Tapping - Major Triad on One String

In this exercise we will take a look at how to tap major arpeggios as a way to use finger tapping in a musically meaningful way.

If you read the introduction to this tapping guitar lesson, you probably know what I think about tapping and randomness. Specifically, I don't think they go hand in hand. So let's get started on having you tap in a more meaningful way than 87% of guitarists out there. Yes, that stat is reliable. You can fact check it.

Tapping - Major Triad on One String fretboard diagram In the fretboard diagram you see how a G Major Triad Arpeggio is laid out on the fretboard, as well as its first and second inversions. The highest note in each diagram would be tapped to execute these wide interval patterns. By the time you get to the last shape - where it starts on 15th fret - notice how it is the same as the first shape, just up an octave. By doing exercises like this, and thinking about the notes you are playing, you are also reinforcing the very important skill of learning the notes on the fretboard which will go a long way towards your overall fretboard mastery.

One of the unifying threads with all my guitar lessons is in showing you how to think about technique and musicality as two sides of the same coin. I think technique should always be in the background of your mind, and music at the forefront. By drilling the exercises in my guitar lessons you will be well on your way to making technique so natural that you stop consciously thinking about it, and instead focus on musicality.

A meaningful way to go about tapping is to use what you already know about triad arpeggios. If you haven't seen my Triad Arpeggios Guitar Lesson I recommend you check it out so that you will be familiar with the concept of triads, since this exercise and the other exercises in this tapping guitar lesson are all about triads. In fact, in the fretboard diagrams are simply taking what we know about triads and inversions and placing them on one string as wide interval patterns that can be easily played using tapping.

Tapping - Major Triad on One String Guitar Pro tablature
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Note: To download and view exercise tab you need Guitar Pro

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Guitar Lesson Exercise Performance Tips

Performance Tips

In the tablature you will see Ex. A and Ex. B. Ex. A is meant to get you acquainted with tapping in its most basic sense and corresponds to the first diagram shown in the above fretboard diagram; it is also meant to reinforce the musical idea of triads. If you download the Guitar Pro tab and play it you will hear a G Major synth pad chord in the background which will help you hear how the G Major triad you are playing fits with a corresponding G Major chord.

Once you are comfortable with Ex. A, then move on to Ex. B which is considerably more challenging. What I want you to notice about Ex B is how in each measure you are playing a G Major Triad, corresponding to all the shapes shown in the fretboard diagram. In measure 2 you are playing it in root position, in measure 3 it is in first inversion, in measure 4 we have the second inversion, and in measure 5 we are back to root position, up an octave from where we started.

The toughest part about Ex. B are the slides that are needed to move through the inversions of the G Major triad. In the tab note how I show an upward slide at the end of each measure. You should slide up to the note shown in the next measure. So at the end of measure 2, you are sliding with your first finger from the G at the 3rd fret to B at the 7th fret, which then has you in position to play the first inversion pattern in measure 3. Likewise in moving through the other patterns in the remaining measures.

The position shifts used in this tapping exercise are useful for building your overall positions shifting ability which will come in handy with pretty much any imaginable technique and will do wonders for developing your own approach to phrasing. Don't be one of those "in-a-box" players that sticks to one position. Work on your position shifting through slides, like in this exercise, and you will then have the confidence to fly all over the fretboard!

The other potentially challenging part is the 32nd second note parts of the exercise, which happen in the last half of the third beat in each measure of Ex B. The key to executing these sorts of phrases is to simply rapidly tap, pull-off, tap, and again pull off, played as one fluid trill.

Criteria for Mastery: You can play Ex B at 100 BPM or faster, with clean execution and solid timing; additionally, you understand how we are using a major triad to form these tapping lines



In my Triad Arpeggios Guitar Lesson I went over the basic theory behind triads, including how to determine which triads go along with any given Major Scale. 

In this tapping exercise, we consider the key of G, which contains the notes G, A, B, C, D, E, F#. These notes of the G Major Scale correspond to a certain triad type:

NotesTriad Starting from this NoteNotes in Triad
GG MajorG, B, D
AA MinorA, C, E
BB MinorB, D, F#
CC MajorC, E, G
DD MajorD, F#, A
EE MinorE, G, B
F#F# DiminishedF#, A, C

We look at a G Major triad for this tapping exercise, in root position as well as its first and second inversions.