Diatonic Triads Exercise

Due to some back strain, I haven’t been able to practice too much of late. Been doing some studying and transcribing some exercises out. This one I’ve seen elsewhere as well (can’t recall where), but recently ran across it in Ariane Cap’s “Music Theory for the Bass Player” and figured I’d share.

The exercise goes as such: play the diatonic triads of a key, starting note has to be on the starting string for each triad and fretting hand must stay in position as long as possible.

So, for the key of C we would have: C Major triad C-E-G (3rd fret A string, 2nd fret D string, 5th fret D string), D minor triad D-F-A (5th fret A string, 3rd fret D string, 2nd fret G string), E minor triad E-G-B (7th fret A string, 10th fret A string, 9th fret D string) and so on, like thus (I always tab for 5 string, because that’s what I primarily use, but you can ignore the B string for this as its not used):

And here it is backwards (with a ascending progression):


(you can also play it with a descending progression, just flip each measure around).

I’ve got it transcribed out for all 12 keys backwards around the circle of 5ths, if anyone is interested here’s the file.

Diatonic Triads Through All Keys.pdf (107.0 KB)


Thank you very much! Saved me a lot of work😅


Thank you!


I play that evry practice session. It is one of my warm up drills

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Glad people find it useful. You are welcome. Note, I did play the E and A from open strings, but they can be started on 7th fret A string and 5th fret E string instead. Also, same drill can be run with 7th chords as well. Anyways, enjoy!

Very nicely done! Thank you!

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I’m curious as to why you have varied the pattern being used so for example you have:
Where I might have gone:
Was this simply to mix up the triad patterns for the purposes of practice?

And thanks by the way! Very useful!

Very cool!

Do you have that also as Guitar Pro file or something similar?

If so I could create videos like this, possibly with different speeds (slow=>fast) to play too!?

This might be helpful for beginners?

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You’re welcome.

The reasoning for the fingering was to follow the rules laid down for the exercise. If you are playing a major scale up the neck on 1 string, for the key of C, your fingers would be middle on 3rd fret A string and pinky on 5th fret, this gives 2 possible triads in that hand position before having to move to index finger 7th fret and so on. It also varies up the triad fingerings.

It has a similar concept to another exercise I learned from my bass teacher, which I thought I posted previously, but cannot find it. So, here it is again.

This runs a circle of 4ths triads in all keys - major, minor, augmented and diminished - using only the open strings and the first 4 frets. Again, this can be expanded to include 7ths as well, but some keys require an octave drop for the 7th. I’ll leave that as an exercise to be worked out for those inclined. :slight_smile:


I used MuseScore 4…. Can that export to guitar pro format? If so I can provide that for you.

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Ah, love MuseScore.

Easy: export it to MusicXML.
I will send you a link to my cloud via private message!

Sounds good, I’ll get that to you in the next couple days

Very, very nice. Thanks for this!

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@brik1970 was nice enough to send me the MusicXML.
I duplicated this in Guitar Pro and set tempi to 100, 110, 120 and 130BPM and created a Tonelin Jam Video:


Haven’t checked it and did not set tempo markers for easy access yet.

Let me know if anything needs to be changed to make it more useful…

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Notes are right, but fret starting positions need to be changed

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Ah, hmmm, ok.

Can you check this PDF, so I can identify where the mistake happened?

The PDF is an export from GuitarPro, before importing into Tonelib Jam…

Diatonic Triads Through All Keys.mxl.pdf (1.6 MB)

EDIT This video is incorrect. It just here for reference purposes…

Well, pretty much all of them it looks like.

Look at starting sequence, the d minor triad starting on open d string rather than 5th feet, next one should start on 7th fret a string and so forth. A great example of why so many tabs end up being more difficult than needing to be.

Sorry looks like this will need a bunch of tweaking to respect the starting fret purpose of the exercise. Notes are correct though!

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OK, let me check if the error is done by importing to Guitar Pro or exporting from MuseScore .

Can you put the original MuseScore file in the cloud? I will analyze what happened!

Sure thing, I’ll upload and provide the link tonight when I’m home.

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You are my hero :slight_smile:

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