28 March 2011

3 Guitar Dyads You Should Know

A dyad is a two-note chord often used by guitar players. They come in especially handy on electric guitar in a band, play only two notes and you leave room for other instruments to fill in the remaining notes of the chord.

In this tutorial we’ll learn three common dyads and see how to finger them on the guitar fretboard. They are the fifth (often known as a power chord), the major third and the minor third. At the end of the lesson you’ll find a video song lesson to give your dyads a workout.

Fifth Dyads

The fifth is probably the most commonly used dyad, it crops up all over the place in rock and pop music often played on guitar or a piano.

The fingerings for the fifth dyad on the guitar are shown below. The fingering shown on the right is different on the second and third strings because of the guitar’s tuning. For all the other pairs of strings use the fingering shown on the left.


The note on the lower of the two strings gives the chord name. For example if you play the fingering shown on the left at the fifth fret of the fifth string you have a D5 dyad. Practice these shapes all over the fretboard until you can easily move them around and identify the chord you’re playing.

Major 3rd Dyads

You can play a dyad using the root and major third of any major chord. Again the chord name is given by the note on the lower of the two strings in the fingerings shown. The diagram on the right shows the fingering for the second and third strings while all the other string pairs use the fingering shown on the left.

Again, practice moving these shapes up and down the fretboard and across the strings until you are comfortable with them and can identify the chord/dyad name.


Minor 3rd Dyads

The final dyad shape we’ll discover in this tutorial is the minor third. The fingerings shown in the picture below are similar to the major third dyad, notice that the minor third note is down one fret compared to the major third shapes above.


Once more practice these shapes all over the fretboard to become comfortable with them.

Putting The Dyads To Work

To put your newly learned dyads into action have a go at the intro of Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand. This guitar part offers you a good workout with the three dyad shapes you’ve learned in this lesson. The fifth, major and minor third dyads are all used in the video below (click here to view it if you’re reading in email or a feed reader).

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