Triad exercises using A, D, & E

Lesson #228 • Mar 29, 2019

Video Overview

Print-Friendly PDF 2 pages

  • Support me on Patreon.com to get access to this and 200+ other educational PDFs I've made, plus new PDFs I make going forward (1-2 added each week).
  • The cost is $5/month (one month minimum, cancel anytime). Annual plans also available. Here's a free sample if you're on the fence. Thanks!
Download the PDF on Patreon

After clicking the button and logging in to Patreon, look for the PDF attached to the bottom of the post.

Editor’s notes

Hey friends — here’s three quick trio of exercises you can play, all of which are using triads for the chords of A, D, and E. Focused only on the thinnest 3 strings, I quite enjoy exploring how I can put these mini chord shapes together to come up with something fun. Tabs for each exercise are in the attached PDF, and be sure to check out the chord charts I’ve included in order to grok how these triad shapes can in fact be used up & down the fretboard. I hope you enjoy!

Here’s video timestamps, in case you want to jump ahead:

  • 0:00 Playthrough & Greeting
  • 1:40 Exercise #1
  • 6:41 Exercise #2
  • 9:09 Exercise #3

Exercise #1

Inspired by “Classy Girls” by The Lumineers.

E ||––––––––9–––––––––––|––––––––9–––––––––––|–––––––10–––––––––––|–––––––10–––––––––––|–
B ||–––10–––––––10–––10–|–––10–––––––10–––10–|–––10–––––––10––10––|–––10–––––––10––10––|–
G ||–9––––9––––––––9––––|–9––––9––––––––9––––|–11––11–––––––11––––|–11––11–––––––11––––|–
D ||––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|–
A ||––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|–
E ||––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|–
     A                                         D                      

E –|–––––––12–––––––––––|–––––––10–––––––––––|––––––––9–––––––––––|––––––––9–––––––––––||
B –|–––9––––––––9–––9–––|–––10–––––––10––10––|–––10–––––––10–––10–|–––10–––––––10–––10–||
G –|–9–––9––––––––9–––––|–11––11–––––––11––––|–9––––9––––––––9––––|–9––––9––––––––9––––||
D –|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––||
A –|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––||
E –|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––||
     E                    D                    A

Exercise #2

Inspired by “The First Cut is the Deepest” by Cat Stevens.

E ||–––––––9–––––|––––––7––––|––––––5––––|––––––7––––||
B ||––––10–––10––|––––9–––9––|––––7–––7––|––––9–––9––||
G ||––9––––––––––|––9––––––––|––7––––––––|––9––––––––||
D ||–––––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––||
A ||–––––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––||
E ||–––––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––|–––––––––––||
      A             E           D           E

Exercise #3

Inspired by “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp. Note, on this one you have some flourish notes that are added to the base triads (marked with a *). I always play these with my left pinky.

E ||––5–––5–5–––7–––5––|––4–––4–4–4–––4–4––|––2–––2–2–––4––5–4––|–
B ||––5–––5–5–––5–––5––|––5–––5–5–5–––5–5––|––3–––3–3–––5––5–5––|–
G ||––6–––6–6–––6–––6––|––4–––4–4–4–––4–4––|––2–––2–2–––4––4–4––|–
D ||–––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|–
A ||–––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|–
E ||–––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––|–
      A         *         E                   D         E  *

E –|––5–––5–5–––7–––5––|––4–––4–4–4–––4–4––|––2–––4–––5––5–5––5–||
B –|––5–––5–5–––5–––5––|––5–––5–5–5–––5–5––|––3–––5–––5––5–5––5–||
G –|––6–––6–6–––6–––6––|––4–––4–4–4–––4–4––|––2–––4–––6––6–6––6–||
D –|–––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––||
A –|–––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––||
E –|–––––––––––––––––––|–––––––––––––––––––|––––––––––––––––––––||
      A         *         E                   D   E   A

Chord shapes for exercise #1

For the A, you don’t need to barre the 9th fret (as I show here). But, I find it helpful to be able to do this – so I’ll practice using that technique when playing this shape. If you don’t want to barre, just use your normal D-major xx0232 left-hand finger positions (moved up to the 9th & 10th frets).

