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Zakk Jones Explains How to Add Spice To Basic Triads

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JGT contributor Zakk Jones provides a quick lesson that should add some spice to those basic triads.



For those brave souls that dare enter the world of jazz harmony on the guitar, it can be very easy to get lost in a sea of extensions, alterations, and dense voicings. We have to remember that Western harmony is predominantly built with triads. Even our most widely extended chords are often just a series of triads stacked on top of each other:

Cma13#11 = C E G B D F# A or…C, Em, G, Bm, D, Am triads.

Having a command of our triad inversions on every string set (any three consecutive strings) in both closed and open/spread positions will give us a strong foundation on which we can start hearing and applying more advanced harmonies. In this lesson, I talk about “Add2” or “Add9” chords and their inversions. This is a simple 4-note chord, but instead of having a 7th, we add the 2 (or 9, depending on how you think of it) instead. This lesson covers the I, ii, IV, and V chords in C major, in two basic progressions (I IV V and ii V I). I’m playing drop 2 voicings and their inversions, all of which can be found in the accompanying handouts.

C(add2) = C D E G

Dm(add2)) = D E F A

F(add2) = F G A C

G(add2) = G A B D

This is just the beginning of a series of video lessons that will cover triads and their many applications. I overwhelmingly visualize the fretboard in terms of triad shapes and it’s been invaluable in my development to practice and internalize these all over the neck and in many different harmonic progressions/tunes etc. I hope you find some lovely new sounds with this “Add2” concept!


Guitarist Zakk Jones

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