How To: Open Triads & Ambient Tone

Today I am going to show you my favourite voicings to use when I’m using these big pads or swells - the kind of sound that mimics the ambient sound of the keyboard. We are going to be looking at:

USING OPEN TRIADS!

So what I’m going to do is clean out my tone completely and then create a loop and then I’ll play the harmonies over so you can see how it works!

I’m going to be playing

C  D  Em  G  C  D  G

I’ll also be using an open picking pattern.

Let me break down what I was doing: I am using an open triad. This is basically a normal triad but spread over an octave! 

WHAT IS A NORMAL TRIAD?

A triad is a chord made up of three notes. Hence the “Tri” - meaning 3 in the name.

We don’t use full chords because they sound too big - where as the triads sound light and airy! 

I also want to tell you about inversions. Inversions are a chord position. Every chord has 3 inversions: the root position, the 1st inversion and the 2nd inversion. This means that every time you play a chord there are three different ways for you to play it! Let’s have a closer look:

Now, let’s talk about minor shapes...

There we go! Now you have 6 different shapes: 3 for the major chords and 3 for the minor chords. You can move these shapes anywhere as long as the root note lines up.

The best way to learn this is to practice! 

Go and put on your favourite worship tracks and play along with them. Dial yourself up an ambient tone - that means lots of reverb and lots of delay!

If you’ve enjoyed this lesson then stay tuned! Watch the next video to hear more about our up-and-coming course “The Ambient Guitar Workshop” and sign up below to receive a notification when the course is released!

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About the Author

Hi, my name is Charl Coetzee and playing guitar was never second nature for me. I’ve had to work hard to get to where I’m at today and I’ve learned some incredible things along the way that I’d love to share with you. I’ve never had a proper job and I’ve been playing guitar for a living since I’ve left school. I have a Bmus Hons Degree in music, and I’ve interviewed and learned from the world’s greatest guitar players like Joe Satriani, Buddy Whittington, Joe Bonamassa and loads more.

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