of using certain chords, modes etc. Sometimes it seems as much of a cultural issue as anything else...types of music get into a 'pattern' ( a positive term) that borders on being a 'rut' (to be neagative)

I started playing guitar a few years before I ever heard of a 'power chord' and perhaps that wasn't such a bad thing. I'm making more effort to move around the full neck with triads whereas up until recently I tended to get around it with single notes.

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