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Practicing & Applying Triads

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Daniel L., Nov 30, 2006.

  1. Daniel L.

    Daniel L. Guest

    Aug 30, 2002
    What is the most effective way to practice triads and their inversions on the bass? For example, how would you practice a C major triad.

    How should triads be thought of? How do they relate to bass playing? Do they most relate to building bass lines? Chords? Solos? In other words, where can I most effectively use triads in my playing.

    Also, what is the purpose of an inversion? Is it only to give you another voicing chordally?
  2. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    In as many different fingerings on diferrent strings as you can think of from the lowest string to the highest fret.
    open E, G 3rd fret, C 3fretA; G 3fretE, C 3fretA, E 2fretD; C 3fretA, E 2fretD, openG or G 5fretD -- then G 3fretE, C 3fret A, E 7fretA; C 3fretA, E 7fretA, G 5fretD; C 5fret G -- then C 3fretA, E 7fretA, G 5fretD; E 7fretA, G 5fretD, C 5fretG --then C 8fretE, E 7fretA, G 5fretD, (C 5fretG); E 7fretA, G 10fretA, C 10fretD; G 10fretA, C 10fretD, E 9fretG on & on up the neck
    Triads are the notes making up a chord. Root=chord name, third="quality" of the chord, determines whether it's major or minor, fifth=I don't know the important of a fifth. Anyone? It is so close in harmony to the root it can be dropped in order to use another "color" tone (usually a seventh) and the ear will fill in the missing tone. Not that learning where the fifths are isn't important because a lot of styles of bass playing use the root/fifth bassline.
    The importance of these notes in playing basslines is they outline the chords and are usually played on the stong beats and upbeats. A lot of times the bassist function is to outline chords for the soloist and the rest of the band. Or you are a reinforcement for another chord playing instrument like keyboard and/or guitar.
    In building basslines and soloing playing chord tones lets the other players know where you and/or where they are in a song. Chord tones lead to consonance fron dissonance, from tension to release - it moves a chord progression along. Using inversions moves it along in a more interesting manner, or in a smoother, less jerky motion.
    Inversions give you other voicings so you may lead smoothly into other chords without big leaps. Also to add intrest to your lines instead of root/third/fifth all the time ala Ray Manzenerick's (keyboardist for the Doors) left hand bass lines. Although it can sound cool as well. Not to slight Ray!
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Well, once you can play and hear a major triad, it's time to put it into some progressions like the blues and then see if you can play the triads fluidly throughout the progression and in time where it grooves and actually sounds like music. Try that at various tempos, slow, medium, fast and different keys. Once you've done that, start with the inversions and do the same thing.
  4. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Triads are the fundament notes of bass lines, and then four-note arpeggios (triad and the appropriate seventh of the chord.) You want to practice the triad in two way. First in a single position going from from your lowest string up highest string. Depend on the chord and position will determine the inversion you start with. For ease of explanation lets say C major triad use C on the seventh fret for E-string. Play your root triad, now play 1st inversion starting on E on the A-string, now play a 2nd inversion starting on G on the A-string. Next root postion again starting with C on the D-string. Now come back down.

    Next move up the next to E note on the E-string at the 12th fret. This you start with the first inversion triad and do the same as before use the inversion and moving across the neck. Repeat start with a G note on E-string using second inversion.

    Now instead of going across the neck go up and down the neck using the inversion all starting on the E-string. Do the same with inversion starting on the A-string.

    Don't just learn these as fingerpatterns. When practicing them think about the note names of the chord in question. Like the exmaples above be thinking C, E, and G. That will help teach you the notes all over the fretboard. Then practice thinking about what scale degree each note is as you play them. So root, third, fifth. This helps with developing a feel for relationships between notes positions. Remember you need to do this in all twelve keys eventually. Now once you move on to and master four note arpeggios the same way you will have mastery of the fretboard. Know how all basic chords are spelled.

    So when you are play bassline you will "see" the neck as all the chord tones for the chord you are currently playing so you can move easily around the neck. When you get into soloing you will again "see" the neck as all the target tones for the chord going on.

    If you want a book with all the triad and arpeggio fingers shown like I described above check out David Keif's book on Arpeggios from MI.
  5. Daniel L.

    Daniel L. Guest

    Aug 30, 2002
    Thank you all for the excellent advice.
  6. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    Triads are the thing for bass!
    Most basslines involved some sort of triad implications.

    What you can do is in cycle of fifths,play triads like 1-3-5-3 and always resolve in semi tone and do octave adjustement after and play the whole cycle of fifths in first position using open string when you can. This way you will be building a sens of harmony and knowledge of all the possible triads in your first position.


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