Major Triad Arpeggios

Welcome back! In the last lesson we focused on the major scales in the open position of the guitar with the flat keys, and in a future lesson we will cover the sharp keys of the major scales as well. In this lesson I will be showing you an exercise that will help master your triads in all twelve keys and we will be focusing on the sharp keys for the major triads. Be sure to try this exercise with the flat keys as well. These triad arpeggios are played with a 3 note sequence and you can also dothis same exercise with a 4 note sequence or any other ones you can think of.

If you are not sure of the formula for the basic triads, the major triad is built (1, 3, 5), the minor triad is built (1, b3, 5), the diminished triad is (1, b3, b5) and the augmented triads is (1, 3, #5). In a future lesson we will cover all of the other triads and it is very easy to apply the same concepts to those as well. When playing these examples, be sure to alternate pick all of the notes. Also, keep each note separated as you play them so the notes are not sustaining together. You can experiment and play them any way you like, but it will sound cleaner if you play them more separated. OK, let's get right to it.

In Example 1 we are going to cover the sharp keys, but now we are going to go around the cycle of 5th's with all major triad arpeggios. This means we will be covering all 12 keys that are moving in 5th intervals beginning with C major. For example, C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#. In this example, we are playing the inversions of each major triad, which it is played using all 16th note triplets. Since there is 3 notes in each triad, there will be 3 inversions, root, first and second inversion.

Also, It is important to know these inversions inside and out. Here is the major triads listed with the notes in the sharp keys. Be sure to do this same exercise with the flat keys.

  • C - (C , E, G)
  • G - (G, B, D)
  • D - (D, F#, A)
  • A - (A, C#, E)
  • E - (E, G#, B)
  • B - (B, D#, F#)
  • F# - (F#, A#, C#)
  • C# - (C#, E#, G#)

MP3 - Major Triad Arpeggios


Ok, that is it for now! These examples are just a few ways you can use to help master your triads in all keys. Be sure to use your imagination to make up your own exercises and don't forget to visit

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within