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Bass Guitar Lessons – The Major Triad

What is a Major Triad?

Bass Guitar Lessons – the Major Triad – > In the previous lesson we covered the major scale. In the next several lessons we will cover patterns (chords) that are derived from the major scale. The major triad is simply a pattern comprised of three (triad) notes of the major scale. These notes are the root note, 3rd note, and 5th note.

Below is a diagram showing the notes of G major scale with the roots, 3rd, and 5th notes highlighted:

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G Major With Triad Highlighted Lesson

Here is a diagram showing the major triad for a G major:

G Major Triad Lesson

The fingering for this pattern is:

  • High Root – 2 finger (middle)
  • 3rd – 1 finger (index)
  • 5th – 4 finger (pinkie)
  • Low Root – 4 finger (pinkie)

The pattern for the major triad can be played for any of the 12 notes in the musical alphabet – A, A#, B, C, C# D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#. You can start with any of the 12 notes and play their root 3rd, and 5th notes as a triad. This combination of notes will work in any key, anywhere you play them on the bass.

Major Triad Video

Below is a video example of the Major Triad. I am playing the triads for the major scales of A, D and E.

Using the Major Triad

The major triad is a commonly used pattern. As with major scales, the triad is used most often when playing happy and cheerful songs. If major chords are being played in a song, the major triad can always be played over those chords. It can be played in order – going up and down the notes – or in any other order using any combination of some or all of the notes.

While the triad consists of only 3 notes, there are limitless combinations and varieties of how these notes can be used to make a song sound good. Make an effort to learn the triad and understand how it is used in songs that you want to play – and to create your own bass lines.

Example of the Major Triad Bass Line

“Eight Days A Week” by the Beatles – Major triads are played throughout:

The Beatles - Eight Days A Week

“Easy Skanking” by Bob Marley – This song is a great example of the major triad being used along with a minor triad. The Bb major triad is played, followed by a G minor triad:

Bob Marley - Easy Skanking
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Bass Guitar Lessons – the Major Triad