Ignoring octaves, every note in a on the guitar shows up in many different places. I'd like to practice all the achievable three note chords on the guitar so that I can move my chord progressions up and down and across the neck better.

By "three note chords", I mean major, minor, dominant and aug/dim together with any color notes (7, 9, 11, 13). The root can be implied and the chords can be in any voicing.

I'm interested in the three note chords because they give the richest tone while still playable at two chords per bar at 120bpm, which is where I usually live.

Three note chords also give me the ability to comprehend at performance tempo what I'm doing and where I can go. If I play grips of more than three notes then I'm just playing grips and sequences of grips, which doesn't always work for the kind of improvisation I do with my band.

What I currently do is try to construct new voicings during practice time and then play the voicings as harmonized scales at one or more positions. But I need a systematic way to string the chord voicings and substitutions at a single position and all the possible positions along the guitar neck.

Are there any Spaced Repetition Systems or other automated tools out there that I could use for drilling on all the three note chords possible for particular chord progressions such as I-IV-V, ii-V, ii-I, etc.?

I'm already familiar with the Freddy Green system but I'd like to work on new grips.

  • Are you confining this to major and minor triads? By definition, any combination of two or more notes is a chord. – American Luke May 13 '14 at 0:40
  • Do you have an iOS device? If so, I highly recommend Guitar Toolkit for learning scales and chords. If not, please elaborate on what you mean by “automated tools.” – Bradd Szonye May 13 '14 at 3:26
  • 2
    @AmericanLuke - most definitions apply three or more notes to constitute a chord. Two notes make an interval.A 'power chord' is a 5th interval, and things like a jazz 3rd and 7th together is an implied chord, usually with the missing note/s supplied by another player.Two note 'chords' are not easy to name, apart from the now ubiquitous 5th chord, known mainly to electric guitarists. – Tim May 13 '14 at 7:11
  • Answerers: know that you can use jTab's custom chord syntax. – luser droog May 14 '14 at 20:04

If you have an iOS device, I highly recommend the Guitar Toolkit app from Agile Partners. It can show you all common chords in all neck positions in any tuning. You can also “strum” or “pluck” the screen to hear what the notes are supposed to sound like. Working in reverse, you can tap frets on the screen to find out which chords they belong to.

The app has a similar feature for learning scales in different neck positions, or seeing how scales correspond to chords. Unfortunately, it does not appear to have three-note-per-string scale charts, although it’s easy enough to figure them out by showing key notes over the entire fretboard.

Finally, the app also has a built-in tuner and metronome. It’s a great reference and practice resource in general, not just a chord chart.

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With the focus on playing in any key, I have documented a collection of guitar chord forms that may be readily transposed, since they have no open strings. They are documented using the voice numbers.

On the other hand, I have not yet documented "rootless" chords. In this vein, "shell" chords -- typically comprised of just the third and the seventh -- are reasonably expressive without getting in the way of band-mates.

An example dom7(#9) is shown below:


The root may be easily identified and omitted if desired. Many of these forms can be traced back to the CAGED chord forms. Most have the root in the bass, and the highest voice on top, but they are not all root-ascending.

Hope this helps. Have fun!

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Get a hold of "George Van Eps Guitar Method" - buy it, find it on the interweb thing, check out triad exercises on ewetube. It is the ultimate foundation guide for triads that will open up the fretboard and unlock your hidden potential, the enabler to show music aficionados why you are on this planet.

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  • Unfortunately, it's just in notation, not tab. I'd like both because I think about harmony in notation but I think tab when I perform. Moreover, you don't really need all 12 keys tabbed for guitar, just a sufficiency that you slide around the neck. Also Van Eps' notation of broken string sets is rather confusing. – pro Apr 23 '19 at 21:34

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