E –––9––  <= left index (barred)    E ––10––  <= left index (barred)    E ––12––  <= left pinky
B ––10––  <= left middle            B ––10––  <= left index (barred)    B ––9–––  <= left index (barred)
G –––9––  <= left index (barred)    G ––11––  <= left middle            G ––9–––  <= left index (barred)
D ––––––                            D ––––––                            D ––––––                        
A ––––––                            A ––––––                            A ––––––                        
E ––––––                            E ––––––                            E ––––––                        
    A                                   D                                   E

Chord shapes for exercise #2

As I show in the video, if you want to be advanced you can keep your index finger barred (thinnest 3 strings) for all of these chords. It’s a bit tougher to learn, but again - I think it makes the transitions a bit easier if you can get a hang of it.

E –––9––  <= left index (barred)    E ––7––  <= left index    E ––5––  <= left index
B ––10––  <= left middle            B ––9––  <= left pinky    B ––7––  <= left pinky
G –––9––  <= left index (barred)    G ––9––  <= left ring     G ––7––  <= left ring
D ––––––                            D –––––                   D –––––                        
A ––––––                            A –––––                   A –––––                        
E ––––––                            E –––––                   E –––––                        
    A                                   E                         D

Chord shapes for exercise #3

Same old stuff! Notice how all these shapes have already been taught via the prior two exercises.

E ––5––  <= left index (barred)    E ––4––  <= left index (barred)    E ––2––  <= left index (barred)      
B ––5––  <= left index (barred)    B ––5––  <= left middle            B ––3––  <= left middle            
G ––6––  <= left middle            G ––4––  <= left index (barred)    G ––2––  <= left index (barred)    
D –––––                            D –––––                            D –––––                            
A –––––                            A –––––                            A –––––                            
E –––––                            E –––––                            E –––––                            
    A                                  E                                  D

Meet the Teacher

Hey there! My name is David Potsiadlo, and I'm the creator of the 400+ weekly lessons here at Song Notes, going back to 2013. Here’s my guitar story »

Subscribe to my Free Newsletter

Join the 20,000+ readers who get my new lessons dropped in their inbox each week. I teach a fun mix of songs, weekly riffs, practice ideas, and more!

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $5/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).

Thanks!


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!


Recent video lessons:

📝 My "song" PDFs are now individually purcasheable! I've arranged a licensing agreement with Musicnotes, a service that lets you buy my sheet music arrangements. Patreon supporters get 50% off each purchase. Learn more here »

Aug 8, 2022

Alternating Bass Note Fun with "Don't Worry Be Happy"

Warm Up Exercise  •  Lesson #448

Here's a few fun ways you can use alternating bass (and some optional percussive slaps) to play along with Bobby McFerrin's 1988 classic.

Patreon PDF

Aug 1, 2022

Beginner Blues Groove (Key of A-minor)

Warm Up Exercise  •  Lesson #447

An easy-going bluesy sequence played over a 12 bar progression. I'll show how you add 2 distinctive notes to the bass lines of Am and Dm to really capture a blues vibe.

Patreon PDF

July 11, 2022

Updates to FretMonster (Interactive Fretboard Tool)

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #444

I've added some new features to FretMonster, the free web-based tool I created to help you navigate the guitar freboard. Select a key and scale, and it shows you a map of the matching notes. I've also added some new features I'll show you in this video.

July 6, 2022

Adding Melodic Licks & Fills to a Fingerstyle Groove (Key of G)

Warm Up Exercise  •  Lesson #443

I'll show you how to take an easy-going fingerstyle sequence, and easily dress it up with melodic licks & fills — all coming from the G major scale.

Patreon PDF

June 22, 2022

How to Make Drum Tracks Using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer

Tips & Techniques  •  Lesson #442

A beginner's guide to using GarageBand's Beat Sequencer tool to create custom drum beats! Even if you're a total novice when it comes to drumming (like me), I'll walk you through the basic steps to create rich-sounding drum tracks to play over while practicing or performing.

May 27, 2022

Creating a Fingerstyle Arrangement of Tom Petty's "American Girl"

Practice Log  •  Lesson #438

A few years after learning American Girl the way Tom Petty plays it, I returned to it — this time determined to work out a low-key, easy-going fingerstyle arrangement. Here's how it went!

Patreon PDF

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist


← back to lesson list